2017 Billboard Music Awards: 5 Things to Know Before the Big Showdown

Sin City’s T-Mobile Arena is home to one of music’s biggest evenings, as your favorite recording artists across all genres come together to—you guessed it—toast their chart-topping achievements!

With nearly 60 awards to present and more than a dozen live performances, viewers at home will understand when we say: Tonight, expect the unexpected! But before the evening officially commences, E! News is breaking down all the show-stopping red carpet looks with a star-studded presentation of Live From the Red Carpet .

Without further ado, check out five things to know about the 2017 BBMA’s below:

1. Pop Divas Unite:

Talk about iconic! Both Cher and Céline Dion will wow the Billboard Music Awards with performances that will surely bring the house down. Two decades after Celine’s “My Heart Will Go On” cemented the Titanic soundtrack’s place in history, she’ll sing the powerful ballad once again to mark the film’s milestone anniversary. Likewise, Cher will perform her hit song “Believe” before receiving this year’s Icon Award, an occasion that marks the 71-year-old’s first award show performance in 15 years.

2. Co-Hostsess With the Mostess :

Ludacris returns to the BBMA’s for a fourth consecutive year, but this time around Vanessa Hudgens joins the festivities as the rapper’s co-host in crime. E! News spoke to both Luda and Vanessa ahead of the show, and let’s be honest, this dynamic duo definitely has some tricks up their sleeves.

“It’s always good to have different dynamics just to keep the show exciting and keep people on their toes by having different women [hosts] as well, because you have that ying and that yang,” Ludacris dished. “Every time it’s going to be different so it’s not like you’re doing the same thing every time.”

3. Nicki’s Time to Shine :

Nicki Minaj will kick the 2017 Billboard Music Awards off with a major bang, as fans can expect the hip-hop MC to open the show with a nine-minute medley of her greatest bops. Jason Derulo , David Guetta and Lil Wayne will join Nicki onstage, and if her previous performances are any indication, she’s pulling out all the stops for her fans.

4. Party in the U.S.A. :

Fresh off her release of “Malibu,” Miley Cyrus continues her buzzed-about return to the music world with her first televised performance of the summertime single. We’ve already seen a much more subdued version of the typically wild pop star, and her Billboard Music Awards appearance should follow suit.

Other previously announced performers include Camila Cabello , The Chainsmokers , Drake, Florida Georgia Line , Halsey , Sam Hunt , Imagine Dragons ,

John Legend , Lorde , Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran.

5. Who Will Win? :

Unforgettable performances and hilarious sketches aside, this night undoubtedly belongs to the winners. The Chainsmokers and Drake lead the

nomination pack with 22 categories each (breaking a record for most yearly nominations ever), followed by Twenty One Pillots with 17 nods and Rihanna with four.

So who has the honors of presenting such major career accolades? Well, celebs slated to pass out awards include

Prince Michael Jackson , Noah Cyrus , Ansel Elgort , Josh Duhamel and so many more.

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Russians Bragged They Could Influence Trump Using Flynn Relationship

Russian officials bragged during the 2016 presidential campaign that they could use a cultivated relationship with Michael Flynn, then one of Donald Trump’s top advisers, to influence Trump, CNN reported on Saturday.

Russian officials claimed they had cultivated a strong relationship with Flynn and thought they could use it to influence the GOP candidate and his team, according to CNN’s report, which cited unnamed current and former government officials.One unnamed former official in President Barack Obama’s administration told CNN that “the way the Russians were talking about” Flynn was a “five-alarm fire from early on.”

Another former administration official told CNN that Flynn was regarded as a “potential national security problem,” though officials noted that Russian officials may have overstated their influence over Trump’s team.Flynn’s lawyer declined to comment to CNN.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Trumpaskedformer FBI Director James Comey to shut down his bureau’s investigation into Flynn, a request that Comey documented in a memo.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump told Comey, according to the report. 
“He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

On Thursday, tofurthercomplicate matters, Yahoo Newsreportedthat Flynn announced ata dinner in late April — months after he left the White House — that he “just got a message from the President to stay strong.”

Trump’s lawyershave repeatedly warned himnot to contact Flynn, and have reportedlyexpressed fearsthat any contact with the former national security adviser could look like witness tampering or coordination.Trump on Thursday categoricallydeniedpressuring former FBI director James Comey to end the FBI’s investigation into Flynn.“No. No. Next question,” he told a reporter.

The White House also issued a statement Thursday pushing back on the New York Times’ report,nearly a dayafter it was published.

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China-Hong Kong bridge to unity, or tentacle of Beijing control? (REUTERS)

As a 30-km (19-mile) bridge between Hong Kong and China across the Pearl River estuary nears completion, Chinese officials are hoping it will bring more than economic integration at a time of growing tension between the two sides.

The bridge that snakes out over the blue estuary with soaring pylons, viaducts and towers using more steel than 60 Eiffel Towers, was first proposed in the late 1980s.

But it was opposed at the time by Hong Kong’s British colonial government, which was wary of development that might draw the city closer to Communist China.

