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Commuters warned to brace for subway delays as organizers protest throughout New York City

No Comments National News

sansara/iStock(NEW YORK) — Commuters throughout New York City are expected to experience heavy delays during rush hour on Friday because of protesters who are against having police officers in the subway.

A collaboration of 30 grassroots groups called “Decolonize This Place,” held citywide protests for the third time in response to a 15-year-old who was assaulted by a police officer in October 2019 during a brawl at Jay Street-MetroTech station. The incident was captured on cellphone video and the teen’s parent filed a $5 million notice of claim against the city.

The groups overall disdain are NYPD officers allegedly targeting minor crimes like fare beating and Gov. Cuomo’s plan to add 500 police officers to patrol the subway system. They also believe public transportation should be free.

“THE MOOD FOR J31 IS SIMPLE: F–K YOUR $2.75. NO COPS IN THE MTA. FREE TRANSIT, NO HARASSMENT PERIOD AND FULL ACCESSIBILITY,” said one of the three masked and hooded persons in the video posted on the group’s Twitter account.

“J31” is short for the date, the group specified.


Protests began around 1 p.m. on Friday in various parts of the city, according to photographs the group posted, with defaced city buses and subway walls as well as emergency doors zip tied open to allow commuters to enter stations for free.

MTA officials said commuters who travel through Grand Central Terminal “may experience increased crowding and street closures this afternoon. If possible, customers should plan extra travel time or consider taking a Friday early getaway train.”


Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Community leaders call out elected officials, schools for lack of classroom education to prevent human trafficking

No Comments National News

recep-bg/iStock(NEW YORK) — Every year the number of boys and girls that are identified as victims of human trafficking increases around the world and in the United States, yet, there’s only one state that requires students to learn how to prevent becoming a victim.

As National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month comes to a close on Friday, community leaders in New York City are taking steps to combat the epidemic with protests as well as brainstorming sessions with public and education officials.

“Parents have to teach their children the essentials of life, but with human trafficking, they need to know what to do if they find themselves in a stranger danger situation — kick, scream, shout, yell — the teachers have to teach them about this,” said civil rights leader and activist, Rev. Kevin McCall to ABC News.

One in four victims of human trafficking — also known as modern slavery — are children, according to the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) 2017 statistics.

The ILO also reported that over 24 million human trafficking victims are trapped in forced labor, 16 million people are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture and 4.8 million persons in forced sexual exploitation.

Professionals and any adult, who may come in contact with a trafficked juvenile, are provided resources, training courses, webinars and annual conferences from government-funded or non-profit organizations like educational institutions like Center for Combating Human Trafficking at Wichita State University and National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments.

Angelo Congello, the CEO of Creative Safety Products, has been teaching stranger danger lessons to students across the country since his father started the company 1975.

“We’ve seen tens of millions of kids over the years until now and go as far west as Fort Wayne, Indiana, and are expanding out to other states,” Congello told ABC News on Friday.

Through live performance using magic, games and ventriloquism, Congello and his team teach children about stranger danger, the negative effects of bullying, fire safety, internet safety and respect for authority figures. They also encourage positive behavior like honesty, friendship, being a buddy not a bully, civic responsibility and knowing what to do in an emergency, just to name a few.

Florida became the first state to approve a rule that requires education in child trafficking prevention for students grades K-12.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found that one out of every eight endangered runaway children is likely a victim of human trafficking.

“When is enough going to be enough?” asked McCall, who is expected to protest in front of the New York City’s Department of Education headquarters on Feb. 5. “We talk about mass shootings and gun violence and how to prevent them, but for human trafficking there is just money handed to organizations to get programs done, but nothing to put it out there into the classrooms for the students to learn to prevent this.”

According to the latest statistics provided by the city’s Safe Harbour Program, 2,366 New York City youths in 2017 were identified as either trafficked or at-risk for trafficking. The previous year, the same statistic counted 1,357.

“These lessons are definitely something that should be mandatory in all schools around the country,” said Congello, who agreed with the activist’s campaign.

“One recent testimonial we received was about a little girl who was prevented from being abducted when other kids on the playground saw a stranger grab her, they started screaming and she started kicking and the stranger ran away,” Congello said. “Unfortunately, the guy wasn’t arrested, but the good thing was that little girl did not become a victim.”

McCall and representatives from other local organizations like Freedom Youth LLC. and the East New York United Concerned Citizens started its campaign during the last week of January by stopping traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge during rush hour.

“We believe Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio are not dealing with this national crisis … we wanted to make a statement to get their attention,” said McCall, who is taking the anti-human trafficking campaign a step further with “Operation Light ‘Em Up” where they will demand that light towers get placed in high concentration of modern slavery and prostitution areas of the city to deter the activity.

A spokeswoman with the NYPD told ABC News that while it doesn’t use the light towers for human trafficking purposes, it is “open to all suggestions.”

Requests for comment from New York’s state and city’s department of education were not received.

