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Photo by 2430/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- A day after Salma Hayek wrote a New York Times op-ed piece in which she claimed disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein made frequent sexual advances towards her during the making of the movie Frida, her friend Antonio Banderas, who co-starred in the movie, wants the world to know he has Hayek's back.

"I'm deeply saddened by the terrible events that my dear friend Salma Hayek has made public about Harvey #Weinstein," Banderas tweeted. "Her integrity and honesty as a woman and as an actress make me firmly trust her words."

In her op-ed piece, Hayek described her experience making Frida, her 2002 film about famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, which she produced and starred in for Weinstein's former company, Miramax. She claimed that Weinstein continually harassed and propositioned her, and that he even threatened her life when she rejected him. 

The actress also claimed she suffered a nervous breakdown while shooting a nude sex scene that Weinstein demanded be included in the movie.  Despite all that, Frida, which had been Hayek's passion project, went on to earn six Academy Award nominations and win two Oscars. However, Hayek claimed that Weinstein never offered her another starring role for the remainder of her contract with Miramax.

Weinstein has issued a statement to ABC News via a spokesperson, in which Hayek's claims are specifically addressed, and then denied, one by one. The statement reads, in part, "All of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma are not accurate and others who witnessed the events have a different account of what transpired."

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ABC/Ida Mae Astute(LOS ANGELES) -- While he's been coy about it in the past -- but never denied it outright -- Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has now confirmed that he has his sights on the White House. 

The Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle star tells Variety he'd "100% consider" a run for president.  However, due to his busy career as one of the highest-paid actors in the world, Johnson says a career change would be a bit further down the road. 

"Realistically, as we go into 2018, when you look at my slate as we’re developing and shooting into 2019 and 2020, the slate goes deep into 2021, so it feels like the realistic consideration would be 2024," he tells the trade publication.

A 2016 column in the Washington Post first floated the idea of a presidential run for The Rock, noting,  "...And he could actually win." 

"It was never something that I trumpeted and beat my chest and ever said publicly, 'This is what I’m going to do,' but as that story picked up, Americans picked it up and there was this sentiment of, 'We're not joking, and we would really love the idea if you would run,'" Johnson tells Variety

"That’s where I’m at right now -- I'm well aware politics is not the business I’m in, so the best thing I can do is continuing to listen and learn as much as I can."

Johnson, who claims to be a registered independent, tells Variety his loyalty isn't to a particular party. Rather, as the man who once wielded "The People's Elbow" as a pro wrestler explains, he's loyal to his fellow Americans.

"I care deeply about our country, and I care deeply about our people – especially now," The Rock says. "Decency matters and being a decent human being matters, and character matters, and leadership matters."

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Disney(LOS ANGELES) -- Oprah Winfrey will be honored with the 2018 Cecil B. de Millie Award when the Golden Globes are handed out next month.

The annual award is given by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Board of Directors to an individual who has had, "an incredible impact on the world of entertainment." Other honorees have included Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep and Denzel Washington.

"For generations, Oprah has celebrated strong female characters on and off screen, and has been a role model for women and young girls for decades. Holding titles such as chairman, CEO and founder, Oprah is one of the most influential women of our time, and this honor is well deserved especially in this 75th anniversary year of the Golden Globe Awards,” Meher Tatna, president of the HFPA said in a statement.

The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards air Sunday, January 7, beginning at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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Disney(NEW YORK) -- Actress Laura Dern plays Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, opening Friday. It's a character so mysterious that the actor didn't realize she was auditioning for the role. 

Director Rian Johnson was playing his cards very close to the vest when he approached her, Dern told ABC Radio. "He really wanted a mystery around her. You're not sure which side she's on, or what her mission might be -- and that journey was really fun as an actor."

She added with a laugh, "it was almost like he talked to me about a character which I loved, then sort of mentioned that it was Star Wars. Which I liked, that Star Wars came later. And I was like, 'Wait a minute: you're asking me about Star Wars? YES!'"

Dern told Good Morning America that one character left her starstruck. "I saw C-3PO and I started crying. I kind of blew my first take because I was so emotional."

