Two white supremacists arrested in plot to attack Baltimore’s power grid

Two white supremacists — a Florida man and a Maryland woman — have been arrested on federal charges of plotting to attack multiple energy substation with the goal of destroying Baltimore. The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that the suspects, Sarah Clendaniel of Catonsville, Maryland, and Brandon Russell of Orlando, Florida, were allegedly fueled by a racist extremist ideology as they “conspired to inflict maximum harm” on the power grid with the aim to “completely destroy” Baltimore.

U.S. Attorney Erek Barron and a top FBI official said at a Monday morning press conference that Russell — the founder of the notorious neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen — is quoted in court documents saying that attacking power transformers is “the greatest thing somebody can do.” He is accused of providing instructions and location information for the substations he and Clendaniel allegedly sought to target as part of their plot.  Clendaniel allegedly told an FBI confidential source she was “determined” to carry out the attacks aimed at Baltimore’s infrastructure, saying, “It would lay this city to waste.”

Thomas Sobocinski, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore field office, said: “Their actions threatened the electricity and heat of our homes, hospitals and businesses. The FBI believes this was a real threat.” Sobocinski said the two suspects “had extremist views” and believed that by conducting the attacks, they would bring further light to their views. Sobocinski declined to go into specifics when pressed by reporters.

Russell and Clendaniel were both out on probation as they coordinated their plans to attack the energy facilities. Russell had previously pleaded guilty in 2018 to charges of possessing an unregistered destructive device and was sentenced to five years in prison. According to an affidavit, Clendaniel allegedly said she planned to target five substations in the Baltimore area on the same day — including ones in Norrisville, Reisterstown and Perry Hall.

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Officials release toxic chemical after Ohio train derailment due to fears of explosion

Officials on Monday released toxic chemicals that had been carried on a train which derailed over the weekend in eastern Ohio, after warnings that the chemicals could be deadly if inhaled by the public in surrounding areas.

The release of vinyl chloride was completed late Monday afternoon after evacuations were expanded from East Palestine, Ohio, the site of Friday night’s derailment, to an adjacent community in Pennsylvania. Vinyl chloride is a toxic, flammable gas used to produce vehicle interiors and PVC piping,  According to the train’s operator, Norfolk Southern, the release was “successfully completed, ” adding that a burn off of material would continue past nightfall.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Sunday night 500 people had defied orders to leave, but on Monday he believed all had left. The Ohio National Guard was deployed to the area late Sunday, and authorities went door-to-door urging stragglers to move out, DeWine said at a news conference Monday, warning: “those in the red area are facing grave danger of death if they are still in that area.” A federal Emergency Alert System message on Monday urged residents in East Palestine and Pennsylvania’s Darlington Township to leave immediately.

Officials said at the news conference that two of five train cars believed to be carrying vinyl chloride were likely filled with the gas, and temperature changes could have set it off, forcing officials to either release a gas known for its deadly potential if inhaled, or stand back for an extended period of time amid the potential for an explosion at the derailment site. “The vinyl chloride contents of five rail cars are currently unstable and could potentially explode, causing deadly disbursement of shrapnel and toxic fumes,” Gov. DeWine said.

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Justin Moore and Priscilla Block drop the music video for “You, Me, And Whiskey”

Justin Moore and Priscilla Block have dropped the new video for their duet “You, Me, and Whiskey,” directed by Cody Villalobos. The fan-favorite ballad, which has already amassed more than 34 million streams, marks both Moore and Block’s first duet on country radio. Moore shared during a live stream: “This is my first single that’s a duet. I’ve done duets in the past throughout my career, but never had one as a single and that’s the first video I shot for a single in maybe three or four or five singles.” 

Meanwhile, Block is also gearing up to release the deluxe edition of her debut album, ‘Welcome To The Block Party’, which will drop on February 10th and includes four new songs including “Me Pt. 2” and “Off The Deep End.”

Moore and Block are also currently on the road together on the You, Me, And Whiskey Tour, which kicked off on Thursday (Feb. 2) in Rapid City, South Dakota at the James Kjerstad Event Center as part of The Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo, and will travel across the southeast and midwest through April.

Take a look at the video for You, Me, and Whiskey here.

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2023 Billboard Women in Music Awards to honor Lainey Wilson, Kim Petras, Lana Del Rey and more

The Billboard Women in Music Awards will ‘honor a new class of influential female artists in today’s musical landscape.’ Included in the 2023 class of artists is Lainey Wilson, Becky G, Doechii, Ivy Queen, Kim Petras, Latto, Lana Del Rey and TWICE. Abbott Elementary writer/actress Quinta Brunson will host the ceremony at the YouTube Theater at Hollywood Park in Los Angeles on March 1st.

Billboard Editorial Director Hannah Karp in the event’s announcement: “We’re thrilled to recognize these groundbreaking artists across genres and generations who are defining today’s sound – and paving the way for tomorrow’s women in music. With the inspiring Quinta Brunson as our host, this year’s Billboard Women in Music Awards is going to be an incredible night.”

Additional performances and talent will be announced in the coming weeks. Tickets and more information on the event is available – HERE.

Billboard announces 2023 Women in Music Awards honorees

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Annette Bening to star in the new series ‘Apples Never Fall’ at Peacock

Annette Bening has signed on to star in the upcoming Peacock limited series “Apples Never Fall,” based on the Liane Moriarty novel of the same name.

A synopsis reads that the series: “centers on the Delaneys, who from the outside appear to be an enviably contented family. Former tennis coaches Joy (Bening) and Stan are parents to four adult children. After decades of marriage, they have finally sold their famed tennis academy and are ready to start what should be the golden years of their lives. But after Joy disappears, her children are forced to re-examine their parents’ marriage and their family history with fresh eyes.”

The role will mark one of the few TV roles Bening has had on a series; she is primarily known for her film roles, having earned four Academy Award nominations to date for her work in “The Grifters,” “American Beauty,” “Being Julia,” and “The Kids Are Alright.” She is also a nine-time Golden Globe nominee, winning for “Being Julia” and “The Kids Are Alright.”

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Take a look at Jake Gyllenhaal in the trailer for ‘The Covenant’

MGM shared a trailer for the new war drama ‘The Covenant,’ featuring Jake Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim and written by Guy Ritchie, Ivan Atkinson and Marn Davies.

‘The Covenant’ centers on the bond between John Kinley (Gyllenhall), a U.S. Army sergeant, and Ahmed (Salim), an Afghan interpreter. An official description of the film reads: “After an ambush, Ahmed goes to Herculean lengths to save Kinley’s life. When Kinley learns that Ahmed and his family were not given safe passage to America as promised, he must repay his debt by returning to the war zone to retrieve them before the Taliban hunts them down first.”

The Covenant is directed by Guy Ritchie, and also stars Antony Starr, Alexander Ludwig, Bobby Schofield, Emily Beecham and Jonny Lee Miller. The film opens in theaters April 21; you can take a look at the trailer – here.

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Willie Nelson, Carly Pearce & Ashley McBryde among the winners at 2023 Grammy Awards

The 65th annual Grammy Award were held on Sunday night, hosted by Trevor Noah from the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.

Willie Nelson was the top country winner of the evening, winning trophies for Best Country Solo Performance or Best Country Album.  “‘Til You Can’t,” recorded by Cody Johnson, earned Ben Stennis and Matt Rogers a pair of Grammys for Best Country Song; and Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde took home Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “Never Wanted To Be That Girl.”

Brandi Carlile also earned two Grammys, including wins for Best Americana Album (In These Silent Days) and Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song (“Broken Horses”); and Bonnie Raitt took home Song Of The Year for “Just Like That.”

Beyoncé made history, setting a record for most wins by an artist in Grammy history. She took home two Grammys during the Premiere Ceremony to break her 28-win tie with Quincy Jones, and also earned Grammy Awards for best R&B song (“CUFF IT”) and best dance/electronic album for Renaissance, bring her total lifetime Grammy wins to a staggering 32. Lizzo won Record Of The Year for “About Damn Time,” Samara Joy for Best New Artist, and Harry Styles took home Album Of The Year for Harry’s House.

