Review Category : Top Stories

Miley Wins “Video of the Year,” Doesn’t Twerk; Beyonce Dominates Performances at 2014 MTV VMAs

Courtesy MTVAfter last year’s twerk heard ’round the world, what could Miley Cyrus possibly do for an encore at Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards? Take home the Video of the Year trophy in a surprise upset — and then turn her acceptance speech into a powerful call to action.

Miley’s “Wrecking Ball” clip beat out much more recent and talked-about clips — from “Fancy” to “Happy” to “Drunk in Love” — to take the top prize of the night. But instead of coming onstage to accept it, Miley sent an unknown young man instead. Identifying himself as Jesse, he said he was accepting the award for the “1.6 million runaways and homeless youths who are starving, lost and scared right now.”

While Miley watched from the side, tearing up, Jesse went on to note that L.A., the entertainment capital of the world, has a disproportionate number of young homeless people. He then invited everyone to visit Miley’s Facebook page to see how they could help. She’s asking her fans to donate money for “My Friend’s Place,” a homeless center for young people in Hollywood.

It was the second truly “serious” moment in a night that’s usually all about flashy, raunchy, over-the-top performances. The first came when rapper Common mentioned Ferguson, Missouri, which has been a hotbed of protests and occasional violence since unarmed teen Michael Brown was shot by a police officer there in early August.

“The people have used their voices to call for justice and change, and to let everyone know that each and every one of our lives matters,” said Common, noting that hip-hop has “always been about truth, and a powerful instrument for social change.” Before handing out the award for Best Hip-Hop Video, he called for a moment of silence for Brown, “and for peace in this country and in the world.” During the show, a brief public service announcement about Ferguson was also shown.

Of course, there were plenty of flashy, raunchy and over-the-top performances, too, starting with the three-way diva-off of Ariana Grande, Jessie J and Nicki Minaj, who opened the show. Ariana emerged from a rocket ship to sing “Break Free,” followed by Nicki in a green bikini, rapping a heavily censored “Anaconda” and twerking like nobody’s business. Jessie J then emerged to start up “Bang Bang,” and was joined by Ariana and Nicki, who had a serious wardrobe malfunction and spent the number clutching a scanty black dress around her so it wouldn’t fall off.

Another performance highlight was Taylor Swift’s first performance of “Shake It Off,” which she sang wearing a two-piece, midriff-baring fringed sequin number, accompanied by dancing acrobatic men in tuxedos and female backup singers. At one point, she ascended to the top of a giant “1989″ sign onstage — that’s the title of her album — looked over the edge and said, “Nuh, uh. I don’t care if it’s the VMAs. I’m not jumping off there. All kinds of people are getting bit by snakes…it’s dangerous!” That was a reference to the fact that, during rehearsal, one of Nicki Minaj’s backup dancers was, in fact, bitten by a snake. She’s OK, though.

It was a great night for British and Australian acts — and we’re including Lorde in there, even though she’s technically from New Zealand. She took home the Best Rock Video Moonman, accidentally cursing during her acceptance speech and then quickly apologizing. Brit Ed Sheeran won Best Male Video for “Sing,” and Brit Sam Smith absolutely slayed with his beautiful, stripped-down rendition of “Stay With Me.” Aussie band 5 Seconds of Summer performed “Amnesia” and won the Best Lyric Video award, while Aussie Iggy Azalea stopped the show with her dramatic rendition of “Black Widow,” which she sang with Rita Ora.

Maroon 5, in their first-ever VMA performance, took things outside, playing “Maps” in the parking lot in front of thousands of fans underneath an enormous, lit-up “M.” They also played a bit of “One More Night” as well.

Of course, the performance to end all performances came from Beyonce, who received the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. It was presented to her by her husband, Jay Z, who was holding their daughter, Blue Ivy . He referred to her as “our greatest living entertainer,” and a tearful Beyonce said, “I am filled with so much gratitude. Blue, I love you. My beloved…” — referring to Jay Z — “…I love you. My fans, I love you. MTV, I love you!” Then, she, Jay and Blue all walked offstage together. They didn’t look like they were heading to the divorce attorney, either.