The Last Jedi is the late Carrie Fisher's last film. Regarding Fisher's Princess Leia character, Dern said, "She didn't create some false female superhero. She created a real woman in that iconic character for girls and women to aspire to. And being around Carrie, it was so reflective of that. She...led with her full self, and requires that of others, and that was a great inspiration."

Incidentally, Dern told GMA she, "had the privilege of knowing and meeting" a real-life princess, the late Diana, Princess of Wales, something she told Diana's sons, princes William and Harry about at The Last Jedi's recent London premiere. "She was so brilliant about film and music -- a true pioneer goddess," Dern said.

Star Wars is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

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ABC/Lou Rocco(NEW YORK) -- Former reality-TV star-turned White House staffer Omarosa Manigault-Newman tried to set the record straight Thursday on her reported dramatic exit from the White House Tuesday, and alluded to situations "that have made me uncomfortable.”

Concerning her decision, Omarosa told ABC's Good Morning America, “[Chief of Staff] John Kelly and I sat down in the situation room, which is a very secure, very quiet room in the White House, and we had a very candid conversation. And I wanted to make the next year mark -- that was one of the goals I set out to -- and then get back to my life."  Manigault will stay on until January 20.

As far as her time in the White House, Omarosa said there "were a lot of things that I observed during the last year that I was very unhappy with. ...as the only African American woman in this White House, as a senior staff and assistant to the president, I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people and when I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear."

Sources tell ABC News that Omarosa's departure was a long time coming, and Kelly's decision to limit access to the president was a source of tension for her.  She said, however, Kelly brought, “much-needed order to the West Wing,” and denied that he restricted her access to Trump, though adds, "Certainly I had more access than most and people had problems with that. People had problems with my 14-year relationship with this president.”

White House sources have told ABC News Manigault-Newman was fired and escorted off the White House grounds, a claim she denied on Good Morning America.  The official White House statement is that she resigned, “to pursue other opportunities.”

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(LOS ANGELES) -- The wait is over! Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters on Thursday, and we know Luke Skywalker will be a big part of this movie, after Mark Hamill was barely in the last one. Whatever the future of the franchise holds for Luke, Hamill tells ABC News the cycle of Star Wars fandom could last indefinitely.

"Original fans have grown up...and they're sharing it with their family," he says. "And I think it's really apropos, because I've always thought of these films as fairy tales set in space."

Of course, the longevity of the franchise comes as no surprise to the 66-year-old actor. While Star Warscreator George Lucas "kept saying these are for adolescents at best," says Hamill, "these adolescents grow up into 45-year-old fanboys who want to be eight years old all over again."

Hamill admits he was "in a state of shock," when Lucas approached him about coming back for the new trilogy. While he found the idea "thrilling in a way," Mark recalls he was also a little hesitant at first.

"I thought, 'Let's leave well enough alone,'" he adds. "We had a beginning, a middle, and an end and everyone was happy." 

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ABC/Randy Holmes(NEW YORK) -- Funnyman Will Ferrell and his fellow Saturday Night Live alum Molly Shannon appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Wednesday night as characters from their upcoming Amazon special.

Ferrell appeared as Cord Hosenbeck, with Shannon as his fictional TV co-host and partner of 25 years, Tish Cattigan. Shannon was bouncy and youthful while Farrell wore a bald cap and glasses, sporting a close-cropped red beard. The two were reminiscent of Ferrell’s effervescent character from the SNL sketch, “Morning Latte” and entertained host Jimmy Kimmel with their superficial banter.

The pair was visiting to promote their upcoming special, The 2018 Rose Parade Hosted by Cord & Tish, which is presented by Ferrell’s Funny or Die and Amazon, although they showed little knowledge of the event.

Later, they performed the holiday classic, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” during which Ferrell’s starting enthusiastically scatting.

The 2018 Rose Parade Hosted by Cord & Tish will stream live on Amazon Prime video on New Year’s Day.

Jimmy Kimmel Live! airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on ABC.

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Disney/20th Century Fox(NEW YORK) -- ABC News' parent company The Walt Disney Co. is acquiring 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion in stock, Disney announced Thursday morning.

