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Eric Clapton announces first full-length Christmas album

Eric Clapton on Friday announced the release of his first full-length Christmas album, Billboard reported. 

>> Read more trending news 

Set for an Oct. 12 release, “Happy Xmas” will have a blues edge to it and will contain 14 tracks and is the 24th studio album of Clapton’s career and his first since 2016 when he released “I Still Do,” Billboard reported.

The album will contain Christmas favorites such as “White Christmas,” “Silent Night” and “Away in a Manger,” Rolling Stone reported. Clapton’s version of “Jingle Bells” is sung “In Memory of Avicii,” a dedication to the late disc jockey.

"I had in my head that these holiday songs could be done with a slight blues tinge, and I started to figure out how to play the blues lines in between the vocals,” Clapton told Billboard. “I got it down and one of the most identifiable songs on the album, the one that became the foundational style, is ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.’”

“Happy Xmas” is available for preorder, Billboard reported.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan dead at 80

Kofi Annan, a diplomat from Ghana who served as UN Secretary-General for nine years and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, died early Saturday, CNN reported. He was 80.

>> Read more trending news 

Annan died in a hospital in Bern, Switzerland. Reuters reported.

Annan was the seventh Secretary-General, serving from 1997 to 2006. He shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 with the United Nations for “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world," CNN reported.

Annan was born in Kumasi, Ghana, on April 8, 1938. He was a member of The Elders, a group of global leaders working for human rights that was founded in 2007, CNN reported. He became the organization’s chairman in 2013.

In a tweet, the UN Migration Agency noted that "Today we mourn the loss of a great man, a leader, and a visionary."

Annan was the first black African to fill the role of the world's top diplomat, the BBC reported. He later served as the UN’s special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a peaceful solution to the volatile area of the Middle East.

During Annan’s tenure as Secretary-General, the Berlin Wall was dismantled, al-Qaeda conducted terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2011, and the United States invaded Iraq, The New York Times reported.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said Annan “was the United Nations,” The Guardian reported.

“He rose through the ranks to lead the organisation into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination,” Guterres said.

Annan joined the United Nations in 1962 as an administrative officer with the World Health Organization, The Guardian reported. Annan later served with the Economic Commission for Africa, the UN Emergency Force in Ismailia and the UN high commissioner for refugees in Geneva, the newspaper reported.

Before becoming secretary general, Annan was under-secretary general for peacekeeping. He also served as a special representative of the secretary general to the former country of Yugoslavia in 1995 and 1996, according to The Guardian.

Parliament car crash: Salih Khater named as suspect in possible terror attack, reports say

A man arrested on suspicion of terrorist offenses in connection with a Tuesday morning car crash outside the Houses of Parliament in London has been identified as Salih Khater, British media outlets are reporting.

Here are the latest updates:

Update 5:45 a.m. EDT Aug. 15: More details are emerging about the man accused of driving a car through security barriers and injuring pedestrians outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Tuesday.

According to The Associated Press, British media outlets have identified the terror suspect as Salih Khater, 29. 

Khater is a “British citizen of Sudanese origin,” the AP reported. A Facebook page that appeared to be his said he is a shop manager who lives in Birmingham and attended the Sudan University of Science and Technology, the report said.

Investigators searched three properties tied to Khater, including two in Birmingham and one in Nottingham, the AP reported.

Read more here.

Update 3:50 a.m. EDT Aug. 15: According to British media, the man arrested in connection with a possible terrorist attack outside the Houses of Parliament in London has been identified as Salih Khater, The Associated Press is reporting.

Update 9:10 a.m. EDT Aug. 14: President Donald Trump responded to Tuesday’s attack in a tweet.

“Another terrorist attack in London,” the president wrote. “These animals are crazy and must be dealt with through toughness and strength!”

Authorities said three people suffered injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening on Tuesday morning after a man in his late 20s slammed a silver Ford Fiesta into cyclists and pedestrians in front of the Houses of Parliament. The car stopped when it hit a barrier, police said.

The man, who has not been identified, was arrested on suspicion of terrorism offenses.

“Given that this appears to be a deliberate act, the method and this being an iconic site, we are treating it as a terrorist incident and the investigation is being led by officers from the Counter Terrorism Command,” Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said.

Authorities do not believe any other suspects were involved in the incident.

Update 7:08 a.m. EDT Aug. 14: Three people were injured when a man drove through security barriers outside the U.K. Houses of Parliament, the London Ambulance Service tweeted Tuesday.

“Two patients were treated at the scene and taken to hospital, and a third patient with minor injuries was assessed at the scene,” the tweet read.

