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Monday
Apr272015

Nepal Earthquake Strands Americans at Airport, US Embassy

Bulent Doruk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(KATHMANDU, Nepal) -- Hundreds of American citizens are stranded in Nepal, with many sheltered at the U.S. embassy and others desperately looking for flights at the Kathmandu airport, in the wake of the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake this weekend.

Eighty-five American citizens are sheltering in the embassy, according to the U.S. State Department, while another 220 Americans are at the exclusive American Club in Kathmandu.

The State Department said on Monday that four Americans were killed in Nepal, all in the Everest base camp area.

There have been hundreds of inquiries about the welfare and whereabouts of American citizens, according to the U.S. embassy in Kathmandu. The State Department estimates that there were thousands of Americans in Nepal when the earthquake struck, but the department said it does not have authoritative numbers for missing Americans.

About 3,000 U.S. citizens reside in Nepal, and 3,000 to 4,000 Americans usually visit the country during this tourism season, according to Ineke Stoneham, press and information officer with the public affairs section for the U.S. Embassy Kathmandu.

Many Americans, including Alex Diaz of New York, are waiting at the Kathmandu airport, which Diaz described as a "complete madhouse."

Diaz told ABC News some people have been stranded at the terminal for days where they are sitting and tracking flights.

"Every so often one lands and that airline’s people scuttle to the super crowded gates or they run out of fuel and divert and everyone madly dashes out to the ticket counters," Diaz said. "You just don’t know which ones will leave."

But unlike those at the Kathmandu airport looking to flee, Chicago native Ayal Weiner-Kaplow, who’s now in Kathmandu, says he plans to stay to help with the recovery.

"I've been here for six months and the country's given me so much," he told ABC News. "It sounds cliche but I would feel not good leaving in this time right now and want to stay and help as much as possible."

Weiner-Kaplow says most people are sleeping outdoors in fear of aftershocks. He said he has been sleeping outside the Israeli Embassy.

"Some people have started to go back into buildings, but most people are still sleeping in tent cities," he said. "They're not even public parks, they're just open areas in the city.”


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Monday
Apr272015

Royal Baby Watch: Meet the Royal Baby’s Aunt and Uncles

Karwai Tang/WireImage(LONDON) -- Prince George and his younger brother or sister -- due to be born any day now -- will be brought up in a life of privilege and power. Their parents, Prince William and Duchess Kate, also want to make sure the royal children are grounded and lead a life away from the spotlight, surrounded by love.

William, 32, and Kate, 33, will no doubt look to the children's uncles, Prince Harry and James Middleton, and aunt, Pippa Middleton, to provide fun, friendship and all-important perspective to their children about what it is like as they grow up in the spotlight.

“Prince George and his brother or sister have very cool aunts and uncles," ABC News Royal Contributor and Daily Mirror Royal Correspondent Victoria Murphy told ABC News. "Pippa, James and Harry are really keen to have a laugh and spend as much time as they can with George and his little brother or sister."

Like any set of busy parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will naturally turn to their siblings -- Harry, 32, Pippa, 31, and James, 28 -- for support.

Harry, as the only royal of the trio, will have a particularly unique role.

"He'll be the only person that will know what it feels like to grow up as a kind of spare," said Duncan Larcombe, royal editor of the U.K.'s The Sun newspaper, referring to the new baby's position in royal lineage as fourth in line to the British throne.

With the baby's birth, Harry will move to fifth in line to the throne, behind his father, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George.

Even more importantly, William and Kate's children will turn to Prince Harry for memories of their grandmother, Princess Diana, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

"Harry is going to play a role of really continuing his mother's legacy and really keeping that magic alive," Larcombe said. "I think it'll be lovely for Harry to be able to share stories about when he was growing up ... all the fun things he did with Princess Diana."

"I'm sure the young prince or princess will love to sit on Harry’s lap and listen to all those anecdotes and stories," he said.

On Duchess Kate's side of the family, her sister, "it girl" Pippa Middleton, who took the world by storm in that bridesmaid dress at the couple's royal wedding, will no doubt be at Kate's side lending a hand with Prince George and his sister or brother.

Middleton is the very closest person to the Duchess of Cambridge, as Kate’s confidante and the one person she knows she can truly trust. Kate's sister will be at her side as she seeks privacy and normalcy for her children while they grow up in a fishbowl.

Larcombe said Harry's brother and Kate's sister will likely pay special attention to the new baby, who is being born second to Prince George, the future King of England.

"It's actually going to be a huge challenge for William and Kate," Larcombe said. "Because, yes, the first child is showered with attention until the second one arrives, but in this rather strange situation Prince George is going to be the one that gets the lion's share of attention."