Fox will spin off and retain some of its properties, including Fox News, but Disney will own Fox's massive film and TV empires.

"The acquisition of this stellar collection of businesses from 21st Century Fox reflects the increasing consumer demand for a rich diversity of entertainment experiences that are more compelling, accessible and convenient than ever before," Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Co., said in a statement announcing the acquisition.

For Disney, which owns ABC News, taking ownership of one the country's largest movie studios from the Rupert Murdoch-controlled company is one of the biggest media deals in history.

For Marvel movie fans, this means that finally, 20th Century Fox characters from The X-Men franchise, as well as others to which Fox owned the rights, like the Fantastic Four and Deadpool, could now potentially join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

21st Century Fox assets not acquired by Disney include Fox News Channel, the Fox broadcast network and the Fox Sports 1 sports channel.

Disney, home to family friendly films such as Frozen, will now also include assets from Fox that target a different demographic, such as the gritty, acclaimed shows on FX Networks, as well as the National Geographic Channel.

Along with the movie studio and the aforementioned TV channels, Disney will have a majority ownership of Hulu, which airs originally produced series such as the critically-acclaimed hit The Handmaid's Tale.

And added to the Disney library from Fox will be TV shows such as The Simpsons and classic films like The Sound of Music.

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ABC Image Group LA(LOS ANGELES) -- Salma Hayek has added her voice to the growing chorus of women speaking out about Harvey Weinstein, saying he "is my monster too."

In a striking new New York Times op-ed piece, Hayek wrote about her experience making Frida, her 2002 film about famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, which she produced and starred in for Weinstein's now-former company Miramax.

After Weinstein said yes to making the film, she wrote, "It would become my turn to say no."

She said the disgraced movie mogul continually harassed her, showing up at her door "at all hours of the night, hotel after hotel, location after location." She wrote that he allegedly repeatedly propositioned her to take a shower with him or let him watch her take a shower, give him a massage or let him give her oral sex, and more.

"And with every refusal came Harvey’s Machiavellian rage," she wrote. "I don’t think he hated anything more than the word 'no.'"

Weinstein has been accused by dozens of women, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Annabella Sciorra and more, of sexual misconduct and, in some cases, assault.

A spokesperson for Weinstein issued a lengthy statement to ABC News on Wednesday night, refuting Hayek's claim. (See the statement at the bottom of this article.) 

Hayek said Weinstein then threatened to take away her script and role in Frida. She said he made impossible demands, including that she raise $10 million and find an A-list director, all of which she met in order to move forward with the film.

After filming began, she said, "The sexual harassment stopped but the rage escalated."

Hayek said Weinstein threatened to shut down production if she did not agree to do a fully nude sex scene with co-star Ashley Judd. "It was clear to me he would never let me finish this movie without him having his fantasy one way or another."

The actress agreed but said she suffered a nervous breakdown while shooting the scene and had to distance herself from the film when shooting wrapped. The film went on to earn six Academy Award nominations and two Oscars. Weinstein, she said, never offered her another starring role for the remainder of her contract with Miramax.

"Why do so many of us, as female artists, have to go to war to tell our stories when we have so much to offer? Why do we have to fight tooth and nail to maintain our dignity?" Hayek wrote, adding that women in the industry have been "devalued artistically to an indecent state."

She concluded that "until there is equality in our industry, with men and women having the same value in every aspect of it, our community will continue to be a fertile ground for predators."

A spokesperson for Weinstein issued the following statement:

Mr. Weinstein regards Salma Hayek as a first-class actress and cast her in several of his movies, among them Once Upon a Time in MexicoDogma, and Studio 54. He was very proud of her Best Actress Academy Award nomination for Frida and continues to support her work.

While Jennifer Lopez was interested in playing Frida and at the time was a bigger star, Mr. Weinstein overruled other investors to back Salma as the lead. Miramax put up half of the money and all of the P&A; the budget was over 12 million. As in most collaborative projects, there was creative friction on Frida, but it served to drive the project to perfection. The movie opened in multiple theaters and was supported by a huge advertising campaign and an enormous Academy Awards budget.

