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Friday
Jun172011

NYC 9/11 Museum May Charge $20 Admission

Chris Hondros/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- When the new National September 11 Memorial & Museum opens on the site of the destroyed World Trade Center in Manhattan in September 2012, visitors may find themselves shelling out $20 for admission.

Joe Daniles, president and CEO of the memorial foundation, told members of New York’s City Council Thursday that the admission charge would be a suggested donation that's “compatible” with fees at other “world-class museums.”

Daniels told the council that a fee of some sort would have to be levied on visitors to cover operational costs of the museum, but relatives of 9/11 victims would not be charged.  Daniels explained that the museum would also set aside days for first responders to visit.

The eight-acre memorial plaza portion of the site will be open to the public following this year’s 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.  Visitors will not have to pay a fee for access to that area.

In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, a memorial honoring the 40 passengers and crew who died when flight 93 crashed following a struggle between passengers and hijackers is close to completion.  The memorial, which will be ready in time for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, features a long, white marble wall bearing the names of the passengers and crew who died.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun172011

Suspicious Vehicle Found Near Pentagon

Leesburg Police Department   (ARLINGTON, Va.) -- One suspect was taken into custody Friday morning as authorities investigated a suspicious vehicle found near the Pentagon, ABC News has learned.

Federal officials detained the man -- identified by two separate law enforcement sources as Yonathan Melaku, 22, of Alexandria, Virginia -- in Arlington National Cemetery.  He was carrying a backpack that contained ammonium nitrate and ammunition for an automatic weapon.  The bag also contained written material that referenced al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The FBI, however, determined that the material in his backpack was harmless.

"There was not a device and the products found are determined right now to be inert," said Brenda Heck, a special agent in charge of counterterrorism for the FBI.

Melaku allegedly told police that there were other "devices" in the area and also mentioned the location of a vehicle.

The vehicle in question -- a red 2011 Nissan -- was parked off the roadway on Washington Boulevard.  Authorities were examining it to determine if it contained a bomb or other weapon of mass destruction, but early reports are it didn't appear to be a "workable" bomb.  According to a law enforcement spokesman at the scene, authorities neutralized the suspicious device as a precaution.

Several roads in the vicinity were closed off by authorities as a result.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun172011

Jaycee Dugard Kidnapper in Same Prison Unit as Charles Manson

El Dorado County Sheriff via Getty Images(SACRAMENTO) -- Phillip Garrido, the man convicted of kidnapping, raping and holding Jaycee Dugard captive for 18 years, arrived at California’s Corcoran State Prison Thursday to begin serving a sentence of 431 years to life.

The 60-year-old Garrido, who was given the name “Creepy Phil” by his neighbors in the town of Antioch, will be housed in a protective unit that is also home to cult murderer Charles Manson.

“Creepy Phil” and “Crazy Charlie” are in a Protective Housing Unit for inmates whose safety, according to the California Department of Corrections, “would be endangered by general population placement.”

Phillip Garrido’s wife, Nancy Garrido, is now at a California women’s prison, serving a sentence of 36 years to life.

Jaycee Dugard was 11 years old in 1991 when the Garridos snatched her off the street and forced her to live in a backyard compound made of sheds and tents.  She was sexually assaulted by Garrido for years and gave birth to two daughters while in captivity.

Dugard was freed in August 2009.  She has a memoir due out next month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun162011

Exclusive: John Edwards Sought Millions from Heiress as Feds Closed In

Thinkstock/Comstock(NEW YORK) -- Just weeks before federal prosecutors charged John Edwards in a six-count felony indictment, ABC News has been told, the two-time Democratic presidential candidate requested millions of dollars from Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, the banking heiress whose financial support of Edwards is at the center of the criminal case.

One person with knowledge of the request confirmed the amount was in the millions of dollars but was unwilling to discuss why Edwards was seeking the money.

William Taylor, an attorney for Mellon, declined to address questions from ABC News. A spokesman for Edwards' legal defense team also refused to comment.

