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Jimmy Buffett to make Grand Ole Opry debut June 27

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June 10 (UPI) — Singer and musician Jimmy Buffett will make his Grand Ole Opry debut this month.

The Grand Ole Opry said Tuesday that Buffett, 73, will perform live June 27 during the 4,930th broadcast of the Saturday Night Grand Ole Opry Show.

Buffett will perform alongside Opry member Brad Paisley and longtime collaborator Mac McAnally. The audience-free show will air on Circle social channels and Circle All Access.

“Join us on June 27th as @jimmybuffett steps into the Circle for his Opry debut alongside Opry member @bradpaisley and @macmcanally,” the Opry said on Instagram.

Buffett released Life on the Flipside, his first studio album in seven years, in May.

The Grand Ole Opry is the longest-running radio show in history. The Opry house in Nashville, Tenn., has been hosting performers with minimal technical and operations staff and no audience during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“It’s been an incredible challenge,” Opry VP Dan Rogers told Forbes in April. “Our talent director didn’t realize I’d be quoting her, but she defined it perfectly when she said these are the simplest shows we’ve ever done and yet, simultaneously the most complicated show’s we’ve ever done.”

“The most artists and musicians we’ve had on stage at any one time has been six, with the smallest number at two,” he said. “But it’s still, as you can imagine, incredibly complex to make sure everyone arrives safely, is safe throughout the entire evening, and makes their way back home safely.”



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Amal Clooney resigns as British media envoy over plan to break EU treaty

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Sept. 18 (UPI) — Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney on Friday resigned her role as Britain’s envoy on media freedom in response to the country’s plan to break part of its Brexit agreement with the European Union.

Clooney said the bill would, “by the government’s own admission, ‘break international law’ if enacted.”

“Although the government has suggested that the violation of international law would be ‘specific and limited’, it is lamentable for the U.K. to be speaking of its intention to violate an international treaty signed by the prime minister less than a year ago,” she wrote in a letter to British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is supporting an internal market bill that, if passed by Parliament, would allow the government to override aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement concerning how goods move between the four nations of the United Kingdom. Britain signed the agreement with the European Union in January and passing the internal market bill would break the treaty.

The international law and human rights attorney, who is married to Oscar-winning actor George Clooney, said she was disappointed to leave the position because she’s “proud of the U.K.’s reputation as a champion of the international legal order.”

“However, very sadly, it has now become untenable for me, as special envoy, to urge other states to respect and enforce international obligations while the U.K. declares that it does not intend to do so itself,” she wrote.

Clooney isn’t the only official to protest the legislation. Leaders of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales said they’re concerned the bill would allow the government to spend in their countries without their own government’s involvement.

The law officer for Scotland, Richard Keen, resigned earlier this week over the legislation, saying he “found it increasingly difficult to reconcile” his role as a lawyer with the bill’s plan to “break international law.”

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Sony announces PlayStation 5 price, previews ‘Final Fantasy XVI’

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Sept. 16 (UPI) — Sony announced the price for its Playstation 5 and Playstation 5 digital models Wednesday during a live streamed showcase.

The regular PS5 will retail for $499.99 while the digital only version is $399, both available Nov. 12.

The live streaming presentation also included a look at several games coming to PS5.

Sony showed off cinema scenes and gameplay of Final Fantasy XVI, which has no release date.

A presentation on Spider-Man: Miles Morales included a cinema scene at a Harlem street fair and gameplay of Miles fighting off Tinkerer’s minions and rescuing passengers from a bus and collapsing bridge. The game is slated to release holiday 2020.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War included gameplay footage from the first campaign set during the Iran hostage crisis. It also promised multiplayer, an alpha of which players can test Friday through Sunday. The full game is coming holiday 2020.

Games previewed for 2021 release included Hogwarts Legacy from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, set in the 1800s; Resident Evil: Village; a Q2 PS5 exclusive Death Loop; and a teaser for God of War: Ragnarok.

Other game previewed included Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach and Oddworld: Soulstorm. Demon’s Souls, Devil May Cry 5 and Fortnite will be available at launch.

The Playstation Plus Collection will offer new Playstation Plus benefits for the PS5. Classic PS4 games such as God of War: Ragnarok, Monster Hunter, Fallout 4, Uncharted 4, Ratchet & Clank, Battlefield 1, Batman: Arkham Knight, The Last Guardian, The Last of Us Remastered, Persona 5, Resident Evil: Biohazard and more will be available digitally at launch.

Sony rival Microsoft has already announced that Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X will be released Nov. 10 for $299 and $499, respectively.

The PlayStation 5 will have an 825 GB solid state drive which will make load times in games faster.

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Maren Morris, Luke Combs win big at 55th Academy of Country Music Awards

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Sept. 16 (UPI) — Maren Morris and Luke Combs took home big wins at the 55th annual Academy of Country Music Awards Wednesday night following a sixth-month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Morris was among three artists nominated for five total awards and brought home Female Artist of the Year and Music Event of the Year for her collaboration with Miranda Lambert, Ashley McBryde, Tenille Townes, Caylee Hammack and Elle King on “Fooled Around and Fell in Love.”

Combs was also nominated for multiple awards and claimed Male Artist of the Year and Album of the Year for What You See Is What You Get.

Other notable winners included Blake Shelton‘s “God’s Country” claiming Single of The Year, Old Dominion winning Group of the Year, Dan + Shay earning Duo of the Year and Tenille Towns and Riley Green being named New Female and Male Artist of the Year, respectively.

Keith Urban hosted the awards show, originally set to be held in Las Vegas in April. It featured two dozen performances across three locations in Nashville: the Grand Ole Opry House, the Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Cafe.

Speaking to an empty auditorium and fans watching from home, Urban addressed the delay at the top of the show, in addition to acknowledging wildfires raging in the Western United States and storms in the Gulf Coast.

“This has been an unpredictable and unsettling year for everyone,” he said. “Even as of right now, our friends out West are battling horrific wildfires and our folks on the Gulf Coast are threatened by hurricanes and we want to send our love, thoughts and our prayers out to every one of you affected right now.”

Urban also declared that “we are in the midst of trying to fight two pandemics: COVID-19 and social injustice.”

“Far too many lives have been lost to both, but the examples set by our essential workers and first responders, along with the voices crying out for equality in all walks of life have echoed around the world and right here, in our country community,” Urban said.

The show began with a medley of performances by Combs, Rhett, Luke Bryan, Eric Church and Carrie Underwood.

Urban also debuted a new single with P!nk, while Shelton and Gwen Stefani performed a duet, and Taylor Swift delivered her first performance at the awards show in seven years.

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