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23-foot python swallows woman whole, reports say

A 54-year-old Indonesian woman is dead after villagers say a 23-foot python swallowed her whole.

>> Severed rattlesnake head bites Texas man

According to The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse, Wa Tiba of Muna Island disappeared Thursday after leaving her village, Persiapan Lawela, to tend to her garden. The next day, searchers discovered a "snake with a bloated belly" and some of Tiba's things near the garden, said the village's chief, known by the single name Faris, the AP reported.

Faris said villagers killed the python and cut it open, the AP reported. They then "found Tiba's body still intact with all her clothes," Faris said.

Graphic photos and videos posted online appeared to show the woman's body being extracted from the dead python.

>> Read more trending news 

This isn't the first time a python has swallowed a person in Indonesia, where such snakes are common, AFP reported. A farmer died under similar circumstances in March 2017 on the island of Sulawesi, according to the news service.

Read more here or here.

New Jersey arts festival shooting: Suspect dead, 22 hurt, police say

One suspect is dead and 22 people were hurt early Sunday after gunfire rang out at an arts festival in Trenton, New Jersey, authorities said.

According to The Associated Press, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said two suspects began firing their weapons at the Art All Night festival about 3 a.m. EDT Sunday. Authorities said four of the victims were injured critically, and 16 of the victims suffered gunshot wounds, the AP reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Onofri said one suspect, identified only as a 33-year-old man, has died. Police have apprehended the second suspect, WNBC reported.

UPDATE: June 17, 2018, 2:59 p.m.: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy spoke at the Galilee Baptist Church in Trenton. “Art All Night is a time when we call come together. We cannot let gun violence tear us apart,” he said. “These are not inappropriate times to talk about gun policy. These are the most important times to talk about gun policy.”

UPDATE: June 17, 2018, 2:40 p.m.: The Trentonian reported that “law enforcement sources” believed a fight that sparked the shooting was the result of an ongoing conflict between two rival groups. A social media post 15 hours before the shooting suggested that there would be gunfire at the event. A Facebook post by Danielle Grady pleaded for people to “Please, please, do not got to Art All Night! They will be shooting it up!” 

The post has since been taken down, but the Trentonian ran a screen shot of the Facebook post.

UPDATE: June 17, 2018, 11:00 a.m.  EDT:Officials said 22 people were injured during the incident, 17 by gunfire. Of the four people injured critically, one was a 13-year-old boy who was in “extreme critical condition,” police said.

UPDATE: June 17, 2018, 9:25 a.m. EDT: What Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said the festival does not appear to have been the target of the shooting, NJ.com reported.

"All indications are that this was a dispute between individuals that occurred at Art All Night," Onofri said.

UPDATE: June 17, 2018, 9:08 a.m. EDT: At a news conference Sunday morning, Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson called the shooting “truly a tragedy” for the city. 

“All shootings, whether large or small, are a crisis. It’s a fact that our cities, as well as our suburbs, throughout America are experiencing an increase in public shootings and public unrest,” Jackson said. “This isn’t some random act of violence; this is a public health issue. We are working cooperatively and collaboratively to end this violence in the city of Trenton.”

UPDATE: June 17, 2018, 8:53 a.m. EDT: Art festival officials announced on Facebook “with great regret” that the remainder of the festival had been canceled.

“We’re still processing much of this and we don’t have many answers at this time,” officials wrote in the Facebook post.

Read more here.

Chris Hardwick's AMC talk show on hiatus following sexual, emotional abuse allegations

AMC announced it won't air Chris Hardwick's talk show after an ex-girlfriend wrote a blog post that appeared to accuse the TV host – without naming him – of emotional and sexual abuse.

In a statement Saturday, the network added that the "Talking With Chris Hardwick" host will not moderate panels for AMC and BBC America at San Diego Comic-Con.

>> More than half of women in science experience harassment, extensive report finds

"We have had a positive working relationship with Chris Hardwick for many years," the statement said. "We take the troubling allegations that surfaced yesterday very seriously. While we assess the situation, 'Talking With Chris Hardwick' will not air on AMC, and Chris has decided to step aside from moderating planned AMC and BBC America panels at Comic-Con International in San Diego next month."

>> Harvey Weinstein faces new rape accusation in a class-action lawsuit filed Friday

Hardwick also hosts "The Wall" on NBC, which issued a statement saying it was "continuing to assess the situation" and would "take appropriate action based on the outcome," USA Today reported.