Edwards' ongoing relationship with the reclusive Mellon, who will turn 101 years old in August, was being closely monitored by federal authorities as the investigation into alleged violations of campaign finance laws was wrapping up.

Their concerns were heightened in late April when Mellon dispatched her private jet to a small North Carolina airport to pick up the former senator and members of his legal team. As ABC station WTVD's helicopter hovered above the airport to capture video of the boarding passengers, Mellon's pilot paced around the tarmac before eventually taking off again with no one else aboard.

But a month later, as Edwards' attorneys were engaged in last-minute negotiations with the Justice Department, ABC News learned, Edwards was visiting Mellon for a private luncheon at her sprawling Virginia estate. Taylor, who said he was present for that meeting on May 26, described it to ABC News as a "personal and social" visit.

Rachel Mellon was an early supporter of Edwards' bid for the 2008 Democratic nomination, pouring more than $4 million into political groups and non-profit organizations connected to the Edwards campaign. But the government alleges that Mellon also was the principal source of money that enabled Edwards to conceal his affair.

Identified in the criminal indictment against Edwards only as "Person C," Mellon provided more than $700,000 that the government alleges were unlawful contributions that went to pay the living and medical expenses of Rielle Hunter while Edwards continued his pursuit of the nomination.

Another attorney for Mellon, Alex Forger, has said previously that Mellon was unaware of how her money was being used.

Edwards' defense team is expected to argue that the money from Mellon was a gift and has blasted the government's case as "wrong on the facts and wrong on the law."

ABC News has been unable to determine if Mellon provided the money allegedly requested recently by Edwards. And since the campaign is now long over, even if such a gift were made, it would not be illegal.

At a brief appearance in federal court in Winston-Salem earlier this month, Edwards indicated his intent to plead not guilty to all the charges. A trial date has not yet been set.

One of the conditions of his release from custody was that he have no further direct or indirect contact with Rachel Mellon.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun162011

Forty Names Appear on Terrorists' Hit List

Thinkstock/Comstock(WASHINGTON) -- The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have alerted law enforcement about a terrorist "hit list" that was posted on a jihadi website and names 40 prominent figures from government, the U.S. military and the media who should be attacked.

Among the names on the hit list, which includes photographs of the targets and biographical information, are a member of Congress, Pentagon officials, a conservative pundit, executives of an American company involved in the production of drone aircraft, and two prominent French executives.

According to a bulletin circulated by the FBI, the hit list appeared on the website Ansar al-Mujahideen after one poster highlighted al Qaeda leader Adam Gadahn's call in a June 3 message for lone wolf attacks on American public figures and corporate institutions. "In response to the original posting," says the U.S. government's intelligence bulletin, "other forum members posted the names of over 40 heads of government, industry and media as potential targets." One forum member suggested that booby-trapped parcels be sent to the home addresses of those on the list.

"Though there has been an increase in postings on extremist web forums since [Osama bin Laden's] death on 2 May 2011, these examples are the most target specific threat postings in the forum since that date," says the bulletin. "The depth and breadth of the list provided...represent a familiarity with defense and intelligence contractors and private sector support."

An FBI official who reviewed the notice said the threats were mostly aspirational and described the item as a "wish list" of targets. DHS and the FBI circulated the notice to law enforcement out of an abundance of caution because posters on the website were making threats on a publicly available forum.

In a statement, DHS spokesman Chris Ortman said, "A DHS Open Source Information Report about an online posting by a user of an Arabic-language violent jihadist forum, which listed specific individuals and businesses that the user believed were legitimate targets, was disseminated by the Office of Intelligence & Analysis.

"While we have no information of any imminent terrorist threat to the United States or any U.S. persons, as always, we urge federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as the general public, to maintain increased vigilance for indications of preoperational or suspicious activity," said Ortman.

In Gadahn's June 3 video, he calls on Muslims living in America to carry out deadly one-man terrorist acts using fully automatic weapons purchased at gun shows, and to target major institutions and public figures.

