Entries in Pictures (9)


Solar Eclipse 2012: Annular Eclipse Makes 'Ring of Fire'

David McNew/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- If you live in a band across the southwestern United States, twilight likely seemed to come early Sunday afternoon, well before the sun actually sets. The cause: a rare annular solar eclipse -- a ring of sunlight as the new moon, passing between Earth and the sun, blocks most, but not all, of the sun's disc.

The ring was visible in a strip that began on the California-Oregon coast and stretched southeastward across Reno, Nev., the Grand Canyon, and Albuquerque, N.M., endeding at sunset near Lubbock, Texas.

Denver, Las Vegas, Sacramento, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Yosemite all saw a partial eclipse -- the sun dwindling to a crescent. Even some distant cities, including Buffalo, Chicago and Dallas saw a fair portion of the sun blocked by the passing moon.

Why an annular eclipse instead of a total one? Because the moon, constant in size as it may appear to us, does not move in a perfect circle around Earth. Its orbit is slightly elliptical. On average, it's about 239,000 miles away, but at its closest it comes within about 225,000 miles of us. At its farthest -- as it was Sunday -- it's a little more than 250,000 miles away. It's just enough of a difference so that the moon will only cover 88 percent of the sun.

(You may recall the "super moon" of two weeks ago; that night the full moon coincided with the low point of the moon's orbit, making it look a little more vivid than usual.)

The laws of orbital mechanics make solar and lunar eclipses fairly common, actually -- just not necessarily visible from where you live. If you were underwhelmed by Sunday’s annular eclipse, there will be a total eclipse on Nov. 13 -- but it will only be visible from Australia and the South Pacific.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Senator Views Osama Bin Laden Photos, Calls for Their Release

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Jim Inhofe became the first U.S. senator to see photos of Osama bin Laden’s corpse during a private visit to CIA headquarters Wednesday. After the visit, the Oklahoma Republican said several of the images depicted “really bad graphic stuff,” but that some can and should be released to the public.

Inhofe told ABC News in an interview that he saw nine photos of a dead bin Laden taken inside his Pakistani compound, likely “30 seconds or so after the hit.”

You see “where actually one of the bullets went in through the left eye and out the right ear,” he said. “The type of ordinance, it has an explosion to it, so it did blow some of the brains, some of the material, out of the left eye cavity.”

“In a couple of them you can see through the eye cavity, you can see the inner parts of the head. Obviously I’m not a doctor, so I don’t know what I was looking at, but it’s pretty messy.”

Inhofe said the CIA provided three file photos from when bin Laden was alive for comparison to the post-mortem pictures.

“There is absolutely no doubt that Osama bin Laden is dead,” he said.

Inhofe said the “most revealing” images were those of bin Laden’s body after it had been prepared for burial and the burial ceremony itself.

“These would be good ones [to release] for two reasons,” he said. “One is he is cleaned up a little bit, and the other is you can tell readily that is Osama bin Laden. There’s no question about it, but he had to be cleaned up to do it.”

Inhofe has argued releasing the photos is important to helping dispel conspiracy theorists who might doubt bin Laden is dead, even though several al Qaeda affiliate websites confirmed the leader’s death last week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Osama Bin Laden Evidence Trove: US Hopes to Follow Money Trail

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- U.S agents charged with disrupting and dismantling al Qaeda are hoping Sunday's harrowing raid of Osama bin Laden's Pakistani compound yields valuable financial clues that could help them expose the underpinnings of the entire organization, including the identities of the major donors who have bankrolled the terror network.

American authorities are ready to follow the money, experts say, hoping detailed ledgers and financial records were scooped up during the raid in which bin Laden was killed. They say any wealthy financiers whose donations helped support the bin Laden terror network now have reason to be nervous.

"Al Qaeda has traditionally been funded by deep-pocket donors," said Stuart Levy, who served as the Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence and is now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. "If people have been giving money, and they don't know yet whether their name is being identified in this intelligence, or that their name might be on a list of potential donors, they might have real reason to worry."