The news came after Chloe Dykstra, an actress and model who used to date Hardwick, wrote a blog post for Medium accusing an ex-boyfriend of emotionally and sexually abusive behavior. Although she did not use the ex-boyfriend's name, descriptions of the man's career and age appeared to match Hardwick, The Associated Press reported.

>> Read the blog post here

According to Deadline, Hardwick issued the following statement Friday:

"These are very serious allegations and not to be taken lightly which is why I’ve taken the day to consider how to respond," the statement read. "I was heartbroken to read Chloe’s post. Our three year relationship was not perfect – we were ultimately not a good match and argued – even shouted at each other – but I loved her, and did my best to uplift and support her as a partner and companion in any way and at no time did I sexually assault her."

>> Sylvester Stallone sexual assault case under review by prosecutors

The statement continued: "When we were living together, I found out that Chloe had cheated on me, and I ended the relationship. For several weeks after we broke up, she asked to get back together with me and even told me she wanted to have kids with me, 'build a life' with me and told me that I was 'the one,' but I did not want to be with someone who was unfaithful. I’m devastated to read that she is now accusing me of conduct that did not occur. l was blindsided by her post and always wanted the best for her. As a husband, a son, and future father, I do not condone any kind of mistreatment of women."

>> Read more trending news 

The website Nerdist, which Hardwick founded but is now owned by Legendary Entertainment, posted Friday that the behavior Dykstra described "is contrary to everything we stand for and believe in."

Legendary added: "Chris Hardwick had no operational involvement with Nerdist for the two years preceding the expiration of his contract in December 2017. He no longer has any affiliation with Legendary Digital Networks. The company has removed all reference to Mr. Hardwick even as the original Founder of Nerdist pending further investigation."

Parents charged with child abuse after 10-month-old baby girl dies

Two parents in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, are being charged after their 10-month-old daughter died, investigators say.

>> Watch the news report here

Timothy Tatum and Ashley Lee will be in court Monday facing charges of felony child abuse with serious bodily injury based on preliminary autopsy results, investigators said.

>> Read more trending news 

Police said the child died May 24. Authorities said Tatum and Lee were arrested when drugs, including opioids and cocaine, were found in their home on Knights Bridge Road.

More details about what caused the baby's death were not immediately available.

Read more here.

'At Last': School receptionist celebrates summer break with viral intercom serenade

A school receptionist's stunning ode to summer is going viral.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

According to USA Today, Regina Ballard, who works at North Lincoln High in Lincolnton, North Carolina, took to the school intercom Wednesday to welcome summer break with a joyful rendition of Etta James' "At Last."

The performance, which was captured on video, quickly made the rounds on social media.

>> Read more trending news 

"I love my job, y'all, but I look forward to summers when I can spend time with my grands & family, sooo...here it is...At Last!!!" Ballard, 57, wrote Wednesday in a Facebook post that racked up more than 11,000 shares and 620,000 views by Sunday morning.

>> Watch the video here

Ballard told USA Today that she's "blown away" by all the attention.

Read more here.

Kidnapping phone scam targeting parents could cost victims thousands, police warn

Police are warning of a kidnapping scam targeting parents in Washington state.

On Friday, the Pierce County Sheriff's Department shared information about a kidnapping scam where suspects attempt to steal thousands of dollars by terrifying parents with false information. 

>> Fake kidnappers target mom after daughter posts about vacation

Police said the scam victimized a Spanaway family Wednesday. 

Employees at an Albertsons grocery store in Spanaway saw a mother trying to purchase thousands of dollars in gift cards and heard her speaking on the phone with "kidnappers," police said. 

Deputies responded, contacting the mother and letting her know the alleged kidnapping was likely a scam. Together, they called her son but didn't get an answer. They searched for her son for hours and eventually found him safe at his workplace, officials said. 

Police said the mother was convinced the scam was real because the suspects called from her son's phone number. They also coordinated a joint call with her son that convinced her he was with the suspects. 

"The mother asked the 'kidnappers' to prove that they had her son by asking him what movie she and her son were going to watch that night," police said. "The suspects briefly patched the mother and son onto a conference call so they could hear each other's voices, and the suspects were able to get an answer to her verifying question."

>> Read more trending news 

The suspects called the son, claiming to be with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, and told him he missed jury duty and they had a warrant out for his arrest, which they could eliminate if he purchased $5,000 in prepaid gift cards and gave them card codes.