"What are you waiting for?" asks Gadahn in English, and then adds that jihadis shouldn't worry about getting caught, since so many have been released. "Over these past few years, I've seen the release of many, many Mujahideen whom I had never even dreamed would regain their freedom."

Called "Do Not Rely on Others, Take the Task Upon Yourself" and produced by al Qaeda's media arm, as Sahab, the tape mixes Gadahn's new message with clips from old videos of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and other al Qaeda leaders praising one-man attacks. They call on jihadis in the West to carry out lone wolf operations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun162011

Everything Must Go: Closed Sahara Casino Selling Historical Items

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- It was an iconic Las Vegas casino that opened in 1952.  But the Sahara closed its doors last month, and through Sunday the owners are selling off all of its contents at a massive liquidation sale.

On Thursday, the first day of the sale, dozens waited in line outside of the Sahara in temperatures approaching triple digits for their chance to buy a piece of the landmark. Inside, Terry Ching was purchasing a pair of chairs from the casino floor.

"This is a piece of history," Ching said. "This was a palace at one time."

Barb Kuhla, on vacation from Florida, had her eye on one of the most popular items of the day -- a camel lamp.

The sale's organizer, Don Haze, says virtually everything is up for grabs -- from pool chairs to bedding and kitchen equipment.

Among the big-ticket items, there's even a $12,000 chandelier.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun162011

Girl Scouts' Prosthetic Hand Device to Get Patent

Design Pics / Leah Warkentin(WASHINGTON) -- If there was a way for trees to talk, then a big, old fir residing in Ames, Iowa, would tell a magnificent story about six Girl Scouts who meet in its branches and last year hatched a splendid idea.

Thursday, the team of six who call themselves "The Flying Monkeys" were in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Patent Office to be recognized for their idea -- a prosthetic hand device that helped a three-year-old to write.

"It's a really big deal to be getting a patent," said 13-year-old Kate Murray, a.k.a. "Monkey 2." "Almost no one at our age has one and it's very special. It means our invention is really worth it."

"They came up with what turned out to be a heck of a project," said Kate's mother, Melissa Murray, and one of the team's coaches.

In 2010, the girls entered the worldwide FIRST LEGO League science and engineering challenge, which focused on robotics applied to medical issues. Having decided to work on hand and arm prosthetics, they met with prosthetics manufacturers and doctors.

After Melissa Murray met Dale Fairchild of Duluth, Ga., online and found out that Fairchild's daughter Danielle, 3, had been born without fingers on her right hand, the Flying Monkeys decided to dedicate their concept to assisting her.

The project took the girls at least 180 hours of work and research between the fall of 2010 and spring 2011.

Using Danielle's measurements, they were able to create what they call "the BOB-1," made from moldable plastic, a pencil grip and Velcro. The device cost them less than $10 to build.

Melissa Murray said the contest judges were stunned with the team's invention. "They didn't know what to do with them [the girls]," she said.

The girls won the $20,000 FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award from the X Prize Foundation in April, in addition to a provisional patent.

"I never thought I would have a patent," said 12-year-old Mackenzie Grewell, a.k.a. "Monkey 4." "When I first found out, I didn't even know what the word meant."

Melissa Murray said they used the money for patenting the BOB-1 and creating a slightly improved version called BOB-1.2. She said it could take up to three years to secure the final patent.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun162011

Single-Sex Dorms Curb Binge Drinking and Hookups, College President Says

James Woodson/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A college president has a new/old idea for curbing binge drinking and hooking up on campus -- going back to single-sex dorms, even though it bucks current trends in campus housing.

John Garvey, president of Catholic University in Washington, D.C., wrote in The Wall Street Journal this week that next year, all freshmen would be assigned to single-sex dorms, and the following year, sophomores would be too.

"Our students will be better off," said Garvey, citing research that suggested students in coed dorms binge-drink twice as often as those in single-sex housing, and are more likely to have had multiple sex partners.

Garvey said he's not surprised about the sex but was taken aback about the drinking. "I would have thought that young women would have a civilizing influence on young men," Garvey wrote.

