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US acknowledges its forces were behind airstrike on Mosul

US acknowledges its forces were behind airstrike on Mosul

An airstrike targeting Islamic State militants in the Iraqi city of Mosul that witnesses say killed at least 100 people was in fact launched by the U.S. military, American officials said Saturday. U.S. officials did not confirm the reports of civilian casualties but opened an investigation. In the days following the March 17 airstrike, U.S. officials had said they were unsure whether American forces were behind the attack. The statement issued by the U.S.-led coalition said the airstrike had been requested by Iraqi security forces to target IS fighters and equipment 'at the location corresponding to allegations of civilian casualties.' U.S.-backed government troops were fighting IS forces in that area of western Mosul, the statement said. The coalition said it takes all allegations of civilian casualties seriously and a formal Civilian Casualty Credibility Assessment had been opened to determine the facts surrounding this strike and the validity of the allegation of civilian casualties. 'Our goal has always been for zero civilian casualties, but the coalition will not abandon our commitment to our Iraqi partners because of ISIS's inhuman tactics terrorizing civilians, using human shields, and fighting from protected sites such as schools, hospitals, religious sites and civilian neighborhoods,' the coalition said. Altaf Musani, representative of the World Health Organization in Iraq, told The Associated Press in the Jordanian capital of Amman that the organization's priority was quick treatment for those wounded. 'It is our understanding that there was an incident and we have worked with the local health actors and they have confirmed more than 100 are dead,' Musani said. Musani said that since the operations in Mosul began in October, there have been at least 5,300 people referred to hospitals in and around the city. He added that since the attack on western Mosul began last month, 'we have managed to capture more than 1,300' cases. 'When you take a better look at what those numbers mean, what is worrying for the WHO and aid actors is that roughly 30 percent of the total numbers are women,' he said. 'Roughly 30 percent of that large number are children under 15, and that is deeply concerning because of the capacities needed to treat those wounded coming out of the front lines.' President Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to dramatically ramp up the assault on Islamic State militants and has vowed to eradicate it. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met in recent days with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Ababi and foreign ministers from the coalition partners at the State Department to explore new ideas to expand the fight against IS in Mosul. Earlier Saturday, senior Sunni Muslim politicians expressed concern over reports of airstrikes that allegedly killed the civilians. Residents reported two airstrikes hitting a residential area on March 13 and 17. The Iraqi Defense Ministry has provided no immediate comment. In tweets published on his official account, parliament speaker Salim al-Jabouri said 'we realize the huge responsibility the liberating forces shoulder' and call on them to 'spare no effort to save the civilians.' In a statement issued on his website, Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi, himself from Mosul, described the incident as a 'humanitarian catastrophe,' blaming the U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and excessive use of force by militarized Federal Police forces. Al-Nujaifi put the number of civilians killed at 'hundreds.' He called for an emergency parliament session and an immediate investigation into the incident. Residents of the neighborhood known as Mosul Jidideh told the AP on Friday that scores of residents were believed to have been killed by two airstrikes that hit a cluster of homes in the area. Resident Ahmed Ahmed said there were over a hundred people within the cluster taking refuge from the missiles. AP reporters saw at least 50 bodies being recovered from the wreckage of the buildings. Faced with their toughest fight yet against IS, Iraqi and coalition forces have increasingly turned to airstrikes and artillery to clear and hold territory in Mosul's densely populated western neighborhoods. Humanitarian and monitoring officials warned of increased civilian casualties in western Mosul due to the increased reliance on airstrikes and artillery. Backed by U.S.-led international coalition, Iraqi forces launched an operation in February to drive IS from the western half of Iraq's second-largest city, after declaring eastern Mosul 'fully liberated' the previous month. The city is divided by the Tigris River . ____ Associated Press writer Karin Laub in Amman, Jordan, contributed to this report.