Since Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997, however, there has been a flurry of projects integrating the port city with the Pearl River Delta’s manufacturing and urban sprawl, and stoking some unease in Hong Kong.

Wei Dongqing, a Chinese Party official and the executive director of the Hong Kong Zhuhai Macau bridge Authority, one of the leaders of the project, sees the bridge, linking the former European colonies of Hong Kong and Macau with Zhuhai city, as promoting unity, both physically and mentally.

“It’s psychological. It joins three places,” Wei told Reuters on a media-trip bus speeding along the half-finished, six-lane bridge, with the facades of Macau’s casinos glimmering in the distance.

“We have confidence for the future … a united market, a united people … that’s the dream.”

After nearly eight years of construction, the cost of the bridge and tunnel project has ballooned to some $19 billion, at the last estimate.

Critics see it as a white elephant, that will struggle to become viable and be unlikely to draw the 40,000 or so vehicles a day as forecast.

While most construction is expected to be finished by year-end to allow the first vehicles to cross, Wei said he “wasn’t sure” when full operations – including toll booths, customs and immigration facilities – would be ready.

“We are facing new challenges after the bridge is completed … how to operate it, make it efficient, and really benefit the whole area,” he said.
The Hong Kong Transport Bureau, which oversees the Hong Kong end of the project, gave no specific response to questions on whether more delays and cost-overruns were expected, but said it was confident construction could be completed by the end of the year.

Final arrangements were being decided by the three sides, it said in an email.

‘BLUR THE BORDER’

Mainland and Hong Kong officials have long stressed the bridge’s economic importance at a time when tension in Hong Kong has escalated, with protests in 2014 over Beijing’s refusal to allow full democracy, and suspicion of creeping mainland interference despite a guarantee of autonomy.

Some in Hong Kong, apart from questioning the huge sums that could have gone into health, housing and education, are worried about what they see as an erosion of Hong Kong’s independent identity in China’s increasingly extensive embrace.

“You see a kind of network trying to blur the border between Hong Kong and China,” said pro-democracy lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki.
“In the coming 10 to 15 years, when all these infrastructure projects are completed, you will see Hong Kong is only part of China because you cannot see a clear border.”

Another project – a multi-billion dollar high-speed rail link – sparked an outcry over plans to allow Chinese immigration facilities to operate on Hong Kong soil.

Critics say that undermines Hong Kong’s autonomy under a “one country, two systems” formula, under which the city returned to Chinese rule.

“I don’t think many Hong Kong people mind to be integrated … but what we want is to do it democratically,” said Eddie Chu, who led protests against the rail link and is now an elected lawmaker.

“Behind all the protests in the last 10 to 15 years, the core idea is democracy and it’s an extension of the democratic movement, whether we have popular control over the direction of economic development and town planning.”

But project leader Wei, dressed in gray overalls and a white hard-hat, celebrates the integration that the critics decry.

“It’s actually one bridge, three systems. It’s about the law, policy, transportation policy, customs policy,” said Wei.

“The bridge is becoming a new icon.”

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Agent says Mike Ribeiro suffered alcohol relapse, NHL future undetermined

Mike Ribeiro’s agent Bob Perno told La Presse’s Richard Labbé ( via Puck Daddy) that the veteran forward suffered an alcohol relapse during the 2016-17 season, sometime before he was waived by the Nashville Predators in February.

Ribeiro, 37, had made a trade request around that time.

Perno’s interview with La Presse reveals that Ribeiro is uncertain about his future with hockey. There’s an implication that, if he were to play the sport next season, it would probably not be in the NHL (and maybe not even in North America).

For what it’s worth, Ribeiro did report to the Milwaukee Admirals (the Predators’ AHL affiliate) amid these issues. He played 28 games for the team, scoring 26 points.

Nashville made the controversial decision to hand Ribeiro a two-year, $7 million contract on July 1, 2015 , even as he was facing a civil suit for sexual assault; that lawsuit was settled about two weeks later.

That contract is set to expire this summer, and again, it seems plausible that Ribeiro’s NHL days are over. His agent’s comments indicate that he must deal with his alcohol issues before determining his hockey future.

Ribeiro has three children. Neither Ribeiro nor the Predators have made a statement regarding this report.

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Vice President Osinbajo In The Dark, As Buhari Can No Longer Be Reached On Phone

President Muhamamdu Buhari’s emergency medical vacation to the United Kingdom, UK, on penultimate Sunday, has been turned into a suspense-packed story, Post-Nigeria gathered.

The suspense got to a feverish pitch on Monday night, as there was not yet an official report, or communication on how far Buhari is recuperating, since he left the shores of Nigeria, through a hurriedly arranged night flight to London, a source authoritatively told Post-Nigeria.

This heightened calls by Nigerians on the Presidency, to declare the health status of Buhari, in order to dowse the tension created by his absence, has been dismissed by the All Progressives Congress, APC, by the wave of the hand.

Recall, that penultimate Sunday, Buhari had jetted out of the country behind cameras, to attend to his health, that has made him to repeatedly fail to attend Jumat prayers in the Aso Rock Mosque, and several Federal Executive Council, FEC, meetings.