The mother in the Spanaway scam did not end up buying gift cards, but her son lost more than $5,400 that he used buying gift cards to stop what he believed was a warrant for his arrest.

A reminder from the Pierce County Sheriff's Department:

"Please remember the Sheriff’s Department NEVER collects money from the public for arrest warrants, traffic infractions, or missed jury duty. If someone threatens your arrest or the arrest of your family member and demands payment – especially with gift cards! – it is a SCAM.

>> Read the Facebook post here

20 firefighters injured battling blaze at fire marshal’s house on Staten Island

Twenty firefighters were injured Saturday battling a blaze that engulfed four houses including a fire marshal’s on Staten Island. 

>> Read more trending news

The fire marshal and his family were not at home when the fire started around 7 p.m., according to WLNY. No residents were injured, officials said. 

“Fortunately, his family and his baby were down at the Jersey Shore for the weekend, but he (has) ... to come home and find that his house was destroyed,” James Leonard, chief of the department, told WLNY.

More than 250 firefighters responded to the scene, getting the flames under control despite a defective hydrant. Four firefighters suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries; 16 had minor injuries. 

Arson investigators are looking into the cause but do not believe it to be suspicious.

‘The Jerry Springer Show’ ends production after 27 years

The Jerry Springer Show, which ushered in an era of “trash TV” talk shows, is ending production after 27 years, according to reports. 

>> Read more trending news

Jerry Springer, a former Cincinnati mayor, started the show in 1991 as a thoughtful topic and issues show. The next year, production moved to Chicago and by 1994, the furniture throwing and fistfighting format was introduced, according to WLWT.

A station group did not renew the show in April. It was quickly picked up by another network but only for repeat episodes, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That deal is for multiple years and included the option to air new episodes, but for now, production has ended after nearly 4,000 episodes, according to Broadcasting & Cable

Pre-produced and repeat episodes will air this fall.

In the ratings, the show rose above contemporaries including Ricki Lake and Sally Jesse Raphael, and even competed with Oprah Winfrey’s show.

Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy, Blues Brothers guitarist, dead at 88

Matt “Guitar” Murphy, a member of the Blue Brothers Band, who also played with Howlin’ Wolf, Memphis Slim and Muddy Waters ,has died. He was 88.

>> Read more trending news

His son confirmed the death Friday in a Facebook post.

“I'm feeling very alone right now, like I'm the only person standing on the planet,” Floyd Murphy Jr. wrote. But I like to thank everyone across the globe for supporting and enjoying the beautiful music the Murphy family brought to blues listeners from coast to coast.”

Murphy, a fixture of the Memphis blues scene, was widely known for playing in the Blues Brothers Band, appearing in the original movie as the husband of cafe owner Aretha Franklin, who objected to him rejoining the group.

Murphy also appeared in the 1998 sequel “Blues Brothers 2000.”

“Through his music, he will live forever,” The Blues Brothers said on Instagram. “We ask that you join us while we offer condolences to the entire Murphy family.”

Florida team lands 800-pound marlin, wins $450,000 payday at fishing tournament

A Florida fishing team landed a nearly 800-pound marlin and a $450,000 payout after winning a three-day fishing tournament.

>> Read more trending news

It took about 47 minutes for members of the Reel Addiction fishing team to land the 796-pound game fish during the 22nd annual Gulf Coast Billfish Classic, according to the Pensacola News Journal.

"It wasn't a big explosion; the bait was under the water so we never saw it," Chase Pate told the News Journal. "It wasn't until we got close and Zac Taylor (another fisherman) got it on the wire that we really could see it good and could grasp how big of a fish it was. I could only reel to a certain point, and then Zac, the mate, had to grab the last 30 feet of line to pull it in. So once he did that, it was literally hand-to-hand combat with that thing."

The team landed the catch hours before the Saturday evening deadline, winning a $450,705 payout, the largest in tournament history. A total $2.2 million of prize money was available, according to tournament organizers.

"The fish went absolutely crazy when we got the gaff in there," Pate said. "It had been 30 minutes and it never jumped until that point, so it had a lot of energy. It was 10 minutes of five grown men hanging onto this thing. Everything we had." 

The Billfish Classic, based in Biloxi, Mississippi, is the largest offshore fishing tournament in the Gulf of Mexico, organizers said.

"It's definitely the best fishing trip I've ever had in a tournament," Pate said. "Out of the 117 boats in the tournament, I mean, only half of them really have a chance at winning. The best anglers and fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico were there this weekend."

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