“He’s a future King of England,” Larcombe added. “So the dynamic is actually slightly different with a new baby arriving. I think Pippa, Harry and James will be working quite hard to make the younger sibling, the heir to the spare, feel important and feel they have a role.”

James Middleton, "Wonka-in-Chief" of a personalized marshmallow company, "Boomf," told ABC News' Amy Robach last year that he never imagined he’d be uncle to the future King of England and cherishes his relationship with Prince George.

“I still see Prince George as my nephew and I just want to be the best uncle possible,” James Middleton said. “Like any uncle wants to be, I want to be the cool uncle, the fun uncle.

“That’s what sort of [uncle] I’ll always try and be," he said.

Murphy says James Middleton may have some friendly competition in being the "fun" uncle.

"Harry has got the reputation as being naughty Uncle Harry. He likes to have a laugh," Murphy said. "He's going take the opportunity after this next baby is born to spend some time with Prince George and also to get to know the new baby."


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Monday
Apr272015

British Couple Could Be Oldest Newlyweds in the World

Tony Kershaw/SWNS.com(LONDON) -- A U.K. couple is taking love to the limit; age limit, that is.

Doreen Luckie, 91, is engaged to her 102-year-old boyfriend, George Kirby, and when the pair wed this June, their combined age will be 194, potentially making them the oldest newlyweds in the world.

"I didn’t think that was possible. Because you hear so many people living into their hundreds now, and lots of people in their nineties, I thought, ‘Well, we can’t be the only ones,’” Luckie told Metro UK, which first reported the story.

The record for "oldest couple to marry, aggregate age" is based on "the combined number of years and days both individuals had lived to taken at the day of marriage," Kristen Ott, a representative for Guinness World Records, told ABC News.

While Luckie and Kirby have submitted their application for the record, they will still need to submit evidence from the day of the marriage for review.

The organization is a stickler for paperwork.

When Lillian Hartley and Allan Marks of Indio, California, wed in 2012 with more than 193 combined years under their belts, many news outlets, including ABC News, reported the couple as having broken the previous record set by a French couple in 2002.

But, it turned out, Hartley and Marks may have been too distracted by their honeymoon.

"Lillian and Allan were never recognized as it seems they never submitted a formal application," Ott said. "All record attempts must be submitted through our application process in order to be recognized."

Francois Fernandez and Madeline Francineau, who exchanged marriage vows at the rest home Le Foyer du Romarin in Clapiers, France, in 2002, are recognized by Guinness World Records as the record-holder in this category with 190 years 126 days between them at the time of their vows.

Luckie and Kirby will be married at their residence, the Langham Hotel, owned by Kirby's son, in Eastbourne, East Sussex on June 13.


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Monday
Apr272015

See the Moment a Great White Shark Attacked a Film Crew

iStock/Thinkstock(AUCKLAND, New Zealand) -- Groups protesting the shark cage-diving industry in New Zealand are now using footage of a great white shark attacking two film crew members on a small boat to highlight what they see as a growing problem.

The video was part of the Discovery documentary, Lair of the Megashark, which aired last year.

Two film crew members can be seen on a small inflatable boat when suddenly, a shark lunges and can be seen trying to bite the dinghy's rope connecting it to a larger boat.

"I don't think this is such a brilliant f****** idea you know," a voice can be heard saying. "I don't think we can have a boat in there. I really don't."

Many locals believe close encounters such as these are the result of cage-diving, which makes sharks comfortable around boats and humans, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Fisherman Richard Squires told the newspaper he was attacked by sharks recently -- and believes sharks are getting more comfortable around boats because of cage diving.

"We've been attacked twice," he said. "A shark came up and bit a buoy on the stern of the vessel, it came charging out of the water with its mouth open."

The Herald added New Zealand's First Members of Parliament Clayton Mitchell and Winston Peters went to a public meeting about the shark problem last week.

"We are calling on the government to put a moratorium on this and actually do a comprehensive study on what the impact [of cage diving] is," Mitchell said. "When you start bringing the sharks in close to your boat for the thrill-seekers, like any animal, their behavior becomes modified."

However, Allan Munn, who directs conservation services for the southern South Island, told the Herald it was "highly unlikely" shark diving had anything to do with increased great white activity.

A few miles away in Southern Australia, a 26-year-old surfer was in critical condition Monday following a shark attack this past Saturday, local Adelaide paper, The Advertiser, reported.

Local fishermen said the "attack does not bode well for the popular shark diving industry who they say we’re looking to expand their operations to those waters," The Advertiser reported.