Prime Minister Theresa May thanked first responders and expressed sympathy for the victims.

“My thoughts are with those injured in the incident in Westminster and my thanks to the emergency services for their immediate and courageous response,” she tweeted.

Meanwhile, Britain’s emergency COBRA committee announced it would be meeting in response to the suspected terrorist attack, The Associated Press reported.

Update 5:46 a.m. EDT Aug. 14: A man in his late 20s has been arrested “on suspicion of terrorist offenses” in connection with the crash that left “a number of people” injured, London police said in a news release. The injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

The man, who was driving a silver Ford Fiesta, struck cyclists and pedestrians before hitting security barriers in the area, police said.

The car was not carrying any passengers, police said.

“At this stage, we are treating this as a terrorist incident and the Met's Counter Terrorism Command is now leading the investigation,” the news release said.

Authorities are requesting anyone with photos, videos or information about the incident to contact police.

Read more here.

Original report: London’s Counter-Terrorism Command is leading the probe into a Tuesday morning crash outside the U.K. Houses of Parliament, The Associated Press is reporting.

Police said a man driving a car slammed into security barriers in the area about 7:37 a.m., hurting pedestrians. None of the injured “are in life-threatening condition,” the AP reported. Police arrested the man.

Metropolitan police tweeted that authorities are “keeping an open mind” about the investigation.

In March 2017, four people were killed in a terror attack in the same area, the AP reported.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Hippo kills Taiwanese tourist in Kenya

A hippopotamus attacked and killed a tourist from Taiwan in Kenya over the weekend, the BBC reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Chang Ming Chuang, 66, was following the animal at a wildlife resort at Lake Naivahsa in northwest Kenya on Saturday and attempted to take a photograph when the hippopotamus bit him in the chest, the BBC reported.

David Kilo, the chairman of the Lake Naivahsa Boat Owners Association, told The Star newspaper of Kenya that rising waters have contributed to recent hippo attacks because it reduces the amount of pasture available to graze.

"The hippo that attacked the (tourist) was looking for pasture near the hotel. This is not the first time,” Kilo told The Star.

A second tourist, Wu Peng Te, 62, also from Taiwan, was injured in the incident, CNN reported.

According to National Geographic, hippos kill about 500 people in Africa each year.

Perseid meteor shower 2018: 13 stunning photos of nature's light show

The Perseid meteor shower, which occurs every August due to debris left behind from Comet Swift-Tuttle, peaked this weekend, offering stunning light displays in the night sky.

>> On AJC.com: Perseid meteor shower 2018: How and when to watch the sky’s best show of the year

According to Space.com, the shower peaked overnight Aug. 11-12 and again Aug. 12-13.

>> Read more trending news 

Social media lit up with images of the celestial phenomenon. Here are some of our favorites:

1. Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan 2. Firth of Lorn, Scotland 3. Loch Etive, Scotland 4. Lac d'Ilay, France 5. Jura Mountains, France 6. Oxford Island, Northern Ireland 7. Independence Pass, Colorado 8. Virginia 9. Eccles Pass, Colorado 10. Groesbeck, Texas 11. Sunset Crater, Arizona 12. Addingham, England 13. Stonehenge, England

– Fiza Pirani of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.

Rare 1955 Mickey Mantle baseball card found in pack opening at national convention

Fortune was in the cards for a bookbinder from Maryland on Saturday night. 

Chris Rothe paid $500 to take a random spot in a drawing for an unopened, 20-card cello pack of 1955 Bowman baseball cards at the National Sports Collectors on Friday. 

>> Read more trending news

Rothe was assigned the No. 19 slot and won a near-pristine Mickey Mantle card, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

Pack owner Leighton Sheldon, who bought the rare pack at last year’s convention from a longtime dealer, decided to sell spots for his new venture, VintageBreaks.com, charging $500 per slot. While the price was steep, the entire cello pack was valued at $10,000 and every slot was taken, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

On center stage at the convention, Sheldon yelled when he saw the Mantle, which is card No. 202 in the 1955 Bowman set.

“My eyes bulged out of my head,” Sheldon told ESPN.

The card was graded a 9 out of a possible 10 on Saturday by Professional Sports Authenticator, a card and memorabilia grading service.

It is only the eighth 1955 Bowman card of Mantle ever graded 9 by PSA, and the first in more than 20 years. Only three have ever been rated a 10 by the grading service, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

Rothe, who was working as a third-generation bookbinder in Maryland, decided to check the video of the pack opening when he discovered he had won the Mantle card.

"My friend told me my face went pale white when I saw it," Rothe told ESPN. "I was weak in the knees."