Vegas Strip reopens after gunman surrender, fatal shooting

Vegas Strip reopens after gunman surrender, fatal shooting

A man riding on a double decker bus on the Las Vegas Strip pulled a gun and started shooting, killing one person and wounding another before barricading himself inside in a standoff that lasted hours before he finally surrendered. The standoff began about 11 a.m. PDT Saturday on the bus when it was stopped on Las Vegas Boulevard near the Cosmopolitan hotel-casino. 'He was on the bus. He was shooting people on the bus. He was just contained to that location. He never exited the bus,' Clark County Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts said. Two people were taken to the hospital after the shooting, University Medical Center spokeswoman Danita Cohen said. One died, and the other was in fair condition. For hours, crisis negotiators, robots and armored vehicles surrounded the bus with authorities uncertain if there were any more victims inside. Meanwhile, officers swept into the casinos to warn tourists to bunker down until further notice, leaving these normally bustling pedestrian areas and a road notorious for taxi-to-taxi traffic completely empty. The Strip was shut down for blocks in both directions. Some in the Cosmopolitan — hotel guests out over their balconies, party people on the pool deck — saw the tense situation unfold below. Former NBA player Scot Pollard, who is staying at the Cosmopolitan, told The Associated Press by phone that he was at a bar at the hotel-casino around 11 a.m. when he saw several people, including staff, running through the area toward the casino and repeatedly screaming 'get out of the way.' After he was told that the area would be closed, he went back to his room, which oversees the Strip. 'We can hear them negotiating. We can hear them saying things like 'No one else needs to get hurt,' 'Come out with your hands up. We are not going anywhere. We are not leaving,' ' he said. Visitors were also hiding out inside some of the other prominent casino properties affected, including the Bellagio, Paris, Planet Hollywood and Bally, which in addition to hotels and casinos also hold restaurants, shops and attractions. Las Vegas Police officer Larry Hadfield said just before 3:30 p.m. that the man, who had a handgun, surrendered without incident. Police did not open fire and said they believe the man is the only suspect. Terrorism or any connection to an earlier robbery nearby that shut down a part of the Bellagio has been ruled out. No other information about the man has been released. By 4 p.m., pedestrians were back in the area and northbound traffic on Las Vegas boulevard had reopened while investigators worked to clean up the other lane where the bus was still grounded. The bus is operated by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. The agency said its bus driver was not hurt. It's unknown how many people were on the bus at the time of the shooting but it appears that those who were there were able to flee. Police have started a hotline in search of those passengers to report what they witnessed. ----- Associated Press writer Regina Garcia Cano and photographer John Locher contributed.

The Latest: Pence says fight against 'Obamacare' to continue

The Latest: Pence says fight against 'Obamacare' to continue

The Latest on Congress and the health overhaul (all times local): 7:35 p.m. Vice President Mike Pence has told a group at a small business in West Virginia that 'we will end the Obamacare nightmare and give the American people the world-class health care that they deserve.' Pence's message on Saturday comes after the GOP effort to repeal Barack Obama's health care law failed to gather enough Republican support to come to a vote in the House. Top congressional Republicans mostly concede the measure's demise means it's time to move onto other issues. Trump himself says 'it won't be in the very distant future' before he tries again to repeal and replace the health care law. On Saturday in the West Virginia community of Scott Depot, Pence said Congress just wasn't ready and that it's 'back to the drawing board.' ___ 11:30 a.m. A Tennessee Republican says that 'at some point' lawmakers have to address the costs and availability of health care and that he is willing to work with the Trump administration and both parties to do that. Sen. Bob Corker says in a statement that he spoke Friday night with President Donald Trump. The president has responded to the failure of the GOP effort to repeal and replace 'Obamacare' by repeating his dire predictions for President Barack Obama's health care law. He more optimistic twist in a tweet issued Saturday, saying Obamacare would explode but that 'we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!' But top congressional Republicans mostly concede the measure's demise means it's time to move onto other issues. ___ 11 a.m. President Donald Trump is responding to the failure of the GOP effort to repeal and replace 'Obamacare' by repeating his dire predictions for President Barack Obama's health care law. Trump is also offering a more optimistic twist in a tweet issued Saturday, saying Obamacare would explode but that 'we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!' While some parts of the Affordable Care Act have obvious problems, others are working well and have brought the country's rate of uninsured people to a record low. With Trump serving alongside a Congress controlled by the GOP, the bill was the party's first genuine opportunity to repeal Obama's statute. On Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan shelved the measure amid defections from centrist Republicans who thought it went too far and conservatives who considered it too weak, plus solid Democratic opposition. ___ 3 a.m. House Republicans passed roughly 60 bills over the past six years dismembering President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Other than minor tweaks, they knew the measures would go nowhere because the Democrat still lived in the White House. With a bill that counted Friday, they choked. It was an epic, damaging, self-inflicted collapse that smothered the GOP effort. House Speaker Paul Ryan abruptly yanked the legislation off the House floor to avert a certain defeat. Ryan told reporters, 'We're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.

