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Last Update on November 25, 2014 08:06 GMT

STEVIE WONDER GETS PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says the first album he ever bought with his own money was Stevie Wonder's "Talking Book." Obama bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom upon Wonder yesterday. It's the highest civilian award in the country. Obama says Wonder has "channeled his inner visions into messages of hope, healing and becoming one of the most influential musicians in American history." Obama also gave medals to 17 others, including Meryl Streep and Tom Brokaw.

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<<CUT ..011 (11/25/14)>> 00:15 "under the sun"

President Barack Obama

President Obama says actress Meryl Streep is so talented she really "has no peers" -- and has "done it all" for her craft.

<<CUT ..012 (11/25/14)>> 00:09 "do about it"

President Barack Obama

President Obama says he's got a big crush on Meryl Streep.

<<CUT ..013 (11/25/14)>> 00:15 "they'd get scratched (laughter fades)"

President Barack Obama

President Obama says Stevie Wonder's "Talking Book" album was the first record he ever bought.

<<CUT ..014 (11/25/14)>> 00:16 "in every note"

President Barack Obama

President Obama says Stevie Wonder's music has moved America to "a higher ground."

ARETHA FRANKLIN DISSES NEW BOOK

NEW YORK (AP) -- Aretha Franklin says a new unauthorized biography about her is nothing but a "trashy book." Franklin says "Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin" by David Ritz is "full of lies and more lies." Franklin and Ritz had worked together on her 1999 biography, "Aretha: From These Roots," and he wrote the album notes for her 1992 boxed set, "Queen of Soul: The Atlantic Recordings." Ritz says he called the book "Respect" because he thinks it's a respectful book. He says he tried to be understanding and compassionate. Franklin says Ritz is vindictive because she edited out some "crazy statements" Ritz wanted to put in the 1999 book.

LEON RUSSELL'S BUS ROBBED

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Leon Russell's tour bus was the target of theft over the weekend. Guitarist Beau Charron of Russell's band says about $4,000 worth of instruments were taken, including a mandolin and three electric guitars. He says the theft occurred early Sunday in San Antonio while the band slept on the bus. He says a security camera shows a man with graying hair and wearing a Spurs jersey picking a lock to the cargo doors. Russell and his band still played Sunday night with borrowed instruments. Police are investigating but no arrests have been made.

STING WILL APPEAR IN "THE LAST SHIP"

NEW YORK (AP) -- Sting is hoping to get more people to show up to his Broadway musical by appearing in it himself. Sting will take over the role of the foreman in "The Last Ship" beginning December 9. He asked the actor who currently has the role, Jimmy Nail, if it would be OK and Nail agreed. He's now Sting's understudy. The musical is based loosely on Sting's life. It's gotten mixed reviews and audiences are not snapping up tickets, but Sting says he never anticipated it would be easy. He says he expected a battle and he wants to succeed against the odds.

BARBRA STREISAND LIVES A CLEAN LIFE

NEW YORK (AP) -- Barbra Streisand believes her voice is still good after so many years because she's avoided a lot of vices. Streisand says she's never liked the taste of liquor. She will occasionally have a beer or half a shot of vodka and tonic, but she doesn't like wine. Streisand says alcohol tastes like medicine to her. She also was a smoker -- when she was 10. She quit when she was 12.

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<<CUT ..015 (11/25/14)>> 00:17 "drink wine even"

Barbra Streisand, entertainer

Barbra Streisand says one way she maintains her voice is by avoiding a common vice. ((note length of cut))

<<CUT ..016 (11/25/14)>> 00:18 "I was 12"

Barbra Streisand, entertainer

Barbra Streisand says there's another common vice she's avoided. ((note length of cut))

<<CUT ..017 (11/25/14)>> 00:17 "dinner at 10:30"

Barbra Streisand entertainer

Barbra Streisand says she wonders if her food habits affect her voice. ((note length of cut))

SYSTEM OF A DOWN WILL PLAY ARMENIA

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- System Of A Down are going to play their ancestors' homeland for the first time. They will play in Yerevan, Armenia, on April 23. It will be part of their global "Wake Up The Souls" tour to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Empire. The band has long made it a point to bring attention to the 1915 event. System Of A Down say they are not directing their campaign at the people of Turkey but at the atrocities.

FOO FIGHTERS OFFER HOLIDAY SWEATERS

UNDATED (AP) -- You might have people doing a double take if you show up to a holiday party in a Foo Fighters sweater. The band is offering a holiday sweater in red or green with what looks like a cross-stitch design of an angry gingerbread man surrounded by reindeer skulls and the band's name across the top. It sells for $29.99 at the Foo Fighters' online store.

JC CHASEZ TAKES ON MOVIE ROLE

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- JC Chasez (shah-ZAY') of 'N Sync has been cast in a movie about a musical. Chasez confirms he's taken a role in the film "One Shot." Deadline.com reports Chasez will play the star of the musical who is the nemesis of the stage manager, played by Topher Grace. Filming begins next month in Mexico.

 
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