Grammy-winning rock star and actor Meat Loaf dies at 74

Rock singer and actor Meat Loaf has died at age 74. His death was announced in a statement posted on his official Facebook page early Friday morning.

The statement read: “Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight with his wife Deborah by his side. Daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends have been with him throughout the last 24 hours. We know how much he meant to so many of you and we truly appreciate all of the love and support as we move through this time of grief in losing such an inspiring artist and beautiful man. From his heart to your souls…don’t ever stop rocking!”

Born Marvin Lee Aday in Dallas in 1947, Meat Loaf enjoyed a successful career spanning six decades. Meat Loaf’s 1977 debut album “Bat Out of Hell” remains one of the top-selling albums of all time. He sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, with his songs “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” and “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” becoming rock classics, and he won a 1994 Grammy Award for the song “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).”  Meat Loaf also appeared in over 65 movies, including iconic roles in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Fight Club.”

Meat Loaf is survived by his wife Deborah Gillespie, and daughters Pearl and Amanda Aday.

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Jan. 6 committee asks Ivanka Trump to testify voluntarily

The chairman of the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol said the panel will ask Ivanka Trump, former President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter who served as a top White house adviser, to testify voluntarily.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. told reporters in the Capitol on Thursday: “You will anticipate the committee inviting some people to come talk to us. Not lawmakers right now — Ivanka Trump.”  The January 6th Committee said it has evidence that Ivanka Trump “was in direct contact with the former President on Jan 6th,” and she may have “direct knowledge of the former President’s attempt to persuade Vice President [Mike] Pence to take action to stop the counting of electoral votes.”

Thompson said in a letter to Ivanka Trump that rather than respecting court rulings or the outcome of the Electoral College vote, Trump planned to enlist Pence to “unilaterally reject certain states’ votes” to change the outcome of the 2020 election.

The panel was seeking her voluntary cooperation with the investigation in four specific areas, according to the letter. The letter proposed meeting with Ivanka Trump in early February to discuss these matters.

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President Biden clarifies his stance after Ukrainian President takes issue with his comments

On Thursday, President Joe Biden attempted to clarify his stance on a potential Russian incursion into Ukraine, this after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky took issue with comments Biden made during a U.S. presidential briefing. Biden said Thursday that Russia will “pay a heavy price” for any invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

Biden addressed the military buildup Wednesday during a news conference, drawing a distinction between a potential “minor incursion” and a stronger invasion, saying:  “I think what you’re going to see is that Russia will be held accountable if it invades and it depends on what it does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and then we end up having to fight about what to do and not do, etc., but if they actually do what they’re capable of doing with the forces they’ve amassed on the border it is going to be a disaster for Russia if they further invade Ukraine and our allies and partners are ready to impose severe cost and significant harm on Russia and the Russian economy.”

However Ukrainian President Zelensky said Thursday that no invasion into Ukraine would be considered minor, tweeting: “We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones. I say this as the President of a great power.”  In response, Biden attempted to clarify that no matter the size of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, the United States and its allies would stand against Moscow, explaining: “I’ve been absolutely clear with President [Vladimir] Putin. He has no misunderstanding. If any — any — assembled Russian units move across Ukrainian border, that is an invasion. But it will be met with severe and coordinated economic response that I’ve discussed in detail with our allies, as well as laid out very clearly for President Putin. Let there be no doubt at all: If Putin makes this choice, Russia will pay a heavy price.”

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Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball to miss 6-8 weeks due to left knee surgery

The Chicago Bulls announced on Thursday that guard Lonzo Ball will have arthroscopic surgery on his injured left knee and will be out for six-eight weeks. Earlier Thursday, there remained a possibility that Ball might try to play through the injury, described as a ‘small meniscus tear.’

The decision for surgery was made after “an initial period of rest and targeted intervention.” Coach Billy Donovan said that Ball’s knee had not responded well to treatment: “We were giving him some therapy on his knee, there wasn’t a great response to that, so that’s when he left to come back from the trip in Memphis, and now they’ve switched to a different kind of treatment for him and they’ll see how that treatment works out, and then there’ll be another step after that if we need (there) to be. But right now it’s just more just trying to help him just get healthy.”

Ball has missed Chicago’s three most recent games, as has guard Zach LaVine, who suffered a knee injury of his own last Friday during a game against the Golden State Warriors. Neither will travel with the team for the Bulls’ upcoming three-game road trip.

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Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for ‘directing obscene language’ at Cavaliers fans

On Thursday, the NBA fined Brooklyn Nets’ guard Kyrie Irving $25,000 for ‘directing obscene language’ toward a fan. The incident occurred with 4:19 remaining in the second quarter of the Nets’ 114-107 loss to the Cavaliers on Jan. 17.

Irving began the season away from the Nets because he was not vaccinated (New York City’s COVID-19 laws meant he could not play in New York). The team initially chose not to have Irving play in road games, but as the Nets lost players to health and safety protocols in December, they welcomed Irving back part-time.

In five games, Irving is averaging 22 points, five rebounds and 5.4 assists. The Nets are No. 3 in the Eastern Conference with a 28-16 record.

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Maddie & Tae’s Taylor Dye gives birth to baby girl 3 months early

On Thursday, 26-year-old Taylor Dye — one-half of the country music duo Maddie & Tae — announced on Instagram that she and husband Josh Kerr, 30, welcomed a baby girl born three months early. Dye has been hospitalized over a month due to complications following a routine pregnancy checkup at 24 weeks; her original due date was early April.