As for Bey’s performance, she basically sang her entire self-titled album. She performed for about 15 minutes, running through, in rapid succession, “Mine,” “Haunted,” “No Angel,” “Jealous,” “Blow,” “Drunk In Love,” “Rocket,” “Partition,” “Flawless,” “Yonce,” “Blue” and, finally, “XO,” which the audience sang along with her. She wore the same costume, but moved through a series of different sets, with dancers, video screens and lights creating a different distinct mood for each number. The show ended after her performance and acceptance, because really, how could you follow that?

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American Heart Association Says E-Cigarettes Can Help Smokers to Quit

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — According to the American Heart Association, e-cigarettes may actually help smokers to quit, though they should still be kept out of the hands of children.

According to an AHA statement published in the journal Circulation, e-cigarettes can be helpful in the right situations. “If a patient has failed initial treatment, has been intolerant to or refuses to use conventional smoking cessation medication, and wishes to use e-cigarettes to aid quitting, it is reasonable to support the attempt.” The AHA said that e-cigarettes may even be as effective as nicotine patches for helping smokers to quit.

E-cigarettes have grown in popularity in recent years, with the industry reaching $2 billion in annual sales. The products are banned in Canada and other countries, but legal in the United States.

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ABC Scoreboard Roundup 8/24/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) – MLB: Philadelphia Phillies 7 (58-72) – St. Louis Cardinals 1 (70-59)

Cleveland Indians 3 (66-63) – Houston Astros 1 (55-76)

Cincinnati Reds 5 (63-68) – Atlanta Braves 3 (68-63)

New York Yankees 7 (67-61) – Chicago White Sox 4 (59-71) – 10 Innings

Washington Nationals 14 (75-54) – San Francisco Giants 6 (68-61)

Tampa Bay Rays 2 (64-66) – Toronto Blue Jays 1 (66-64)

Milwaukee Brewers 4 (72-58) – Pittsburgh Pirates 3 (67-73)

Seattle Mariners 8 (71-58) – Boston Red Sox 6 (56-74)

Chicago Cubs 2 (58-72) – Baltimore Orioles 1 (73-55)

Detroit Tigers 13 (70-59) – Minnesota Twins 4 (58-72)

New York Mets 11 (61-70) – Los Angeles Dodgers 3 (74-58)

Texas Rangers 3 (50-79) – Kansas City Royals 1 (72-57)

Colorado Rockies 7 (52-77) – Miami Marlins 4 (64-65)

San Diego Padres 7 (60-69) – Arizona Diamondbacks 4 (55-76)

Los Angeles Angels 9 (77-52) – Athletics 4 (76-53)

IndyCar: Scott Dixon won the IndyCar Grand Prix at Sonoma

Golf: Hunter Mahan wins the Barclays

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Governor Declares State of Emergency After Magnitude 6.0 Earthquake Strikes San Francisco Bay Area

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NAPA, Calif.) — A 6.0 magnitude earthquake has hit the the Bay Area just north of San Francisco at about 3:20 a.m. Sunday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Seismologist Jessica Turner with the USGS says the quake, felt across large areas of California, occurred about 51 miles southwest of Sacramento.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company reported over 15,000 outages most of which are in the area of Napa, Santa Rosa and Sonoma.

“I woke up in the middle of the night to the most violent shake I ever felt. I thought it was the end of the world really,” said Alex Simenstad who lives in downtown Napa close to the epicenter.

According to the USGS, at least 22 aftershocks have been reported, with the strongest registering at 3.6 on the Richter scale.

The USGS says the quake is the largest to strike the area since 1989 magnitude Loma Prieta quake.

“I was alone in the house so I didn’t know what to do, and the first thing when it stopped – I ran under the table and tried to get cover because it’s the first thing they say to do for an earthquake is get under the table,” Diana Martini, who lives in Valejo, told ABC News.

Martini said her television crashed to the ground, along with some of her dishes.

“I’m on the first floor, so that was the scariest thing. I thought the building was going to come down,” she said.

Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa reported having treated approximately 120 patients who were injured in the earthquake, according to Napa City Fire’s Darren Drake. Three of those patients, including one child, are in critical condition.

The city of Napa said that there were an estimated 50 gas main breaks and 30 water main leaks.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency late Saturday morning, activating the state’s emergency personnel, equipment and facilities.