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Monday
Apr272015

Nepal Earthquake Rescue Teams En Route in Wake of Devastation

JEAN-PIERRE MULLER/AFP/Getty Images(KATHMANDU, Nepal) — Rescue crews from around the globe are headed to Nepal in the race to provide disaster relief and pull survivors still beneath the rubble in the wake of Saturday's earthquake that toppled temples, triggered a Mt. Everest avalanche and devastated the capital of Kathmandu.

This comes as officials said Monday that death toll had surpassed 4,000.

The U.S. government is providing an additional $9 million in assistance, Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday, in addition to the $1 million already provided.

U.S. disaster relief teams are en route to join U.S. Special Forces already in Nepal. A search-and-rescue team from California took off for Nepal late Sunday night, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Crews from Israel, Japan, Australia, India, China, Germany, Canada and New Zealand are also headed to the region.

[ CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN HELP THE VICTIMS OF THE EARTHQUAKE ]

Even social media is contributing to the rescue efforts. Facebook has activated its “safety check” feature, which allows users to tell friends and family they are safe. Google has also activated its own disaster tool called “person finder” and is updating satellite imagery to help with relief efforts.

At Mt. Everest, where the magnitude-7.8 quake triggered an avalanche, three helicopters have started to rescue up to 150 stranded mountaineers. The mountain is too treacherous to walk down; the only way to evacuate safely is by helicopter.

Kat Heldman of San Diego was on Mt. Everest when the deadly avalanche struck, which she described as "a white billowing cloud."

"I thought I was dead," Heldman said.

Tents, clothing and oxygen supplies are strewn across the mountain as rescuers try to reach survivors before supplies run out or another aftershock hits. Nearly the entire 100,000-soldier Nepalese army is involved in rescue operations, the army said. Many climbers remain unaccounted for.

In Kathmandu, many streets are impassable, filled not only with rubble but with the injured. Drone footage captures the chaos in the streets as global rescue teams continue to dig through collapsed buildings in search for buried survivors.

Thousands of people are fleeing Kathmandu, unwilling to go into any building, fearing the effects of another aftershock.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Apr272015

Nepal Earthquake: Americans Trying to Get Out Describe 'Really Bad' Situation

Omar Havana/Getty Images(KATHMANDU, Nepal) -- Alex Diaz is just one of hundreds of Americans stuck at Kathmandu airport trying to flee the aftermath of this weekend's deadly quake in Nepal.

Diaz, who hails from New York, described the situation at the airport as a “complete madhouse” -- with many Americans stuck trying to leave the disaster ravaged country.

“It's really bad," he told ABC News. "Flights are not leaving, or landing fast enough, so many diversions. My flight out is stuck in Dhaka."

As the situation worsens at the airport, officials announced on Monday that the death toll had topped 4,000.

Diaz was visiting Nepal when the quake struck and is now urgently trying to leave along with countless Americans.

The U.S. State Department has not indicated exactly how many Americans are in Nepal who are trying to get out.

Diaz said the situation at Kathmandu airport it is “past desperate."

"We are just exhausted and resigned," he added. "Some people have been in this terminal for days. Basically you’re living landing to landing. If your plane can land and only then you can get out, but you don’t know which ones will land."

Diaz says people are sitting in the terminal tracking flights on flightradar24.

"Every so often one lands and that airline’s people scuttle to the super crowded gates or they run out of fuel and divert and everyone madly dashes out to the ticket counters. You just don’t know which ones will leave," he said.


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Monday
Apr272015

Nepal Earthquake: For Climbers on Mount Everest, a Terrifying Tragedy

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Nick Cienski considers himself fortunate.

He was on Mount Everest with his team when a massive earthquake -- and avalanche -- hit. The disasters are responsible for more than 4,000 deaths, plus 18 people killed on the mountain.

Cienski was located at the edge of the avalanche.

“When you looked up and saw this thing coming at you, it was like out of a Hollywood movie. It was huge, this huge wave of snow,” he said in an interview with ABC News. “We just hunkered into our tents and started praying and lived through it.”

Cienski didn’t initially believe that it was an earthquake, but he understood the gravity of the situation when the snow headed in his direction.

“Once we hunkered into our tent, my wife and I were just sort of huddled in our sleeping bags holding each other and this whole tent was just moving with the wind and the snow being pelted into it,” he said. "You can’t really describe it. It was incredibly terrifying. We had no idea if we were going to get ripped off the ground inside these tents and flung into rocks and who knows what, and thank the Lord we weren’t."

Cienski and his wife started working their way to harder-hit areas, witnessing the destruction -- the winds, rocks and ice ripping through tents.