Both Dye and Kerr shared images of their daughter in a joint Instagram post with the caption: “Leighton Grace Kerr, born January 17, 2022 // she’s beautiful, strong and everything we have ever dreamed of. She decided to be a Capricorn like her daddy. We already can’t wait for the day we get to finally take her home 💜.”  Baby Leighton was born weighing just 2 lbs., 5 oz.

Dye revealed that she was expecting her first baby with Kerr in an Instagram post last November, saying: “Mom and dad 🤍 baby Kerr is joining us earthside in spring ’22 and we are already so deeply in love. swipe to find out what we’re having!” They later shared Dye’s pregnancy complications, saying: “Today marks 1 month of being in the hospital. T went in for a routine check up at 24 weeks then we were immediately admitted and we have been here since. Our sweet girl is doing great, she is just a little more excited than she is ready to be in the world.”

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Trisha Yearwood raises nearly $40K to help rescue animals in honor of ‘Betty White Challenge’

Fans of Betty White, who passed away at age 99 on New Year’s Eve, have been honoring her memory with the Betty White Challenge, which encouraged fans to donate to animal shelters or animal rights organizations on January 17 — which would have been White’s 100th birthday. White was a passionate advocate for animals, working with the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association for over 50 years.

Country star Trisha Yearwood is among those who support the Betty White Challenge. Yearwood is also passionate about animal rights and launched her own charity Dottie’s Yard Fund in 2021, named after her and her husband Garth Brooks’ late dog Dottie. The couple uses their new charity to support other animal shelters around the country.

Yearwood said to People“Everybody loves Betty White. I’ve been reading about the influx of donations to pet charities and shelters across the nation since Betty’s passing, and I think she is up there smiling so big that this is how the world is showing her how much we love her. I’m excited to be a part of the Betty White Challenge to help shine a light on the great work that rescues, and shelters do, many with only volunteers and private donations of food, bedding, and time.” She added: “They need our help. The common denominator is love. Betty showed us how. Now we have to keep it up and make sure her legacy lives on. Love all creatures, great and small!” 

Yearwood’s virtual event with ‘Talkshoplive’ raised money for rescue pets around the country, with Yearwood herself announcing she would match up to $10,000 in donations. According to Yearwood’s Twitter, she was able to raise over $24,000 in under 15 minutes, and by the following day on Jan. 18, she had raised over $38,000.

Trisha Yearwood Raises Over $30,000 for Rescue Pets as Part of Betty White Challenge

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NBC cancels Ellen DeGeneres’ ‘Ellen’s Game of Games’ after four seasons

NBC has canceled ‘Ellen’s Game of Games’, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, after four seasons. ‘Game of Game’ featured DeGeneres leading contestants through upsized versions of audience games from her daytime talk show.

The cancellation of the NBC series comes as DeGeneres is also working on the final season of her daytime show. The comedian announced last year that she would end The Ellen DeGeneres Show after 19 seasons. “Game of Games” last aired in May 2021.

Ratings for ‘Game of Games’ decreased during 2020-21, particularly after moving to Sunday nights later that season. DeGeneres was twice nominated for Primetime Emmys for outstanding host of a competition show in 2018 and 2019.

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Daniel Radcliffe to star as Weird Al Yankovic in upcoming biopic

Daniel Radcliffe will star as “Weird Al” Yankovic for the upcoming biopic, WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story, that will be available to stream for free on The Roku Channel. Radcliffe will take on the role in a new film focusing on Yankovic’s career as a pop culture parody icon.

An official release of the film says:  “The biopic holds nothing back, exploring every facet of Yankovic’s life, from his meteoric rise to fame with early hits like ‘Eat It’ and ‘Like a Surgeon’ to his torrid celebrity love affairs and famously depraved lifestyle. WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story takes audiences on a truly unbelievable journey through Yankovic’s life and career, from gifted child prodigy to the greatest musical legend of all time.”

Yankovic said in a statement, “When my last movie UHF came out in 1989, I made a solemn vow to my fans that I would release a major motion picture every 33 years, like clockwork. I’m very happy to say we’re on schedule. And I am absolutely thrilled that Daniel Radcliffe will be portraying me in the film. I have no doubt whatsoever that this is the role future generations will remember him for.”

WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story was written by Yankovic and Eric Appel, who is also directing the film. The film’s release date has not been announced, but production begins in Los Angeles in February.

How Weird! Daniel Radcliffe Has Been Cast As Weird Al Yankovic In New Biopic

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Two Marines are killed, seven injured in vehicle rollover at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina

Two Marines were killed Wednesday in an accident outside Camp LeJeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina, after a military vehicle rolled over.  The unit confirmed in a tweet that the seven-ton truck was carrying members of the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, which is headquartered at Camp LeJeune: “We are working closely with @camp_lejeune and Onslow County officials to gather details regarding this incident. We will release more information as it becomes available.”

The accident occurred around 1 p.m. at the intersection of N.C. Highway 210 and U.S. Route 17. A North Carolina Highway Patrol spokesperson told the outlet that it’s believed the crash occurred when the driver attempted to make a right turn too quickly and overturned. The truck weighed seven tons and held 19 Marines at the time of the accident.

Sen. Thom Tillis, of North Carolina, wrote on social media that he and wife Susan “are praying for the families of the Marines who were tragically killed in an accident at Camp Lejeune, & we are praying for the full recovery of the Marines who were injured. God Bless our service members who put their lives at risk every day to protect our nation.”

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