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Governor Declares State of Emergency After Magnitude 6.0 Earthquake Strikes San Francisco Bay Area

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NAPA, Calif.) — A 6.0 magnitude earthquake has hit the the Bay Area just north of San Francisco at about 3:20 a.m. Sunday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Seismologist Jessica Turner with the USGS says the quake, felt across large areas of California, occurred about 51 miles southwest of Sacramento.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company reported over 15,000 outages most of which are in the area of Napa, Santa Rosa and Sonoma.

“I woke up in the middle of the night to the most violent shake I ever felt. I thought it was the end of the world really,” said Alex Simenstad who lives in downtown Napa close to the epicenter.

According to the USGS, at least 22 aftershocks have been reported, with the strongest registering at 3.6 on the Richter scale.

The USGS says the quake is the largest to strike the area since 1989 magnitude Loma Prieta quake.

“I was alone in the house so I didn’t know what to do, and the first thing when it stopped – I ran under the table and tried to get cover because it’s the first thing they say to do for an earthquake is get under the table,” Diana Martini, who lives in Valejo, told ABC News.

Martini said her television crashed to the ground, along with some of her dishes.

“I’m on the first floor, so that was the scariest thing. I thought the building was going to come down,” she said.

Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa reported having treated approximately 120 patients who were injured in the earthquake, according to Napa City Fire’s Darren Drake. Three of those patients, including one child, are in critical condition.

The city of Napa said that there were an estimated 50 gas main breaks and 30 water main leaks.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency late Saturday morning, activating the state’s emergency personnel, equipment and facilities.

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Napa Valley Wineries Picking Up the Pieces After Earthquake

Alex Simenstad/ABC News(NAPA, Calif.) — Wineries in Napa Valley are inspecting damage to vineyards and wine cellars after a magnitude 6.0 earthquake hit northern California early Sunday morning.

The earthquake’s epicenter was located just six miles south-southwest of Napa, Calif., the center of American wine industry. This is the strongest seismic event to hit the region in 25 years.

David Duncan, CEO of Silver Oak, a winery in Oakville, Calif., says that Silver Oak is “fortunate,” despite the damage his vineyard sustained. He tweeted photos of spilled wine bottles Sunday.

Earthquake at @SilverOak pic.twitter.com/uSfHX2WzBk

— David Duncan (@DavidSilverOak) August 24, 2014

Duncan told ABC News that the bottles are reference wines used to assess how wines change over time across different vineyard properties, but he added that they are worth “several hundred dollars a bottle.”

Silver Oak also sustained damage to its water main, Duncan said.

Other Napa wineries that were damaged by the earthquake were Mathiassons Wine and the Hess Collection.

“Goodbye chimney,” Mathiassons Wine wrote on its Instagram page with the hashtag “napaearthquake.”

It is still unclear how much wine Mathiassons lost in the earthquake, according to its Twitter page.

The Hess Collection is still assessing the damage it sustained this morning.

“We do have some damage … will need to wait on Mother Nature to turn on a bit more light to fully grasp the extent of our damage … updates to come,” the company wrote on its Facebook page.

The earthquake’s complete impact on wineries in Napa Valley remains to be seen.

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American Citizen Held in Syria Freed, State Department Confirms

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — An American citizen held hostage in Syria for the last two years was released and is returning to the United States, the State Department confirmed on Sunday.

Peter Theo Curtis had been held, the State Department said, by al Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra. During the two years that he was held, the U.S. reportedly reached out to over two dozen countries for help in securing his release, and the release of any American hostage in Syria.

Less than one week after video was posted online of American journalist James Foley being executed by a self-proclaimed member of the Islamic State or Iraq and Syria, Curtis is now safe outside of Syria, according to National Security Advisor Susan Rice. He is expected to be reunited with his family “shortly.”

Rice added that the United States would “continue to use all of the tools at our disposal to see that the remaining American hostages are freed.”

The United Nations confirmed on Sunday that it played a role in facilitating Curtis’ release.

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Former NYPD Commissioner: Militarization of Police Should Be Examined

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Sunday that the federal programs that arm local forces with military-style equipment should be reviewed, perhaps limiting access to situations when there is “a major emergency.”

The issue of whether police should be using military equipment has heated up after Missouri police began patrolling the streets of Ferguson, Mo., in Humvees, dressed in SWAT gear, and pointed automatic weapons at crowds in the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown.

