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Female captain makes military history as she takes command of Changing the Guard ceremony

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 7:23 AM

Canadian Captain Megan Couto, right, makes history by becoming the first female Captain of the Queen's Guard as she takes part in the Changing the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, June 26, 2017. Couto and her unit, The Second Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2PPCLI), known as
Canadian Captain Megan Couto, right, makes history by becoming the first female Captain of the Queen's Guard as she takes part in the Changing the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, June 26, 2017. Couto and her unit, The Second Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2PPCLI), known as "The Patricia's", took part in the ceremony Monday to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Canada and the sesquicentennial anniversary of Canadian Confederation. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)(Matt Dunham/AP)

A 24-year-old woman from Canada made history when she took command of the ceremonial Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace, CTV News reported.

Capt. Megan Couto is the first woman to be put in charge of the iconic ceremony.

Couto is a member of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. It’s also known as “The Patricia’s.”

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Normally the British Army forms the Queen’s Guard, but Queen Elizabeth II has invited Canadians to take part in honor of the country’s 150th birthday, CTV News reported.

Until July 3, Canadian soldiers are being permitted to take their place as sentries at the royal residences.

This isn’t the first time a woman has led the Queen’s Guard, but Couto is the first female infantry officer to do so. Women were not permitted to serve in frontline combat roles until July 2016, CTV News reported. Women have been allowed to serve in the infantry since the 1980s, The Associated Press reported.

7 Interesting Facts about the Royal Family

Trump delays lifting ban on import of elephant trophies from Africa

Published: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 8:37 PM
Updated: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 8:37 PM



Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
(Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Update (Friday, November 17)

President Donald Trump said in a tweet Friday he’s delaying a new policy allowing the body parts of African elephants shot for sport to be imported until he can review “all conservation facts.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday that it will allow the importation of body parts from African elephants shot for sport. The agency said encouraging wealthy big-game hunters to kill the threatened species would help raise money for conservation programs.

Animal rights advocates and environmental groups criticized the decision. On Friday, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee urged the administration to reverse the policy, calling it the “wrong move at the wrong time.”

Trump said that the policy had been “under study for years.” He says he will review the issue with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Earlier

The Trump administration plans to lift a ban on Friday that barred big game hunters from bringing trophies from elephants killed in a pair of African nations to America, according to multiple reports.

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A spokesperson for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told ABC News in a statement Wednesday that the decision was made after officials in Zimbabwe and Zambia provided them with information to support a reversal of the ban.

"Legal, well-regulated sport hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation," the spokesperson told ABC News.

The decision will overturn a 2014 ban implemented by President Barack Obama’s administration in response to falling elephant populations. 

African elephants are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A provision in the act, however, allows for the government to give permits that let people import trophies from such animals if evidence shows that hunting them helps conservation efforts, according to NBC News.

The rule reversal will apply to elephants hunted in Zimbabwe from Jan. 21, 2016, to Dec. 31, 2018, the news station reported. It will also apply to elephants killed in Zambia in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and “applications that meet all other applicable permitting requirements,” a Fish and Wildlife spokesperson told NBC News.

According to the 2016 Great Elephant Census, Savanna elephant populations fell by 30 percent between 2007 and 2014. About 352,000 elephants were spotted during the survey, 82,300 in Zimbabwe and 21,700 in Zambia.

Both countries had areas that saw substantial declines in elephant populations along the Zambezi river in Zambia and in Zimbabwe’s Sebungwe region, according to the census.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tim McGraw weighs in on Blake Shelton’s new ‘sexy’ title

Published: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 10:35 PM

Tim McGraw [L] (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) | Blake Shelton [R] (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Tim McGraw [L] (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) | Blake Shelton [R] (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

You can tell from Blake Shelton’s reaction to winning People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” honors that the award is one to be taken lightly. The tall and talented Okie has been appreciative yet modest about the recognition and, at times, he’s even self-deprecating. But his good friends, including Tim McGraw, have got his back.

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Sort of.

McGraw and wife Faith Hill appeared on the nationally syndicated “Ty, Kelly & Chuck” radio show Thursday, and it turns out there are several country fans who would have liked to see the “Humble and Kind” singer win the magazine cover instead.

And those country fans aren’t shy about sharing their feelings.

McGraw read one tweet from a fan who said, “We all know that Blake Shelton is not the sexiest man alive, especially in country music. We know that nobody holds a candle to George Strait or Tim McGraw, so how about we redo the Sexiest Man Alive thing?”

After a solid chuckle, McGraw admitted, “I think Blake is pretty sexy,” and Hill added, “He has a great sense of humor, and that is sexy.”

No doubt!