For the full list of winners, head to www.grammy.com.

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2023 Grammy Awards: Beyoncé, Harry Styles lead the list of winners

Beyoncé made history on Sunday at the 65th annual Grammy Award, hosted by Trevor Noah from the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. The superstar set a record for most wins by an artist in Grammy history, taking home two Grammys during the Premiere Ceremony to break her 28-win tie with Quincy Jones. Beyoncé also earned Grammy Awards for best R&B song (“CUFF IT”) and best dance/electronic album for Renaissance, bring her total lifetime Grammy wins to a staggering 32.

Other big winners of the evening included Harry Styles for his album ‘Harry’s House,’ which took the top award of the night, album of the year. In a surprise win, Bonnie Raitt earned the song of the year Grammy for “Just Like That,” while Lizzo won record of the year for “About Damn Time.”

Additional wins at the awards ceremony were Willie Nelson for best country album, Harry Styles for best pop vocal album, Kendrick Lamar for best rap album, Adele for best pop solo performance, Bad Bunny for best música urbana album, and Sam Smith and Kim Petras won the award for best pop duo/vocal performance for “Unholy.”

For the full list of winners, head to www.grammy.com.

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Diplomatic tensions rise between U.S. and China after downed spy balloon

Diplomatic tensions continued to rise on Sunday as officials in Beijing blasted the U.S. for shooting a Chinese spy balloon out of the sky. Tan Kefei, a spokesperson for China’s Defense Ministry, described the move as “a clear overreaction,” saying in a statement Sunday that his country reserved “the right to use necessary means to deal with similar situations.” China’s Foreign Ministry also said in a statement it was “a serious violation of international customary practice.”  China described the balloon as a “civilian unmanned airship,” and previously said it was used for research and “meteorological purposes.”

The massive white orb was first spotted over Montana — home to Malmstrom Air Force Base, the site of one of America’s three nuclear missile silo fields. The orb was about the size of three school buses, and from Montana headed southeastward over Kansas and Missouri at around 60,000 to 65,000 feet.

The U.S. Defense Department confirmed on Saturday afternoon that an American F-22 Raptor shot down what they described as the “high-altitude surveillance balloon,” with a single missile off South Carolina. The U.S. military plans to salvage parts of the craft from a debris field that spans about 7 nautical miles. President Joe Biden told reporters after the orb was shot down that he gave the order after he was briefed about it Wednesday, but that the Pentagon “decided that the best time to do that was when it got over water.”

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Evacuation orders remain in place after 50-car train accident causes massive fire in Ohio

Home evacuations remain in place for dozens in northeastern Ohio following a train derailment which ignited a massive fire.  Luckily, no one was killed or injured in the accident in East Palestine, Ohio.  Mayor Trent Conaway told reporters that a mandatory evacuation order was imposed around the scene of the derailment in the town, comprised of 4,700 people and located about 45 miles northwest of Pittsburgh along the Ohio-Pennsylvania border.

East Palestine Fire Chief Keith Drabick said the derailment happened around 9 p.m. Friday on a Norfolk Southern freight train traveling from Madison, Ill., to Conway, Pa. The train, he said, was carrying “multiple different quantities of products” and that several cars were still burning overnight. Video from the scene showed intense flames shooting from the derailed cars and thick smoke thousands of feet in the air over the accident scene, where frigid temperatures hindered the efforts of firefighters to contain the blaze. Officials state they know which type of products the train was carrying, however, Drabick declined to name the substances until it could be determined which cars were carrying what kind of cargo.

Columbiana County, Ohio, Emergency Management Agency Director Peggy Clark said that over 40 residents who reside near the scene were evacuated to a Red Cross shelter established in a city school.  According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Coordinator Josh Peters, the situation will remain monitored, but no contamination of air or water with hazardous chemicals had been detected in the area.

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