Top counterterror officials said the Navy SEALs who conducted the raid on bin Laden's fortified lair did not leave empty handed. But they have not disclosed what exactly they carried away along with bin Laden's corpse.

John Brennan, the president's chief counterterrorism advisor, told reporters the military team "took advantage of their time there to make sure that we were able to acquire whatever material we thought was appropriate."

He wouldn't describe in detail what they found, but said the quantity of the material was not as encouraging as its quality. A special CIA team has been designated to go through it.

"We feel as though this is a very important time to continue to prosecute this effort against al-Qaida, take advantage of the success of yesterday and to continue to work to break the back of al-Qaida," Brennan said.

Levy noted that in Iraq, detailed financial books were discovered in 2007 that provided a roadmap for al Qaeda in Iraq's financial structure. In 2010, a drone strike by U.S. forces took out the man believed to be al Qaeda's chief financial officer, Saeed al-Masri. Little is known about the bookkeeping that occurred after that.

"Others replaced him, but we don't know that they exerted the same control," Levy said.

Whether bin Laden took over that work himself, or kept those records with him remains unclear. But if he did, Levy said, those records could do lasting damage to the entire al Qaeda network.

Investigators are relishing the chance to put their hands on actual records that will enable them to dissect bin Laden's operations, said John Nagl, a counter-terrorism expert who serves as president of the Center for New American Studies. His ability to operate in the world without leaving a trace of himself is what helped him evade capture for more than a decade.

"He did a very good job in hiding himself from the outside world," Nagl said. "He cut himself off from all electronic emissions."

But for his use of couriers whom the CIA was eventually able to track, he may never have been found, Nagl said. "The ability to track his curriers, to find someone he trusted, then to follow that person all the way back to the rats nest was absolutely essential in this," he said.

Regardless of what records have been uncovered in the raid, bin Laden's death will in some respects cripple al Qaeda's ability to raise money – and not just because bin Laden served as an inspirational leader to his followers, Levy said. The network's infamous leader served as a stabile presence for donors who wanted to support the al Qaeda mission. Now, those soliciting donations will have no way to prove to potential donors that they really represent the terror movement.

"That could really create chaos for their fundraising," Levy said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


White House to Release Photo of Osama bin Laden's Corpse?

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration has photographs of Osama bin Laden’s dead body and officials are debating whether to release them to the public, officials tell ABC News.

“There’s no doubt it’s him,” says a U.S. official who has seen the pictures and also reminds us that Osama bin Laden stood at six-foor-four.

The argument for releasing them: to ensure that the public knows and can appreciate that bin Laden is dead. There's skepticism throughout the world that the U.S. government claim that it killed bin Laden is true.

The argument against releasing the pictures: they’re gruesome. Bin Laden is said to have a massive head wound above his left eye where he took a bullet, with brains and blood visible.

In July 2003, the U.S. government released photographs of Saddam Hussein’s dead sons Uday and Qusay Hussein but not until after they had been touched up by a mortician.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Supermoon' Lights Up Sky, Biggest In Nearly Two Decades

NASA/Bill Ingalls(NEW YORK) -- Did last night's rare "supermoon" live up to its hype? If the commentary online is any indication, those who had clear skies were not disappointed with the brilliant full moon that lit up the sky.

On Twitter, Facebook and Flickr, skywatchers around the world posted pictures and reactions to the biggest full moon in nearly decades.

During the so-called "supermoon," the moon wasn't just at its closest approach to Earth in its elliptical orbit, it was closer than it has been in 18 years.

After the sun set for East Coasters, #supermoon started trending on Twitter, as people started tweeting about the event. Many even uploaded snapshots of their supermoon views to the photo-sharing website Flickr.

"It's a bird- it's a plane- no, it's Supermoon!," said one Facebook user.

"the supermoon was super beautiful last night," posted another.

Full moons come in different sizes because of the elliptical shape of the moon's orbit -- one side of the ellipse is about 31,000 miles closer to Earth than the other. When the moon is closest to Earth (at its perigee), it is 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than when it's farthest from the planet (at its apogee).