The British man who killed four people during a London rampage had made three trips to Saudi Arabia: He taught English there twice on a work visa and returned on a visa usually granted to those going on a religious pilgrimage. More details about attacker Khalid Masood's travels, confirmed by the Saudi Arabian embassy in Britain, emerged Saturday amid a massive British police effort to discover how a homegrown ex-con with a violent streak became radicalized and why he launched a deadly attack Wednesday on Westminster Bridge. The embassy said he taught English in Saudi Arabia from November 2005 to November 2006 and again from April 2008 to April 2009, with legitimate work visas both times. He then returned to Saudi Arabia for six days in March 2015 on a trip booked through an approved travel agent and made on an 'Umra' visa, usually granted to those on a religious pilgrimage to the country's Islamic holy sites. The embassy said Saudi security services didn't track Masood and he didn't have a criminal record there. Before taking the name Masood, he was called Adrian Elms. He was known for having a violent temper in England and had been convicted at least twice for violent crimes. Masood drove his rented SUV across London's crowded Westminster Bridge on Wednesday, striking pedestrians. Then he jumped out and stabbed to death police officer Keith Palmer, who was guarding Parliament, before being shot dead by police. In all, he killed four people and left more than two dozen hospitalized, including some with catastrophic injuries. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack, calling him a 'solider' who responded to its demands that followers attack countries in the coalition fighting IS in Syria and Iraq. British officials said security at Parliament will be reviewed after new footage emerged that showed the large gates to the complex were left open after Masood rushed onto the grounds. There are concerns that accomplices could have followed him in and killed even more people. The footage from that day shows pedestrians walking by the open gates and even a courier entering Parliament grounds. Former Metropolitan Police commissioner Ian Blair told the BBC that changes to the 'outer soft ring' of Parliament's security plan are likely in the aftermath of Masood's attack. The new footage follows earlier video that showed slight delays and confusion during the evacuation of Prime Minister Theresa May from Parliament as the attack unfolded. Masood, who at 52 is considerably older than most extremists who carry out bloodshed in the West, had an arrest record in Britain dating to 1983. In 2000, he slashed a man across the face in a pub parking lot in a racially charged argument after drinking, according to a newspaper account. Masood's last conviction, in 2003, also involved a knife attack. One victim, Danny Smith, told The Sun newspaper that Masood had stabbed him in the face with a kitchen knife after an argument just three days after they met. Hundreds of British police have been working to determine his motives and are scouring Masood's communications systems, including his possible use of the encrypted WhatsApp device, to help determine if he had any accomplices. Still, police have released many of those they took in for questioning in the case. One 58-year-old man remains in custody for questioning after being arrested Thursday in the central English city of Birmingham, where Masood was living. Authorities haven't charged or identified him. A 32-year-old woman arrested in Manchester has been released on bail and faces further inquiries. Police said Saturday that a 27-year-old man arrested Thursday in Birmingham has been released. Eight others arrested in connection with the investigation had been set free earlier, including a 39-year-old woman who had initially been freed on bail but now faces no further police action, police said Saturday. Details about how Masood became radicalized aren't clear, although he may have become exposed to radical views while an inmate in Britain or while working in conservative Saudi Arabia. It's also not clear when he took the name Masood, suggesting a conversion to Islam.
RADFORD, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina sheriff says a newborn and the baby's 2-year-old sister have been found stabbed to death.Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin tells WRAL (http://bit.ly/2n1S80h) the bodies of 4-day-old Genesis Freeman and 2-year-old Serenity Freeman were found Saturday in the woods near an intersection close to the city of Raeford.Before they were found, their 30-year-old father Tillman Freeman was arrested and charged with two counts of child abuse and child endangerment. Authorities said the father refused to cooperate with the investigation into the children's whereabouts. TRENDING STORIES: Plane crashes near Cobb County home; 1 killed Company will pay you $10K a month to travel, stay in luxury homes Home Depot accused of unsafe practices; Criminal investigation launched They have not said who they think killed the children, who were reported missing following a domestic dispute. Freeman's wife was in a local hospital when the children disappeared.Details about the domestic dispute were not immediately released. It's not clear whether Freeman has an attorney.
Tens of thousands protested Saturday under sunny skies in London against plans for Britain to withdraw from the European Union. The Unite for Europe march, which saw many people carrying bright blue EU flags, came just days before Britain is expected to begin its formal separation from the other 27 nations in the EU. The crowds observed a minute of silence at Parliament Square as a tribute to the four victims killed and dozens wounded in an attack Wednesday on Parliament. Many bowed their heads as Big Ben chimed and placed flowers at Parliament's gate to honor the victims. Police did not provide a crowd estimate. Organizers said more than 25,000 people were present. There was also a smaller anti-Brexit protest march in Edinburgh, Scotland. Organizers considered delaying the long-planned march because of the attack — in part to avoid putting extra strain on British police — but decided to go ahead. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron told the crowd that 'democracy continues' despite the assault. 'We stand in defiance of that attack,' he said. Prime Minister Theresa May plans to trigger Article 50 of the EU treaty on Wednesday, setting the Brexit process in motion. Negotiations are expected to take at least two years. Britain voted in a June 23 referendum to leave the EU.