Mr. Weinstein does not recall pressuring Salma to do a gratuitous sex scene with a female costar and he was not there for the filming. However, that was part of the story, as Frida Kahlo was bisexual and the more significant sex scene in the movie was choreographed by Ms. Hayek with Geoffrey Rush. The original uni-brow used was an issue because it diverted attention from the performances. All of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma are not accurate and others who witnessed the events have a different account of what transpired.

Ed Norton, who was Ms. Hayek’s boyfriend at the time, [worked with Mr. Weinstein on the rewrite of the script in Mexico] did a brilliant job of rewriting the script and Mr. Weinstein battled the WGA to get him a credit on the film. His effort was unsuccessful to everyone’s disappointment.

By Mr. Weinstein’s own admission, his boorish behavior following a screening of Frida was prompted by his disappointment in the cut of the movie — and a reason he took a firm hand in the final edit, alongside the very skilled director Julie Taymor.

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Fox/Chuck Hodes(NEW YORK) -- Empire delivered its fall finale, "Slave to Memory," Wednesday night.  Here's some highlights from the explosive show: 

-- Lucious wants a crack at exacting revenge on the DuBois family after Andre's mental breakdown. But Cookie tells him to slow down for a moment. Meanwhile Cookie, Hakeem, Jamal and Thirsty concoct a plan of their own in order to break into the DuBois family's Captain Ball.

-- A farewell party is thrown for Eddie, who's leaving the Empire family.   

-- Warren visits Jamal at his home with an important message. 

-- Lucious and Cookie trick Angelo, who gets into a car with the two. Lucious tells Angelo to sign a confession. Lucious beats up Angelo in a dark alleyway as Cookie watches. Angelo signs the confession. 

-- Lucious, Cookie, Andre, Jamal and a group of musicians crash the Captain Ball. 

-- Cookie introduces Warren via video. He says he wants everyone at the Captain Ball to know who Diana is and confesses that she conspired to kidnap Bella. Cookie also tells everyone that Dr. Lambert gave Andre psychosis-inducing drugs, thanks to Diana, and that Diana paid Warren to break Jamal's heart.   

-- Hakeem gives Anika a document to sign in order to give Bella back to him and to save herself from going back to jail. 

-- Police arrive at the Captain Ball to arrest Diana.  

-- Angelo intentionally shoots Warren and Jamal accidentally shoots Angelo.  

-- Lucious visits Andre in the hospital and finds Shine there. After Shine leaves them alone, Andre, in a drugged-up state, confesses to Lucious that he tried to kill him in Las Vegas. A needle is then injected into Lucious' neck and Lucious finds himself tied up, with Claudia to blame. 

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ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- Kevin Hart is looking forward to 2018. After a roller coaster of a year that included a cheating scandal and the birth of his son, Kenzo, Hart explains that he's focused on being a better man next year.

In an interview with Extra, Mario Lopez's daughter Gia asked the comedian what he would like Santa to bring him for the holiday and if he’s been naughty or nice.

“That's definitely a tough question for Kevin Hart right now," Hart said, leaning down towards the young girl as she holds the mic. "It was a tough year for me. I had some bumps in the road but the good thing is you take steps backwards to take steps great forwards."

Kevin added, "I recovered from some not-nice times, now, what I basically want is for Santa to know now, I'm doing good and I'm doing better -- I’m a good guy.”

As previously reported, Hart became the target of an alleged sex extortion scandal in September.

The actor went on Instagram to apologize to his wife and kids for an unspecified indiscretion. His management released a statement to ABC News the next day, saying Hart was a victim of extortion, but declined to provide details, citing an ongoing investigation.

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(NEW YORK) -- Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update" anchors, Colin Jost and Michael Che, have been tapped as head writers, the show announced on Tuesday.

Jost and Che -- who took over the "Weekend Update" desk in 2014 -- join current head writers Kent Sublette and Bryan Tucker, who replaced Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider. Kelly and Schneider left the Saturday night staple for their own Comedy Central series, The Other Two.