For weeks, Saturday's so-called "supermoon" sparked interest online, with astrologers and amateur astronomers speculating that the extra-large full moon could lead to unusual weather. After Japan's earthquake, some even wondered if the supermoon contributed to the event.

Scientists emphasize that there is no connection between the moon's position and extreme weather or natural disasters here on Earth.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Grim Sleeper' Attorney Says LAPD Tainting Jury Pool With Photos

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- The attorney representing Lonnie David Franklin Jr., the suspected "Grim Sleeper" serial killer, has criticized police for releasing photographs of women found at Franklin's home. Louisa Pensanti stated that the photos are of Franklin's friends and family, and that their release is "jeopardizing Lonnie Franklin's chance for a fair trial."

"The photographs include members and friends of the Franklin family, all now subject to the intense scrutiny of the public as well as the police," Pensanti told ABC News.

The Los Angeles Police Department said that they have tentatively indentified five of the dozens of women in the photos. Deputy Chief of Police and Chief of Detectives David R. Doan stated that "five people have identified five specific names" from the 180 images released.

Franklin is accused of murdering nine young women between 1985 and 2007 in South Los Angeles. He has been dubbed the "Grim Sleeper" because of the 14-year gap in his alleged crime spree.

A 57-year-old mechanic, Franklin was charged with nine counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in July in the "Grim Sleeper" case. When detectives searched Franklin's home and surrounding property, they found more than 1,000 photos and hundreds of hours of home video footage in his possession.

Franklin pleaded not guilty to the charges on Aug. 23, 2010, during a court appearance. He remains in custody.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Friends with Mickey? Latest Facebook Trend Has Users Looking Back

Photo Courtesy - The Walt Disney Company(NEW YORK) -- If cartoon characters are starting to replace your Facebook friends, take comfort. You're not alone. The latest fad to go viral on the social networking site has users changing their profile pictures to images of their favorite childhood cartoon characters.

On Facebook, images of the Flintstones, Thundercats, the Smurfs and other classic cartoon characters are taking over users' news feeds.

Previous Facebook memes have asked users to replace their profile pictures with images of their celebrity doppelgangers and had women post the color of their bras to raise awareness about breast cancer. Another recent viral campaign asked women to post suggestive status updates, such as "I like it on the floor" and "I like it on the kitchen counter." The messages referred to where women like to leave their purses and were intended to raise awareness about breast cancer.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Naked Body Scanner Images Improperly Saved

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The government has reassured the flying public time and again that any naked images of them at airport checkpoints would be destroyed immediately. But new attention is being focused on another agency of the federal government -- the U.S. Marshals Service -- that in at least one case has been keeping thousands of similar naked images recorded by its body scanners.

Back on Aug. 4, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) was given more than 100 of 35,000 images that an Orlando courthouse kept on its scanner. The privacy watchdog group had filed a Freedom of Information Act request and went to court to obtain the images. As the debate over the scanners and the Transportation Security Administration's new patdown procedure heats up, technology blog Gizmodo on Tuesday released some of those images.

"The public should absolutely be concerned," EPIC's Ginger McCall told ABC News. "Very detailed and graphic pictures of people's naked bodies could end up out there on the internet."

While the courthouse scanners aren't as powerful and revealing as the TSA airport scanners, McCall said her group's FOIA request proves that the government is capable of storing and transferring images. While the TSA says it does not store such images -- and McCall isn't suggesting that the agency necessarily is -- EPIC's request shows that the images have been improperly stored in at least one case.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Mom Allegedly Sent Lewd Pics to Son's Teen Friend

Photo Courtesy - Houston County Sheriff's Office(HOUSTON) -- Lori Darling David, 37, is facing accusations of e-mailing nude photos of herself to her son's 16-year-old friend.

According to ABC News affiliate KTRK, authorities say the Katy, Texas, woman sent the teen sexually explicit text messages and e-mails, as well as lewd photographs of herself.

She is charged with two counts of online solicitation of a minor.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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