“I think the military equipment, the distribution of excess military equipment, has to be examined.” Kelly told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on This Week. “The optics … are not good. People get uneasy when they see Humvees, military vehicles, heavy weapons.

“I think the fundamental question is ‘What is the need? Do we need that equipment? And does it make people feel like the police are an occupying army?’” Kelly continued.

Local forces have gained increasing access to such military supplies in recent years after receiving grants from the Pentagon to purchase equipment. President Obama and other elected officials have called for a review of these programs following the unrest in Ferguson.

Kelly suggested Sunday that there be more limited access to these supplies, saying, “Perhaps, this equipment is stored on the state level and distributed when there is a major emergency.”

Kelly also said that police forces should have diversity that in some way reflects the community. He cited New York City’s force — boasting officers from 106 countries — as an example.

“It’s so important to have a police force that reflects, or at least better reflects, the community that you serve,” Kelly said.

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House Homeland Security Chair Says ISIS ‘Operations’ Underway to Hit West

US Congress(WASHINGTON) — House Homeland Security Chair Rep. Michael McCaul said Sunday he believes that ISIS, the jihadist army that has taken control of large part of Iraq and brutally murdered American journalist James Foley, has external operations under way to hit the West.

“Their focus right now is establishing the caliphate. But don’t kid yourself for a second, they are [sic] intent on hitting the West. And there are external operations, I believe, under way,” McCaul, R-Texas, told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on This Week.

“We have tens of thousands of foreign fighters from all over the world pouring into this safe haven that’s now been established, including hundreds of Americans with Western passports and legal travel documents, which would enable them not only to travel to Western Europe, but to the United States,” McCaul added.

Also on This Week, retired Gen. John Allen — who has called ISIS a clear and present danger — said that destroying the group would require “a comprehensive approach” that would necessitate more resources.

“It’s going to take more than what we’re doing right now, George. There’s just no question of this,” Allen said. “We need to give the American public more clarity in terms of our commitment solely using the terms boots on the ground.

“I think we’ve been very clear that we don’t want to put American maneuver forces necessarily, conventional maneuver forces back on the ground, but we have really significant capabilities to provide special operators into these formations, both at the tribal level, some of the more recently emerging Sunni conventional forces that are appearing in northwest Iraq, the Free Syrian Army, and Sunni tribes in Syria,” Allen added.

Allen also told Stephanopoulos that the effort to eliminate ISIS might mean working toward the same goal as the regimes in Iran and Syria, even if the efforts were not coordinated.

“I think that the actions that we take may, in fact, be not in coordination, necessarily, but provide an opportunity for a coordinated effort,” he said.

“But we don’t share any values with the Iranian regime, and we don’t share any values with the Syrian regime,” Allen added. “The Syrians, in fact, are one of the principle reasons that ISIS has had the opportunity to incubate to this point to the level that it is, to the threat that it has become. The Assad regime, in fact, has turned a blind eye to the development of ISIS and permitted ISIS ultimately to attack that element that we have been and ought to be supporting in Syria, the free Syrian movement.”

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“Guardians of the Galaxy” Jumps Back Top of Box Office

Buena Vista Pictures(LOS ANGELES) — Guardians of the Galaxy climbed back atop the box office this weekend, overtaking Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which had finished first each of the past two weekends.

Guardians, the latest movie from Marvel Studios, stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel and the voice of Bradley Cooper. After opening atop the box office and bringing in $94 million in its opening weekend, Guardians finished second behind TMNT each of the past two weeks.

Opening in third place was If I Stay, an adaptation of the young adult novel of the same name by Gayle Forman, starring Chloe Grace Moretz, The Killing‘s Mireille Enos, Jamie Blackley, Joshua Leonard and Stacy Keach.

Here are the top ten films of the weekend according to boxofficemojo.com:

1. Guardians of the Galaxy: $17.631 million
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014): $16.8 million
3. If I Stay: $16.355 million
4. Let’s Be Cops: $11 million
5. When the Game Stands Tall: $9 million
6. The Giver: $6.73 million
7. The Expendables 3: $6.6 million
8. Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For: $6.477 million
9. The Hundred-Foot Journey: $5.562 million
10. Into The Storm: $3.8 million

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