Some students believe Garvey needs to get real. "If students want to drink, they're going to drink," said Madison Taylor, 19, of Santa Barbara, Calif., who just finished her freshman year at the University of Chicago.

Taylor, a chemistry major who lived in a dorm that had coed floors and bathrooms, said the bathroom setup "seemed a little weird" before she arrived at college. "It turned out fine. A lot of my best friends are boys. By the time people go to college, they're mature enough to live with the opposite sex and not have it be a big deal."

Not everyone's so sure. Sally Rubenstone, a college adviser for collegeconfidential.com, said single-sex dorms are a good idea for freshmen. "It provides a safe haven in the first year. When you remove all the noise of that sexual energy, you're just giving them that chance to say, 'Whew,' and close the door -- at least for 10 minutes until their boyfriend shows up."

Garvey's back-to-the-future plan goes against a movement toward coed campus housing, which started in the late 1960s, and has become the norm.

About 90 percent of U.S. college students in on-campus housing now live in coed dorms, according to a study in the Journal of American College Health. The study, which influenced Garvey's decision to move to single-sex housing, looked at five universities across the country, controlling for students' religious affiliation, sex and race, and found that in both big and small colleges, students in coed dorms drank and hooked up more.

Few colleges have resisted the move to coed housing, although the University of Notre Dame, which is Catholic, and Brigham Young University, which is sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have stuck with single-sex housing.

There is now a move led by such schools as Oberlin College in Ohio to allow "gender neutral housing" in which a male and female student could share a room. James Baumann, a spokesman for the Association of College and University Housing Officers International, said that practice is "growing," although it's not yet commonplace. Coed dorms predominate, said Baumann, but many colleges will reserve a dorm or a portion of one for single-sex housing -- generally for women. "They know there's a demand for that," he said.

Some students do see Garvey's point. Jill Bridges, 21, from Michigan, who graduated this year from the University of Michigan, lived first in a coed dorm and then in a women's dorm. "I definitely preferred the all-female dorm. They had a stronger sense of community there. It was like sisterhood," she said. "Girls are nicer to each other when there aren't any guys around to compete over."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun162011

Earthquake Rattles Area Southwest of Anchorage

U.S. Geological Survey(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) -- A 5.2 magnitude earthquake shook an area approximately 50 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska on Thursday.

The extent of damage caused by the earthquake was not immediately known, nor were the number of injuries.

 Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun162011

Casey Anthony Trial: Dad and Brother Tested for Paternity

Orange County Government, Florida(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Casey Anthony's father and brother were tested by the FBI to see if they were the father of Caylee, the 2-year-old daughter Casey Anthony is accused of murdering, a witness said Thursday.

What began as a tedious morning of scientific testimony in the Casey Anthony murder trial ended with an explosive question by defense attorney Jose Baez. Baez asked FBI analyst Heather Seubert if she had conducted a paternity test to see if Lee Anthony, Casey Anthony's brother, was the father of Caylee Anthony.

The prosecution immediately objected and Judge Belvin Perry quickly sent jurors to lunch. With the jury out of the room, the prosecution and defense argued over the appropriateness of this line of questioning about Caylee's paternity and whether it could continue.

Seubert, a DNA analyst at the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Va., told the court that both George Anthony, Casey Anthony's father, and Lee Anthony had been excluded from being Caylee's father through paternity testing.

The jury, however, has yet to hear the answer to the question whether Lee Anthony was tested for paternity and the prosecutor angrily asked that the judge order the jury to disregard the question when they return from lunch.

Perry also warned Baez, "You are not to ask questions that will lead to an inference...I'm not even going to venture a guess...as to your motivation."

The defense claims that Caylee accidentally drowned in the family pool and that Casey Anthony hid her daughter's death in a bizarre coping mechanism she'd learned from suffering years of sexual abuse at the hands of her father and brother.

George Anthony has denied the accusation.

Thursday marked the third anniversary of Caylee's disappearance.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio