Texas Authorities Order More Evacuations, Wildfires Rage On

Hemera Technologies/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- New evacuations have been ordered around west Texas, as massive wildfires continue to threaten people and property.

Hundreds of homes are threatened; at least two dozen have been destroyed and that number may grow higher as crews assess the damage.

State trooper Dub Gillum says residents ordered to evacuate have only one reasonable choice, and that's to "give their homes over to the fire."

"That's a hard thing to say," Gillum said, "but the most precious thing to Texas is our citizens and that life."

The battle is being waged from the ground and the air as the statewide total exceeds 1.5 million acres burned.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Country Star Whitney Duncan Defends Holly Bobo's Brother

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation(PARSONS, Tenn.) -- Country singing star Whitney Duncan, cousin of missing Tennessee woman Holly Bobo, told bloggers Tuesday to "shut up" about rumors that Bobo's brother may have been involved in the abduction.

"My cousin, Clint, Holly's brother, is not a suspect and I'm sick of people saying that he is. He has been cleared for good reason," Duncan tweeted. "Shut up."

Clint Bobo, 25, saw a man dressed in camouflage lead his sister, Holly, into the woods near the family's Parsons, Tenn., home last Wednesday. Bobo's brother wasn't worried because he thought the man was his sister's boyfriend, who is an avid hunter, police have said. Clint Bobo became alarmed, however, when he spotted blood in the driveway and called 911.

Police previously said that Clint Bobo and the missing woman's boyfriend were not suspects, but on Monday police said that no one had been ruled out in the 20-year-old woman's disappearance.

A reward of $75,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever kidnapped the missing nursing student.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gunman Reported Inside Massachusetts Mall

Stockbyte/John Foxx/Thinkstock(BURLINGTON, Mass.) -- A northeast Massachusetts mall was evacuated Tuesday morning after officials received reports of a man carrying what appeared to be a gun, but turned out to be an umbrella.

State and local officials were sent to the Burlington Mall shortly after 10 a.m., when someone reported seeing a man with a rifle or long gun inside the Nordstrom department store.

Police spoke with two people who fit the description of the suspect – a short, Caucasian male, wearing a gray top and a backpack – before determining that what initially appeared to witnesses as a gun was in fact an umbrella.

"The man in question called State Police himself to report that he was the person who had been seen in the mall," Massachusetts State Police said in a statement, according to ABC News Boston affiliate WCVB-TV.

Police searched in and around the shopping center for nearly an hour and a half before finding the man who they believe was the person in question.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Holds Easter Prayer Breakfast at White House

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza (file)(WASHINGTON) -- Noting that in the “middle of critical national debates, in the middle of our busy lives” it is important to keep things in “perspective,” President Obama held an Easter Prayer breakfast Tuesday morning in the East Room of the White House.

“As busy as we are, as many tasks as pile up, during this season, we are reminded that there’s something about the resurrection -- something about the resurrection of our savior, Jesus Christ, that puts everything else in perspective.”

The president joked that in the “hustle and bustle,” as the “inbox keeps accumulating,” the holy week is a reminder of so much.

“The triumph of Palm Sunday. The humility of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. His slow march up that hill, and the pain and the scorn and the shame of the cross.  And we’re reminded that in that moment, he took on the sins of the world -- past, present and future -- and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection.”

President Obama was joined by faith leaders, members of congress, administration officials, and members of the community, including the Rev. Al Sharpton.

“This magnificent grace, this expansive grace, this ‘Amazing Grace’ calls me to reflect. And it calls me to pray. It calls me to ask God for forgiveness for the times that I’ve not shown grace to others, those times that I’ve fallen short. It calls me to praise God for the gift of our son -- his Son and our Savior.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Florida Dad From Teen Fight Video Explains Himself

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The Florida father charged with child abuse after being caught on tape encouraging his teenage son to fight another teen claims he was protecting his son from bullies.

"I apologize for what I said but I do stand behind protecting my son," Philip Scott Struthers told ABC News Tuesday.

A video released by shows Struthers, 41, coaching his 16-year-old son, Jake, through a fistfight.

When his son throws a punch, Struther yells, "Good."  When it appears Jake has pinned the other teen on the ground, Struther yells, "Punch his eyes out...Slam his head on the ground."

"When I see that video too, I'm just as disgusted at the things I said.  What everybody doesn't know is what transpired six months prior to that...threats to my son, vulgar... comments said on Facebook and other social media sites," Struthers said.

Struthers and his wife, Kimberley, said that they decided to bypass school officials and handle the bullying problem themselves.  For six months, the family told their son not to fight.

"We found that the schools just seemed to make the matters worse.  There doesn't seem to be anonymity with going in and discussing these things.  It gets back to the perpetrators," Kimberly Struthers said.  "We've always told Jake this too will go away just like it's gone away before…ignore it, you're not going to fight."

Things didn't get better.  Jake says that his rival, accompanied by a group of boys, showed up at the family's Tampa, Florida, home.

"I came home from school and he was in the front yard and there were a bunch of kids there…I knew he was coming over and I knew it was going to happen either way and I didn't want it to happen," Jake said.

Jake, who said he's never been in a fight before, decided to fight the other teenager.  He defended his father.

"I know what he did was wrong…he was just looking out for me, making sure no one else would jump in the fight," Jake said.

Philip Struthers was arrested by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office for child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor on April 12.  In court, the judge ordered Jake's father away from all minors including his own children.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


FAA Says Air Traffic Controller Caught Watching Movie

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- On the same weekend that the Federal Aviation Administration announced sweeping schedule changes in an effort to reduce incidents of air traffic controllers sleeping on the job, the agency says a controller at an Ohio control center was caught watching a movie on a portable DVD player.

The controller and a manager have been suspended as a result.

The FAA says in the early morning hours of April 17, an air traffic controller at the Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center was watching a movie on a portable DVD player while working at a radar position.  The government agency says the controller’s microphone was on during that time and the sound of the movie was transmitted over a radio frequency used in that airspace.  The FAA learned of the incident from a military aircraft.

An unnamed government source says the controller was watching the 2007 Samuel L. Jackson film, Cleaner.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt announced a number of changes in scheduling last weekend, including a new rule that controllers have no fewer than nine hours off between shifts.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Teenage Girl Recovering After Fall from Golden Gate Bridge

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- A teenage girl who plummeted from the Golden Gate Bridge was recuperating in a hospital Monday, making her the second teenager to survive a fall from the San Francisco landmark.

Witnesses reported seeing the 16-year-old girl, who has not been publicly identified, go over the side of the bridge at 10:56 a.m. Sunday.  The Coast Guard was able to recover the young woman, who was responsive.

"The girl was conscious when she was pulled from the water," Coast Guard spokeswoman Laura Williams told ABC News.

The Coast Guard rushed the girl to shore, where the San Francisco Fire Department took her to Marin General Hospital.

It has not been determined if she fell or jumped off of the bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge has been a notorious place for suicides since it was built in 1937.  Very few survive the 220-foot fall to the middle of the span or the frigid, fast-moving water below.  A fall from the bridge is the equivalent of a four-second, 25-story fall.  The average human body hits the water at 75 miles per hour, generally resulting in fatal injuries.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai Runs Fastest Time Ever in Boston Marathon

John Foxx/Thinkstock (file photo)(BOSTON) -- Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai won the Boston Marathon Monday with the fastest time ever recorded for the 26.2-mile race: two hours, three minutes and two seconds.  That's an impressive average speed of 4.69 minutes per mile.

The bad news: his mark won’t be counted as a world record by the International Association of Athletic Federations, the world governing body for track and field, because part of the course is downhill.

American Ryan Hall finished fourth in two hours, four minutes and 55 seconds.  It's the all-time fastest marathon time by a U.S. runner under all conditions.

Kenya’s Caroline Kilel won the women’s race in two hours, 22 minutes and 36 seconds.  Desiree Davila of the United States led for much of the latter half of the race and swapped leads with Kilel twice in the final minutes before finishing two seconds off the pace.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Holly Bobo Reward Tripled by Tennessee Governor to $75,000

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(PARSONS, Tenn.) -- The governor of Tennessee on Monday tripled the reward to $75,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever abducted missing Tennessee woman Holly Bobo, who was snatched from her home and led into the woods by a shadowy stranger five days ago.

Gov. Bill Haslam approved a $50,000 reward from the state, in addition to a $25,000 reward already offered by Bobo's community.

Investigators believe Bobo's abductor lives in or near the 20-year-old college student's town of Parsons, Tenn., and have asked her neighbors to report any unusual activity or a break in people's routine they noticed in recent days.

"The person responsible for Holly's disappearance lives in the area," said Mark Gwyn, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. "Because of the terrain, you have to know where you're going, entrances and exits. We feel the person is in the community. We're asking the community if you know someone who has changed their routine, please let us know."

Gwyn said signs of suspicious activity include calling in sick to work over the past week, excessively cleaning a car or all-terrain vehicle, or unexpectedly selling a vehicle.

He said there is no person of interest in the case, but said police are following more than 250 leads.

Police have collected several pieces of evidence in the woods near Bobo's home, but Gwyn said it could be days before those objects could be analyzed and positively linked to Bobo.

In the meantime, the only evidence police have found and made public were Bobo's lunch purse and some blood.

Gwyn said it is possible Bobo's abductor led the woman to a vehicle left on a road, accessible through the woods, and drove away.

He said investigators still believe Bobo is in the state, but the FBI would get involved if there was evidence to suggest otherwise.

The search for Bobo entered a fifth day Monday, with police interviewing neighbors, boats searching local waterways and volunteers extending their search of the Natchez Trace, a national hiking trail.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Three Cups of Tea' Publisher to Review Fraud Charges

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The publisher of Three Cups of Tea said Monday it wants to review 60 Minutes' allegations that author Greg Mortenson fabricated parts of the best-selling memoir and overstated his humanitarian achievements.

A segment of the 60 Minutes news program that aired Sunday reported that a key section of the book -- how Mortenson got lost while hiking in Pakistan and stumbled upon the village of Korphe, where he was taken in and cared for by the villagers -- is a fabrication.

The central conceit of Three Cups of Tea is that Mortenson's time with the villagers inspired him to return to the region to build a school for girls, setting him off on a campaign to build dozens of schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

60 Minutes also reported in the segment that the Central Asian Institute, Mortenson's charitable organization, had taken credit for building schools that didn't actually exist or were built by others, and that it spent more money on self-promotion than on humanitarian efforts.

Viking Books, Mortenson's publisher, seemed to support him in a short statement released Monday but also said it would investigate the claims made in the 60 Minutes report.

"Greg Mortenson's work as a humanitarian in Afghanistan and Pakistan has provided tens of thousands of children with an education," the statement said. "60 Minutes is a serious news organization and in the wake of their report, Viking plans to carefully review the materials with the author."

Mortenson defended himself Sunday in an email to supporters before the 60 Minutes segment aired, calling the report that criticized his memoir and accused him of financial improprieties "a distorted picture using inaccurate information."

"As those of you who know me and have supported my work over the years will recognize, the story being framed by 60 Minutes to air in a few hours today -- as far as we can tell -- paints a distorted picture using inaccurate information, innuendo and a microscopic focus on one year's (2009) IRS 990 financial, and a few points in the book Three Cups of Tea that occurred almost 18 years ago," Mortenson wrote in the email Monday.

"The Board of Directors and I made the very difficult decision to not engage with 60 Minutes on camera, after they attempted an eleventh hour aggressive approach to reach me, including an ambush in front of children at a book signing at a community service leadership convention in Atlanta," he wrote. "It was clear that the program's disrespectful approach would not result in a fair, balanced or objective representation of our work, my books or our vital mission."

Among those who have publicly declared their doubt about Mortenson's account of his early experiences in Pakistan is Jon Krakauer, author of the best-sellers Into the Wild and Into Thin Air.

In the email, Mortenson said he had also turned down a request from Krakauer for an interview.

Mortenson also pointed to sexism in the countries where his organization had built schools as a cause of the controversy.

"Afghanistan and Pakistan are complex places, torn by conflicting loyalties, and some do not want our mission of educating girls to succeed," he said.

Three Cups of Tea was co-written with David Oliver Relinhis and has sold more than three million copies worldwide since its 2006 release by Viking, a division of Penguin Books.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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