The state’s Office of Children and Family Service are in the process of completing an updated report with new data.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

After 'The Ridiculous 6' and 'Murder Mystery' successes, Netflix extends Adam Sandler movie deal to 10

No Comments Entertainment News

Netflix/Scott Yamano(LOS ANGELES) — Netflix is famously not shy about shelling out generously for talent.  And while its not known what they paid to do so, the company clearly wants to stay in business with Adam Sandler.

The streaming giant extended its six-movie deal with the former SNL star to 10. 

Part of that reason is no doubt that Sandler’s most recent film, the very successful Murder Mystery in which he co-starred with his pal Jennifer Aniston, topped the streaming service’s Feature Film list in terms of views for 2019.  His previous film, his 2015 Western Ridiculous Six, was at one point the most popular original movie on the streaming service, which estimates its viewers have spent two billion total hours watching Adam Sandler movies. 

The star, currently winning praise for starring in the drama Uncut Gems, also returned to stand-up with his 100% Fresh special, which debuted on Netflix back in 2018.

“Whether you know him as Sandman, the Water Boy, Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Nick Spitz or simply Adam, one thing is clear: our members can’t get enough of him,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos in a statement. “They love his stories and his humor, as we saw with Murder Mystery. So I could not be more excited to extend our partnership with Adam and the Happy Madison team and deliver more laughs around the world.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Morgan Wallen and Diplo tap Julia Michaels for revamped 'Heartless'

No Comments Country Music News

ABC/Image Group LAMorgan Wallen’s 2019 collaboration with electronic producer/DJ Diplo, “Heartless,” is getting makeover with help from pop vocalist Julia Michaels. Morgan and Julia trade verses in the new version of the breakup ballad, which keeps all the atmospheric, brooding groove of the original version.

To top it off, “Heartless” gets a new music video treatment. Directed by Brandon Dermer, the visual finds Morgan and Julia in neighboring motel rooms, each embroiled in a fight with their significant other. The verbal battles drag on over the course of the song, but the pair lock eyes when they step outside for some air, hatching a plan to leave their troubles behind. 

It isn’t the first time Julia has teamed up with a country star. She’s featured on Keith Urban’s Merle Haggard-inspired 2018 single, “Coming Home,” and also appears on Jordan Davis’ new song, “Cool Anymore.” 

Diplo’s no stranger to country either, having previously worked with Cam on a song called “So Long.” He was also one of many to remix Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Old Town Road.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Oldest son makes tearful plea to mom of 2 missing Idaho kids after she fails to bring them to police

No Comments National News

National Center For Missing and Exploited Children(REXBURG, Idaho) — The oldest son of a mother at the center of a missing children’s case is pleading with her to do “everything you can to fix this.”

Colby Ryan made the tearful plea Friday, just one day after Lori Vallow failed to bring her 7-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter, who have not been seen since September, to authorities in Idaho.

Authorities believe Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan are in danger, and that Vallow knows either where they are or what has happened to them.

“I want you to step up more than anything in the world,” Ryan said in a video posted to YouTube. “Step up and just do the right thing.”

Ryan, in his early 20s and Vallow’s son from her second of five marriages, said he held out hope Thursday that there would be some answers to the mysterious case.

When Vallow didn’t show with the children, he said: “it just made everything worse.”

Vallow, who lived in Rexburg, Idaho, until leaving in November 2019, was spotted in Hawaii over the weekend with her husband of three months, Chad Daybell. The children were not with them and police believe they were never in Hawaii.

Vallow was ordered to bring the children to either the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare of Rexburg police by early evening Thursday. She did not do so and may now be subject to civil or criminal contempt of court, according to the Rexburg Police Department.

“I feel like I’ve just lost everything in such a short amount of time,” Ryan said.

In a message directed at Vallow, he told her that he loves her no matter what and just wants to see JJ and Tylee.

“I love you ’cause you’re my mom, but at the end of the day I’m still in the same spot. Everybody’s still in the same spot with no answers,” he said.

Ryan spoke emotionally about the children and their lives.

Of Tylee, Ryan said, “I know that you’ve had to do a lot of stepping up and I’m so sorry you didn’t get to just have that normal school, friends and everything.”

He called JJ “so smart” and “so beautiful.”

“I miss playing with you. I miss spending time with you,” Ryan said.

Ryan also thanked Charles Vallow, Lori Vallow’s former husband and the adopted father of JJ, who was shot and killed by her brother, Alex Cox.

“I just want to thank you for being there for our family when we needed you,” he said. “You stepped up so fast. You took us all in.”

Alex Cox fatally shot Charles Vallow in July 2019, police said. Police are looking at the case as self-defense that stemmed from an altercation between the two inside Lori Vallow’s then-Chandler, Arizona home.

Cox was then found unresponsive in his Gilbert, Arizona, home in December 2019. He was later pronounced dead, and a spokesperson for Gilbert police previously told ABC News the department still was waiting for autopsy results to determine the cause.

In between Vallow and Cox’s death, Chad Daybell’s wife also died under circumstances now believed to be suspicious, authorities said.

The bewildering case, including rumors of a cult affiliation, has offered few answers and the next steps for Lori Vallow remain unclear.

She and Daybell were last seen in Hawaii Wednesday afternoon local time.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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