Host Ty Bentli also shared a tweet that read, “Blake Shelton looks like the dad in a drug commercial where they list the side effects at the end while you watch him build a birdhouse.”

OK, we love Shelton to pieces, but that’s hilarious, y’all!

And we imagine Shelton would find it funny, too, because as Bentli confirmed, “The best part is, he was just in here and he totally will take this and he loves it.”

McGraw added, “When you’re the sexiest man alive, you can take anything.”

Also true.

Shelton is sexy, McGraw is sexy, Hill is sexy, Bentli, Kelly and Chuck are sexy … there’s just a whole lotta sexy goin’ on in country music. But of that group, only Shelton, McGraw and Hill are nominated for Rare Country Awards.

Hill leads with four nominations, while Shelton and McGraw are tied with three apiece. It’s up to you to decide the winners! Vote now through Dec. 13 at RareCountryAwards.com. Winners will be revealed during a livestreamed concert event on Dec. 14 in Nashville.

Expert details how to best handle an active shooter situation

Published: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 9:34 PM

Terrence Brown (WPXI.com)
Terrence Brown (WPXI.com)

Mass shootings have been becoming more common in America, with one happening nearly every week. But have you considered what to do if you're in a dangerous situation with someone opening fire and attacking you? 

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a video recommending "run, hide, fight" for active shooter situations.

WPXI sat down with security expert Terrence Brown, who trains people and companies on how to handle emergencies.

"So, running's fine, but the issue with running ... is that you need to know where you're running to," said Brown.

Brown is retired from the U.S. military and is a former Pittsburgh police officer. He said a lot of people instinctively "fight, flight and freeze" in a crisis, which is understandable, but not good.

"You're fighting yourself. You're in disbelief that this is actually happening," said Brown.

Brown said it's important to be prepared and have a plan. That means before running, you should identify a safe place to shelter. David Johnson and Brown walked through WPXI, with Brown identifying what to look for: rooms and doors with no glass, and rooms that open to the inside, so they can be barricaded against an intruder.

When it comes to going to large outdoor events, it's just as important to be prepared.

"Get to know the areas, get to know the buildings that will be open late," said Brown. "To my right, I see a parking garage ... multiple levels, so that's wonderful."

Good places to run and hide are thick and solid, and don't have glass. That provides you safety from someone firing a gun at ground level or from up above. And when you're at an event where everyone is focused on one thing, like a performer, force yourself to look away and scan the crowd every once in a while.

Brown said it's all about awareness, whether in your workplace, in any other building or outdoors, especially where there are large crowds. 

As for the last recommendation, fight, that's for when all else fails. In that case, you're trying to save your life, and the lives of others, in any way you can.

The American Music Awards 2017: What time, what channel, who is performing at the AMAs?

Published: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 11:29 AM

7 Things You Didn’t Know about the American Music Awards

The 45th American Music Awards ceremony is set for Sunday in Los Angeles, and if the past is any indication, you can expect a night with a few surprising moments. 

Remember Garth Brooks declining the award, or the time Pat Boone dressed in leather? Yeah, it’s likely to be that kind of night.

The show will be broadcast live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Here’s what you need to know about the show.

What time: The show begins at 8 p.m. ET

What channel: The AMAs will be broadcast live on ABC.

Who is hosting: Tracee Ellis Ross, star of “black-ish,” is hosting.

What about a pre-show: What would a music awards show be without a pre-show? AJ Gibson, Marc Malkin, Laura Marano and Oliver Trevena will host the official pre-show, “AMAs Red Carpet Live presented by Security Benefit.”

The two-hour pre-show will stream live from the Microsoft Theater beginning at 6 p.m. ET. You can watch the show on Twitter. Find it here. live.twitter.com/amas or via @AMAs. You can also watch “E! Live from the Red Carpet” from 6-8 p.m. ET. on the E! Network.

Who has the most nominations: Bruno Mars has the most nominations this year – eight.

Who is nominated for Artist of the Year: The Chainsmokers, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran are up for the award.

Who is up for Video of the Year: Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee ("Despacito"), Bruno Mars ("That's What I Like") and Ed Sheeran ("Shape of You") are the nominees.

For a complete list of nominees, click here.

Who is performing: Here is a list of those scheduled to perform:

Alessia Cara
Alesso
BTS
Christina Aguilera 
Kelly Clarkson 
Florida Georgia Line
Niall Horan
Selena Gomez
Imagine Dragons
Lady Gaga
Nick Jonas
Khalid
Demi Lovato 
Shawn Mendes
P!nk
Portugal. The Man
Diana Ross
Hailee Steinfeld
watt
Zedd

Anything special: Diana Ross, mother of host Tracee Ellis Ross, is both performing and receiving a lifetime achievement award.