Landen Lucas buried his head in a towel as time ran out. Devonte' Graham, on the verge of tears, walked off the court with his jersey pulled up over his face. Coach Bill Self fiddled with his tie a bit and stared blankly into the crowd as his players headed toward the locker room. Kansas came up short — again — as a No. 1 seed in the Elite Eight. The Jayhawks and their faithful never get used to the disappointment of losing in regional finals, but this 74-60 loss to No. 3 Oregon on Saturday night was excruciating. It happened at the Sprint Center, the Jayhawks' home away from home 40 miles from campus. There were 18,643 fans here to see it, almost all of them in blue. The Jayhawks had blown out their first three tournament opponents by an average of 30 points. Two nights after knocking out Purdue 98-66 in the Midwest Regional semifinal, they looked like an unstoppable force. Oregon, however, was irresistible, with Tyler Dorsey and Dillon Brooks combining for 44 points and Jordan Bell just missing a triple-double with 11 points, 13 rebounds and eight shot blocks. This was the second straight year Kansas has lost in regional finals, and the Jayhawks have dropped five of their last seven in this round since 2004. Four of those losses happened when they were No. 1 seeds. 'They all stick with me, and they'll stick with the players who've been part of it,' Self said. 'I'm disappointed more for them than I am for me. They put us in a situation to play for the highest stakes, and today we came up short. The one thing that did happen, and it's hard to admit, the best team did win today. Today. I didn't think we put our best foot forward like we have all season long.' Frank Mason III, a front-runner for national player of the year, scored 17 points in the first half and single-handedly kept the game from becoming a rout. The dazzling freshman Josh Jackson picked up two quick fouls and wasn't a factor until the second half. Graham, who scored 26 points against Purdue, was 0 for 7 from the field and finished with three points. 'I think we started the game really tight,' Mason said. 'We didn't take good shots to where we should have just moved the ball and draw the ball downhill and create easy shots for each other.' Kansas did pull within 6 with 2:50 left on Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk's 3-pointer. Then the Ducks caught a break. With the shot clock running down, Tyler Dorsey flipped up a desperation 3. The rebound went by two Jayhawks and right to Bell, who passed the ball back to Dorsey. This time Dorsey didn't miss, and the Ducks pulled away. 'That,' Mason said, 'was a critical possession.' Jackson, who had all 10 of his points and 10 of his 12 rebounds in the second half, said it would take him a while to get over this one. Expected to be a one-and-done player and high NBA draft pick, he wasn't ready to say whether this would be his last game at KU. 'I've never been in such a tough position like this and lose such an important game,' he said. 'It really hurts. It hurts more to see guys around me. Just seeing the seniors. We really wanted to send them out the right way. It just hurts that we couldn't do that.' Last year the Jayhawks were the No. 1 overall seed and lost in the regional finals to eventual national champion Villanova in Louisville. As a No. 1 in 2011, the Jayhawks were upset by No. 11 VCU in San Antonio. In 2007, it was a second-seeded UCLA that beat them in San Jose. The Jayhawks missed out on going to the Final Four for the first time since 2012, when they were a No. 2 seed and advanced to the title game, where they lost to Kentucky. 'I can't believe how hard our guys tried,' Self said. 'We just couldn't really get out of our own way today.' ___ For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25
When Angel Sanchez’ grandfather was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer in December, the boy decided he would try to raise $100 to help.  With help from his mother, Sanchez, 9, built a yellow lemonade stand.  Through support from the community, he has been able to raise $6,700 through a GoFundMe and another $21,766 while the stand was open Saturday, according to the Las Cruces Sun-News. >> Read more trending news “If you build it they will come,” his mother Chastity Sanchez told the Sun-News. “The response from the community, I can't believe this, I really can't believe it. It doesn't feel real, but I'm so humbled.” Hundreds of residents lined up for a cup with one thirsty and generous drinker plunking down $250 to help Sanchez. “He understands that people are helping him to help his grandfather. But he is also just a boy and it can be hard,” Chastity Sanchez said. “He doesn't really understand what $100 is, which was his goal. What he's wanted is to just help his grandpa not have to worry.”
Friends and loved ones of a missing Iraq War vet gathered Saturday night to pray for his safe return, some three years after he disappeared.Chase Massner is a husband, a father and a veteran.His mother Stephanie has worried about him every day for three years.'That's her only son and you know, it's really affected her,' stepsister Karen Cunningham told Channel 2's Matt Johnson.She was one of about 30 people turned out at Noonday Park Saturday night to pray for Massner's safe return.His wife Amanda told Johnson doctors had treated Massner for post-traumatic stress disorder in 2014.His family said he was last seen at a friend's house in Kennesaw three years ago this coming Monday. TRENDING STORIES: NTSB begins removing wreckage from deadly plane crash Rain, storm chances increase Saturday night Shooting suspect found dead inside apartments after standoff 'We don't know what happened. It's like he vanished from that home, not to be seen or heard from again,' Mary Allredge said.Allredge is a military mom who makes the drive from Alabama to Cobb County every year to help search for Massner.Channel 2 Action News first told you about volunteers searching through parts of Kennesaw for any sign of him in 2015.People involved in the case say they will not give up.'That's a soldier left behind,' Allredge told Johnson. Meanwhile, friends and family lit candles and released balloons Saturday at the park where they gather every year.'It's definitely a good feeling to know that there's still people out there in hopes of finding him,' Cunningham said.Next to the park bench dedicated to Massner, friends, family and volunteers hang on to hope they can see his smile again, in person.'My goal is closure. Hopefully positive closure for the family, to bring Chase home,' Allredge said.
What’s next for Trump, GOP agenda after health care debacle