Sources exclusively revealed to Post-Nigeria, that Buhari’s Presidential Spokesmen, Femi Adesina, Garba Shehu, and the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, have not been able to get in contact with Mr. President through the phone, since he left Nigera to the UK.

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Heavy gunfire broke out in Ivory Coast’s two major cities

Heavy gunfire again erupted on Monday in Ivory Coast’s two largest cities, Abidjan and Bouake, witnesses said, as the military pressed an operation aimed at ending a four-day nationwide army mutiny over bonus payments.

Loyalist troops began advancing towards Bouake, the epicenter of the revolt, on Sunday and sporadic gunfire was

heard overnight there as well as at military camps in Abidjan. Shooting in both cities intensified before dawn.

Heavy shooting was also heard in Daloa, a hub for the western cocoa growing regions, on Monday.

“I’ve been hearing the sound of Kalashnikovs and a heavier weapon. That began at around 5 a.m. (0500 GMT)

“It’s intense,” said one Abidjan resident, who lives near the U.S. Embassy and the presidential residence.

Another Abidjan resident said mutinying soldiers came out of the West African nation’s largest military camp and

erected barricades, blocking traffic along one of the main thoroughfares in the east of the city.

“There was heavy shooting at the northern entrance to the city and in the city center.

“It’s calmed a bit but we’re still hearing gunfire,” said one Bouake resident.

A second resident confirmed the shooting.

NAN reports that mutinous soldiers shot three people on Saturday and cut off access to the second largest city, Bouake, as a revolt escalated over demands for bonus payments.

The revolt began in Bouake early on Friday before spreading quickly, following a similar pattern to a mutiny by

the same group in January that paralysed parts of Ivory Coast and marred its image as a post-war success story.
Mutineers seized control of the national military headquarters and defence ministry in the centre of the

commercial capital Abidjan on Friday.

They stepped up the pressure on Saturday, blocking roads out of Bouake, the epicentre of January’s uprising, and

protesting around the country, including the northern city of Korhogo, where two men on a motorcycle were shot

in the legs as they tried to get through a roadblock manned by the mutineers.

“They shot at them. They were wounded and transported to the hospital,” said witness Amadou Yeo.

In Bouake, soldiers fired on a group of demobilised former rebels seriously wounding one of them, according to

their spokesman and a local lawmaker.

Sgt. Seydou Kone, a spokesman for the mutineers, said the ex-fighters, who went through a disarmament

programme following the country’s 2011 civil war, were planning their own protest, as they did early this week,

and his men had opened fire to stop them.

“We do not want to negotiate with anyone,” said Kone by phone from Bouake in the centre of the country. “We’re

also ready to fight if we are attacked.

“We have nothing to lose.”

NAN reports that in a statement on state television late on Friday, Gen. Sekou Toure, the army’s chief of staff, threatened the soldiers with severe sanctions if they did not end the revolt.

Ivory Coast’s defence minister and government spokesman could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

The soldiers were promised bonus payments by the government after the January mutiny but it has struggled to disburse the money following a budget crunch caused by the collapse in the price of cocoa, Ivory Coast’s main export.

Ivory Coast has emerged as one of the world’s fastest growing economies following a decade-long political crisis ended by a 2011 civil war.

Deep divisions persist, particularly in a military assembled from former rebel and loyalist combatants.

The government has already paid 8,400 soldiers, most of them former rebels who helped bring President Alassane Ouattara to power, bonuses of 5 million CFA francs (8,400 dollars) each as part of a deal to end the January revolt.

On Thursday, following a meeting with authorities in Abidjan, a spokesman for the group said they would forego demands for remaining bonuses of seven million francs.

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Ooni of Ife speaks after fire eviscerated Oba of Lagos’ palace

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi has once again denied that he has any problem with the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu.

Ogunwusi spoke yesterday in Port Harcourt, on a day fire incident broke out in Oba Akiolu’s palace.

The Ife monarch made it clear that they have had a good relationship for years and insisted the media were blowing it out of proportion.

“We did not have a problem. It is being overblown by the media. Like I said, I respect him. I had a relationship with him when I was a prince and when I was an entrepreneur in Lagos. I will continue to respect him.

“It is very unlikely that you will see a successful Nigerian that has not passed through Lagos. So, give honour to whom honour is due,” he said.

The Ooni also congratulated the government and the people of Rivers State, for the peaceful relationship with the Yoruba community in the state.

He said: “It is to the glory of God that we landed in Port Harcourt to celebrate with the people the 50th anniversary of the state and to celebrate one Nigeria and one country. Our major objective is to continue to foster peace.

“I am going to meet with the amiable governor; the number one citizen of the state and the good people of Port Harcourt for us to know that we are all one. I also thank God Almighty for making the state very active and still waxing strong.

“The state is 50 years and by the special grace of God, there will be many more years of prosperity. Another beautiful thing that actually made me very happy is that I saw a lot of Yoruba that came to welcome me.

“You can see that we are really intertwined in Nigeria. We are living together in peace and harmony. It is the same back in the entire Yoruba Kingdom. We have a lot of people from this side of the world living there. So, we should all continue to live in peace and harmony.”

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