95926963131_10154393282498132Despite rumours of lack of respect in the workplace and clandestine employment deals being made, when Michael Strahan and Kelly Ripa walked back into the show hand-in-hand as co-hosts on Live with Kelly and Michael on Tuesday, there was no signs of the dark undertone that could have come with being blindsided a week earlier. Strahan’s announcement that he was leaving the show in order to co-anchor ABC’s Good Morning America had come as an unwelcome surprise and speculations flew when Ripa did not return to the set for a few days after the announcement. The network had used pre-taped session and the live show was filled in by Ana Gasteyer, Erin Andrews and Shay Mitchell.

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It was a positive lovefest though when Ripa told Strahan in front of her studio audience how proud she was of his accomplishments and what they’d accomplished together. She added that she had taken a couple of days to relax and celebrate her 20th wedding anniversary with her husband and she deserved that after working for 26 years with Disney ABC Television Group. Strahan responded in kind stating that he was glad to be back and to have her back and that to him, she was the queen of daytime television.

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the_daily_show_119137The host of this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner and comedian-in-chief Larry Wilmore promises he won’t hold back from roasting President Obama. Wilmore revealed in an interview with CBS that he does plan to aim a few jabs at the President even though he really does like him. The good-natured teasing stems from the fact that Wilson tackles racial unrest daily on his talk show, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore and intends to pursue the same vein everywhere, including in the White House, it seems, describing the issue as ‘the Unblackening of the White House’.

Wilmore was quoted from a previous interview as saying that he believed that he and his staff at the show were usually the ones to zero in on racial issues because they felt they were the ones who could handle the conversation in the most eloquent way. He said he remembered feeling that they had been granted the right to talk about it more than others because they had noticed all the racial discrimination and problems that the country was going through. In fact, after releasing the first few episodes, they felt like they had covered all aspects of the issue but sooner or later, something new would pop up and they would cover it. Wilson said though people asked him repeatedly why he had to talk about racism, his response had always been that it was one of the biggest issues of today, so why not.

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Last September, Abu Sayyaf militants threatened to behead two Canadians and a Norwegian whom they had kidnapped from a marina on southern Samal Island of Southern Phillipines if a large ransom was not granted. Last Monday, the decapitated head of John Ridsdel, one of the Canadians was found. Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada was outraged by the news and asked that they condemn the captors as a nation without any reservations. He further stated that this act of animalistic brutality would not go unpunished and that the Canadian government was working with the Philippines and other international partner to see that justice is metted out.

The Abu Sayyaf, a group of Islam extremists in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation and a sub-cult of the infamous Al Qaeda group, emerged in the early 1990’s and began intricate large-scale abductions very early in its career. According to intelligence reports, about 400 militants from the Abu Sayyaf group were involved in the kidnappings. The abductions highlight the security problems rampant in the southern parts of the Philippines, a region blessed with bountiful resources and cursed with lawlessness, poverty and decades-long grunges from the Muslim community and communist insurgencies.

In light of these occurrences, both the United States and the Philippines have listed the Abu Sayyaf group as a terrorist organization. Back in September, the Abu Sayyaf posted militant videos online for ransom demands. John Ridsdel, a fellow Canadian Robert Hall, Filipino Marites Flor, a woman who was kidnapped for being in the wrong place at the wrong time were shown sitting in a clearing, and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad which military experts think may have been Jolo in the Sulu province. The video depicted several heavily armed militants standing behind them with twin black flags hanging against a backdrop of foliage. In some of the released videos, a militant was seen positioning a long knife on Ridsdel’s neck. According to the Chief Supt. Junpikar Sitin of Jolo police, two men fled after placing a plastic bag with Ridsdel’s head on the street near Jolo town. Prime Minister Trudeau expressed his deepest sympathy to the deceased’s family and friends and urged the nation to mourn and support them in their time of need.