After the collapse of health care reform legislation in the House on Friday, Republicans in the Congress and President Donald Trump now must decide what’s next on their respective agendas, as the GOP tries to pick up the pieces from a very public legislative failure over an issue that had been their central political focus for the last seven years.

Here’s the look from Capitol Hill.

1. The first big setback for the Trump agenda. You can try to downplay what happened, but there was little positive to take from this health care debacle in the House. “I will not sugarcoat [More]

 
The Latest on a public memorial honoring late actress Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, the mother-daughter duo who died one day apart in December. (all times local): 3:50 p.m. Fans and friends have paid tribute to Debbie Reynolds at a poignant, laughter-filled memorial for the late actresses. The two-hour ceremony Saturday was a mix of music and dance spliced with some never-before-seen footage of the mother-daughter duo reflecting on their lives. The ceremony was led by Todd Fisher, who lost his mother and sister one day apart in late December. Fisher said his mother didn't like memorials, so he was calling it a show that would reveal his loved ones like never before. Moments included a dance tribute by performers from the dance studio Reynolds founded to music from 'Singin' in the Rain,' the classic film that made her a star. The ceremony started with a video montage using 'Star Wars' music to show Fisher from infancy, displaying tender moments with her and her mother interspersed with highlights from her career. At the end of the montage, a working R2D2 unit came on stage and mournfully beeped at a picture of Fisher and at an empty director's chair with Fisher's name on it. Actress Ruta Lee delivered a touching eulogy about Reynolds and her philanthropy. As with much of the ceremony, Lee sprinkled humor throughout. Dan Aykroyd also cracked jokes, describing Fisher as a chatterbox who never let him speak during their relationship. The ceremony also featured a new song Fisher's friend James Blunt wrote in memory of her. ___ 1:10 p.m. Hundreds of fans and friends of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher are packing an auditorium for a public memorial honoring the celebrated mother and daughter. The ceremony honors the mother-daughter duo's careers at the storied Hollywood Hills cemetery that is their final resting place. Actresses Renee Russo, Anne Blythe and Beverly D'Angelo were among the stars who arrived before the ceremony's start. It will be livestreamed on www.debbiereynolds.com. The ceremony's program featured a photo of Fisher as a young girl holding her mother's hand on stage. A drawing of Fisher in a Princess Leia gown and Reynolds in a rain slicker hugging each other was on a giant projector before the ceremony, and a pair of directors' chairs with the actresses' names on them were on stage. It was also being sold on pins worn by many guests, with the proceeds benefiting The Thalians, a charitable mental health group that Reynolds supported throughout her life. Reynolds' son, Todd Fisher, wrote in a message included in the program that his mother and sister loved a good party, and Saturday's ceremony was intended to be a be a celebration they would like. The afternoon was billed as a celebration of their careers, and it included a memorabilia display of a dress worn by Fisher in the original 'Star Wars' and a life-size R2D2 unit that lights up and occasionally beeps. Two of Reynolds' dresses that she wore onscreen and her honorary Oscar were also on display. Other stars attending Saturday's ceremony were 'Dallas' actress Morgan Brittany, actor Todd Stevens and 'Brady Bunch' actress Susan Olsen. ___ 12 a.m. Stars and fans will gather Saturday for a public memorial to honor late actresses Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher. The ceremony honoring the lives of the mother-daughter duo will be held at the Hollywood Hills cemetery that is their final resting place. People will be granted attendance at the event on a first-come, first-served basis and it will also be live-streamed on www.debbiereynolds.com beginning at 1 p.m. Pacific. The ceremony is expected to feature music by James Blunt and 'Star Wars' composer John Williams. Fisher and Reynolds died one day apart in late December. Fisher died several days after falling ill on an international flight, and Reynolds died of a stroke. Stars including Meryl Streep, Tracey Ullman and Stephen Fry mourned the actresses at a private memorial in January. ___ Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP
Saturday Night Live' star Michael Che (CHAY) is not backing away from comments he made about Boston, when he called it the 'most racist city' he has ever visited. The Boston Globe (http://bit.ly/2n34WDF) reports that the co-anchor of 'Weekend Update' told a Boston University crowd Thursday about how he received angry messages on social media after he made the comment on 'SNL' the night before the Super Bowl. He responded to one woman by urging her to 'talk to your closest black friend and ask them to explain it to you.' He says the woman responded by answering, 'Touche.' Che, who often jokes about President Donald Trump on the NBC show, told the audience he never apologizes for language or controversial statements because he's 'just trying to be more presidential.
Cher will no longer appear as planned in “Flint,” a Lifetime original movie about contaminated river water that became a main water source in the Michigan city in 2014. The announcement came weeks after news was released that the 70-year-old singer would star in and produce the film. >> Read more trending news Cher, who has helped donate more than 100,000 bottles of clean drinking water to the residents of Flint, cited “a serious family issue” as the reason for dropping out. “This has been a project so near and dear to my heart, and I was truly looking forward to helping tell this story,” she said in a statement. “Unfortunately, I will be unable to leave Los Angeles during the scheduled filming as I am dealing with a serious family issue that prevents me from going on location for the April filming. I’m so glad that [producers] Craig [Zadan] and Neil [Meron] plan to move ahead, and I know that this Lifetime movie will be done beautifully.” According to Deadline, producers have been in the process of casting other roles for “Flint,” but the film is still on track to begin production in Toronto next month. The film is based on Time magazine’s February 2016 cover story by Josh Sanburn titled, “The Toxic Tap.” Cher’s role was a Flint resident whose family was impacted by the crisis. “Flint” is described as “a hard-hitting, fact-based drama that will explore the events that led to the toxic crime and shed light on politics of the poor management and the human element of residents who suffered and were ignored,” according to Variety magazine. Katie Couric will also serve as an executive producer for the Sony TV-produced film. This week, comedian Amy Schumer announced she will no longer star in another Sony-produced film as previously planned. >> Related: Amy Schumer drops out of live-action ‘Barbie’ movie
What started off as a school assignment led one 8-year-old girl to land on Amazon’s Best Seller list. >> Read more trending news Nia Mya Reese is a student in Hoover, Alabama. She has an “annoying” little brother who constantly keeps her on her toes. “He won’t always listen,” Nia told CBS News. Nia Mya wrote a book about her experiences as a big sister titled, “How to Deal With and Care For Your Annoying Little Brother.” The book has since landed at the top of Amazon’s Best Seller list for parenting under the sibling relationships subsection. The book began as a first-grade class assignment last year. “Nia Mya shared that she was a great big sister to an annoying little brother,” teacher Beth Hankins told CBS News. Nia Mya’s mom, Cherinita, turned the book into a summer assignment, encouraging Nia Mya to work on getting the words and sentences just right. Now, Nia Mya has a fan base and attends book signing for her book. She said she learned something very valuable from the whole experience. “I learned to follow my own dreams,” she said.