“Some people were incredibly badly broken up,” Cienski said. “The early evening was the most difficult, as we started to retrieve bodies. It was very difficult. Some of these people were incredibly badly damaged and hurt and, in some cases, in pieces, and so the evening was very, very somber, indeed.”


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Monday
Apr272015

Nepal Earthquake: Death Toll Continues to Rise

Abigail Hunter(KATHMANDU, Nepal ) — The U.S. government is offering help to Nepal following Saturday's massive 7.8 earthquake that killed at over 4,000 people, including four Americans. Powerful aftershocks have continued non-stop since the temblor struck, terrifying survivors as thousands are forced to sleep out in the open.

Along with $10 million to help with quake relief, U.S. specialized disaster response teams are being dispatched to Nepal to help in the search for survivors.

A team from USAID will also determine how much long-term help the U.S. can provide.

 [CLICK HERE TO VIEW A SLIDESHOW OF THE DAMAGE CAUSED BY THE EARTHQUAKE IN NEPAL]

The quake near the capital of Kathmandu occurred just before noon local time Saturday, toppling temples and triggering an avalanche on Mt. Everest that killed at least 18 climbers and guides and injured many others.

Seattle-based Madison Mountaineering said on its website that Marisa Eve Girawong was a camp medic who was killed when the avalanche hit her base camp. Google executive Dan Fredinburg was also killed in the avalanche.  He was also on Mt. Everest last year in April when another big avalanche hit.

Abigail Hunter, an American traveling in the Nepalese city of Bhaktapur, witnessed people pulling victims out of buildings and using motorbikes and small trucks as makeshift ambulances.

She said the earthquake reduced many of the temples to rubble, adding that she saw "lots of people praying to the actual temples" as aftershocks hit the city.

Hunter said she watched as families ran to their homes to see if anyone was still inside.

Hundreds of American citizens also remain in Nepal, with many of them sheltering in compounds and others trying to leave amid fear and frenzy in the earthquake-ravaged country.

Ineke Stoneham, press and information officer with the public affairs section for the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, said hundreds of inquiries -- from Kathmandu and through the Washington consular call center -- have been made regarding the welfare and whereabouts of American citizens.

About 3,000 American citizens reside in Nepal, and 3,000 to 4,000 Americans usually visit Nepal during the current peak tourism season, Stoneham said.

About 75 American citizens are sheltering in the embassy, while about 150 others are sheltering at the Phora Durbar compound, Stoneham said.

American Lauren Sanchez, who visited with friends and planned to attend a wedding, spent the past two days in Kathmandu and was staying at the U.S. Embassy.

“I landed half an hour before the earthquake hit. When the first big earthquake hit, it was hard to comprehend what was happening -- everyone was running out of the airport screaming,” she wrote in a message to ABC News. “Over the next 24 hours, we suffered a dozen large aftershocks that served as a constant reminder of how vulnerable we were. We slept with hundreds of Nepalese in a large, open field -- the only safe haven from the constant shocks.”

Before Sanchez visited the embassy, a Sherpa family had looked after her and others affected by the earthquake, she said.


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Monday
Apr272015

Finnish Man Nearly Finished with Country After $60K Speeding Ticket

plusphoto/amanaimagesRF/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A wealthy Finn is fed up with his country after being slapped with a speeding ticket that topped a hundred thousand dollars.

According to the local publication Italehti, Finland's speeding fines are linked to the wealth of the offender, and thanks to businessman Reima Kuisla's 2013 salary of over four million bucks, his ticket for doing 64 miles an hour in a 50 mile per hour zone will cost him 54,000 Euros, or the equivalent of more than 58,600 U.S. dollars.

Kuisla took to Facebook to complain about the fine, saying, "I would have thought ten years ago that I should seriously consider moving abroad. Finland is an impossible country...for certain kinds of people with large incomes..."


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Sunday
Apr262015

Three Americans Among Dead in Nepal Earthquake

ABC News(KATHMANDU, Nepal) -- Three Americans were among the thousands killed in a massive earthquake that struck Nepal's capital on Saturday.

The State Department hasn't identified any of the three, but two of the Americans were killed in an avalanche on Mt. Everest that was triggered by the magnitude 7.8-earthquake near Kathmandu.

Seattle-based Madison Mountaineering said on its website that Marisa Eve Girawong was a camp medic who was killed when the avalanche hit her base camp. Google executive Dan Fredinburg was also killed in the avalanche.

Girawong, a physician's assistant, had attended school in Chicago and focused on trauma and wilderness medicine, said Madison Mountaineering. An avid rock climber and mountaineer, she had reached the summits of Mt. Washington and Mt. Rainier.

The earthquake has killed more than 2,100.


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