Sheldon said he already heard from a collector who offered $50,000 for Rothe’s card, ESPN reported.

Rothe told ESPN he was going the sell the card, but did not say whether he had accepted the $50,000 offer, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

"I have the card in a (PSA graded) 3," Rothe told ESPN. "That's good enough. I'll use the money to get a (Roberto) Clemente rookie and maybe get a lower-graded Mantle rookie."

Bowman, a card company based out of Philadelphia, was the main player in the baseball card industry until it was bought out by Topps in 1956. The 1955 set was the company’s final baseball card set until it was revived by Topps in 1989.

Actor Steven Seagal named by Russia as special envoy to U.S. 

Actor Steven Seagal has a new role, but this one isn't in a movie.

According to The Associated Press, the action star is taking on the real-life job of Russia’s special envoy for humanitarian ties with the U.S.

>> Read more trending news 

Russia's Foreign Ministry announced Saturday that it had named Seagal to the position, writing on Facebook that the actor would "facilitate relations between Russia and the United States in the humanitarian field, including cooperation in culture, arts, public and youth exchanges," the AP reported.

>> See the Facebook post here

Seagal, a frequent ally and defender of Russian President Vladimir Putin, became a Russian citizen two years ago and recently was banned from entering Ukraine because of national security concerns, the AP reported

Read more here. 

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Man with Down syndrome carrying toy gun shot dead by Swedish police

A 20-year-old man with Down syndrome was shot to death by police Thursday in Sweden, who believed the toy gun he was carrying was a real firearm, the Independent reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Stockholm police opened fire on Eric Torell, who had disappeared from his home Wednesday night and took a plastic replica gun from a pile of toys.

“I woke up because Eric was gone,” Richard Torell told Expressen. “I went out and looked for him. I saw police cars on the street.

“Three police officers shot him in his stomach.”

Police were called to the Vasastan section of Stockholm when the younger Torell was showing the small toy gun to residents, the Independent reported.

According to the Swedish Police Authority, officers believed the scene was “threatening,” The Washington Post reported.

Torell was shot three times in the stomach and taken to a hospital, where he died.

Torell’s mother, Katarina Söderberg, described her son as “wonderful” and “the world’s most loving person,” the Independent reported.

“We are completely destroyed, we are in shock. I cannot believe it's true,” Söderberg told Stockholm-based newspaper Aftonbladet.

“Of course, it was very unfortunate that he had (the gun) for some reason. 

“But why do you have to kill him, why not shoot him in the foot? And from three policemen? You cannot be shot by a piece of plastic.”

On Friday, Martin Tiden, the Swedish prosecutor investigating the case, said in a statement that foul play was not suspected, the Post reported.

“The man held a weapon-like object, and officers opened fire after judging the situation as threatening,” Tiden said.

Great Wall of China section crumbles after heavy rain

Repairs to the Great Wall of China may have done more harm than good after a section of the centuries-old Wonder of the Ancient World crumbled to the ground. 

The section in the Shanxi province collapsed after weeks of heavy rains saturated the region, The Daily Mail reported.

The area had been closed since July 22, but emergency repairs have started to fix the area, Express reported.

Some believe the measures used to save the Great Wall are actually leading to its destruction and are weakening the foundation of the miles-long wall.

>> Read more trending news 

The area that collapsed was repaired eight years ago, Global Times reported.

The Great Wall of China stretches 21,200 kilometers, or 13,173 miles, over 15 provincial areas and is under the control of more than 600 agencies, Xinhua News Agency reported.

It was built between the third century B.C and the Ming Dynasty that ran from 1384-1644 A.D., Xinhua News Agency reported

Polar bear shot to death after attacking cruise ship guard in Norway

A cruise ship guard shot and killed a polar bear after another guard was attacked while helping tourists during an island expedition north of the Arctic Circle in Norway, the BBC reported.

>> Read more trending news 

The guard suffered non-life-threatening head injuries and was in stable condition, the BBC reported.

Rescue helicopters were sent to the northernmost island of Norway’s Svalbard archipelago to airlift the guard to a hospital in the town of Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen Island, Newsweek reported.

The guard was assigned to protect tourists who had disembarked from the German cruise ship MS Bremen, the BBC reported.

Officials from the cruise company told The Associated Press that the second guard shot the bear in self-defense.

The Joint Rescue Coordination for Northern Norway tweeted this weekend to confirm that the worker had been injured by a polar bear at Sjuøyane, Newsweek reported.

“The incident occurred (when) tourists landed on one of the islands from a cruise vessel,” officials wrote. “The condition of the injured should be stable. The polar bear was shot and killed.”

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