Jost, a four-time Writers Guild of America Award-winner and Peabody Award recipient, started out as a writer on the sketch comedy show in 2005. He previously served as SNL head writer -- taking over for Seth Meyers in 2012 -- but stepped down in 2015 to focus his attention on "Weekend Update."

Che, who appeared on Comedy Central's The Daily Show before joining SNL in 2013, made Variety’s 10 Comics to Watch list and Rolling Stone’s 50 Funniest People the same year. His addition makes him the first person of color to be a head writer on SNL.

Also on Tuesday, SNL named Sudi Green and Fran Gillespie as writing supervisors.

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NetflixThe Punisher is locked and re-loaded: the Marvel Netflix show about the vigilante superhero has been renewed for a second season.

The streaming service made the announcement on the show's Facebook page on Tuesday with a graphic of a skull -- the hero's logo -- and the legend: "He's just getting started. The Punisher will return for Season 2."

The shoot-em-up series stars Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle -- a Special Forces Marine who takes brutal revenge on the men who murdered his family, and just about every other criminal he comes across.

The character first appeared on the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man in 1974, but the fan favorite soon spawned his own books. Bernthal debuted his bruising portrayal of Castle in Season 2 of Daredevil on Netflix.

A season-two premiere date has yet to be announced.

For his part, Bernthal is ready. He tweeted: "Semper Fi. Let's. Do. This."

Marvel, like ABC, is owned by Disney.

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Disney(LOW EARTH ORBIT) -- Well, that's one way to beat the long movie lines.  In our galaxy -- but still relatively far, far away -- astronauts aboard the International Space Station will join fans on Earth and watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

“[I] can confirm the crew will be able to watch it on orbit,” NASA Public Affairs Officer Dan Huot told ABC Radio, though he doesn't have a "definitive timeline" as to when it will take place. "They typically get movies as digital files and can play them back on a laptop or a standard projector that is currently aboard," he explains of the astronauts.

The station actually has hundreds of movies in its onboard library, including sci-fi hits like Gravity and TV's Firefly, and others, which the explorers can watch during down time. It's not known how the astronauts are getting their hands on the latest Star Wars film, but the website Inverse speculates it could be sent inside a SpaceX dragon resupply capsule that is scheduled to blast off Friday -- which, incidentally, is also the release date for The Last Jedi.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is owned by Disney, parent company of ABC News.

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Photo by Merrick Morton. © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved(LOS ANGELES) -- Big Little Lies and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri lead the pack of nominees for the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, announced Wednesday morning at the Pacific Design Center’s SilverScreen Theater in West Hollywood. 

Three Billboards is the most-nominated film, with four nods.  On the TV side, HBO's Big Little Lies and Netflix's wrestling comedy GLOW and its sci-fi hit Stranger Things earned the most nominations, each with four.

Netflix earned 19 nominations total, followed by HBO with 12, leaving broadcast TV in the dust: their closest competitor, NBC, earned three nominations. 

The 54th Annual SAG Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to Morgan Freeman.

Hosted by Kristen Bell, the SAG Awards ceremony will be simulcast live on Sunday, January 21, 2018, on
TNT and TBS at 8 p.m. Eastern time.

Here are the nominees in major categories:

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Big Sick 
Get Out
Lady Bird
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson,Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Hong Chau, Downsizing
Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
The Crown 
Game of Thrones
The Handmaid's Tale
Stranger Things 
This Is Us 

Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Curb Your Enthusiasm 
Glow Orange Is the New Black

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock
Jeff Daniels, Godless
Robert De Niro, The Wizard of Lies
Geoffrey Rush, Genius
Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette & Joan
Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette & Joan
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies
Laura Dern, Big Little Lies 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series 
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Claire Foy, The Crown
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
Robin Wright, House of Cards
Laura Linney, Ozark 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace
William H. Macy, Shameless
Marc Maron, GLOW 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
Alison Brie, GLOW
Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

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WJTN Headlines for Thursday Dec. 14, 2017

Ten economic development regions in New York state are splitting $755-million in state funding.    Governor Andrew Cuomo made the annoucement at an event in Albany on Wednesday.&n...

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