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Sunday
Feb072016

Two Rescued From Collapsed Apartment After Taiwan Earthquake

ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images(TAINAN CITY, Taiwan) -- A woman and a man have been rescued from a collapsed apartment building days after a powerful earthquake hit Taiwan.

According to BBC, the woman was found underneath her husband's body and near the body of her two-year-old son.

The man was pulled alive from the rubble not long after, local media said.

At least 35 people died in the magnitude 6.4 earthquake that hit Tainan City on Friday, BBC reported, and more than 100 are believed to still be trapped inside the collapsed 17-story Weiguan Jinlong building.

Officials said most who died from the earthquake were in the apartment building, BBC reported.

The rescue effort is ongoing with at least 310 rescued from the apartment, according to BBC. About 100 of those rescued from the building had to be hospitalized.

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Sunday
Feb072016

Astronaut Scott Kelly Sees Super Bowl 50 From Space

Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Astronaut Scott Kelly may be spending a year in space, but he still made it to the Super Bowl.

At 17,500 mph, though, "it didn't last long," the astronaut tweeted Sunday night.

Here was his view:

Kelly's year in space will end in March.

Kelly is participating in a study along with his twin, former astronaut Mark Kelly, about the long-term effects on humans in space. The implications of the study are expected to help NASA better prepare for one day sending humans to Mars.

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Sunday
Feb072016

North Korea Missile Launch 'Strongly Condemned' by United Nations Security Council

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --   North Korea's long-range missile launch has been "strongly" and unanimously condemned by members of the United Nations Security Council Sunday.

During an emergency meeting over the launch Sunday, council members "restated their intent to develop significant" new sanctions against North Korea for violating UN resolutions, the UNSC said today in a statement.

The missile was launched from western North Korea on Saturday at 7:29 p.m. ET, or Sunday at 9:29 a.m. local time, in a trajectory that took it over the Yellow Sea, according to a U.S. official.

"U.S. Strategic Command systems detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean missile launch into space," U.S. Strategic Command said in a statement. The missile did not pose a threat to the U.S. or its allies, officials said.

The missile passed over Japan and landed near the Philippines, according to Japan's U.N. ambassador, Mothide Yoshikawa, who said the launch was "a clear threat to the lives of many people" before heading into today's closed council meeting.

China and the U.S. have been working on a new sanctions resolution since North Korea conducted a nuclear test on Jan. 6. Though North Korea claimed the nuclear test was a hydrogen bomb, U.S. officials said an analysis showed that was not the case.

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Sunday
Feb072016

Bus Explosion Sparks Panic Among Those Unaware It Was for a Movie

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- A double-decker bus was blown up on bridge in front of Parliament in London on Sunday morning, sparking panic from those nearby who were unaware it was done on a movie set.

The loud, fiery explosion was part of a stunt for The Foreigner, an upcoming action film starring Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan, according to city officials. Though the film's producers had warned neighboring residents about the blasts, some passer-bys and Twitter users said the city should have better notified the general public about the stunt.

Some said children in a nearby playground were frightened and "freaked" by the blast.

Others were worried the explosion was a real attack.

One Twitter user said the explosion brought back harrowing memories of the 2005 attack on London's transport system, in which 52 people were killed. A bus was also blown up in central London during that attack.

The Port of London Authority said Lambeth Bridge was closed to the public prior to the stunt, and members of the London Fire Brigade were on standby in case anything went wrong.

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Sunday
Feb072016

Six People Arrested in Spain With Alleged Ties to Terror Organizations

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(MADRID) -- Spain's Interior Ministry announced Sunday the arrests of six individuals for alleged links to terror organizations, ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.

The arrests include four Spanish citizens of Syrian, Jordanian and Moroccan origin as well as two Spanish residents of Syrian and Moroccan citizenship.

In a rough English translation, Spain's Ministry of Interior said the investigation began in 2014 and "has now allowed the dismantling of a cell whose members are integrated into the exterior structure of terrorist organizations of jihadist character located on the Syrian-Iraqi zone Jabhat Nusra (JAN), and Daesh [ISIS], by providing essential to support their terrorist activities logistical material."

The arrests were made in the Spanish cities of Valencia, Alicante, and Ceuta.

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Saturday
Feb062016

North Korea Launches Long-Range Missile, US Officials Say

Feng Li/Getty Images

(PYONGYANG, North Korea) -- U.S. officials said North Korea successfully launched a long-range missile, apparently into space, and condemned the move as another provocation from the country.

"U.S. Strategic Command systems detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean missile launch into space" said a statement from Strategic Command.

North Korean state media confirmed the launch in an noon announcement Sunday local time, and vowed that futures launches will take place.

But the missile did not pose a threat to the United States or its allies, officials said.

According to a U.S. official, the missile was launched from western North Korea at 7:29 PM ET in a trajectory that took it over the Yellow Sea.

The Japanese government said that the missile had traveled 2,000 kilometers south and parts had landed in the South China Sea.

A U.S. official said it appeared that the missile's third stage had entered space, which would be of major concern to those who have said that the North Korean "satellite launch" was really a cover for a test of its intercontinental ballistic missile technology.

The successful entry of the third stage into space would be of major concern to U.S. officials who have said that the North Korean "satellite launch" was really a cover for a test of its intercontinental ballistic missile technology.

"North Korea's launch using ballistic missile technology, following so closely after its January 6 nuclear test, represents yet another destabilizing and provocative action and is a flagrant violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions," said Susan Rice, National Security Adviser in a statement issued after Saturday night's launch.

"We condemn today's launch and North Korea's determination to prioritize its missile and nuclear weapons programs over the well-being of its people, whose struggles only intensify with North Korea’s diversion of scarce resources to such destabilizing activities" she added.

The United Nations Security Council will meet in an emergency session on Sunday to discuss the North Korean missile launch.

"We will continue to work with our partners and members of the UN Security Council on significant measures to hold the DPRK to account," said Secretary of State John Kerry in a statement.

In January, North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test that it claimed was a hydrogen bomb, though the United States said analysis showed that was not the case.

"This is the second time in just over a month that the DPRK has chosen to conduct a major provocation, threatening not only the security of the Korean peninsula, but that of the region and the United States as well," said Kerry.

"We reaffirm our ironclad commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan."

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Saturday
Feb062016

Deadly Earthquake Strikes Taiwan

STR/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- At least 11 people in Tainan, Taiwan died after an earthquake hit the area Friday, according to BBC News.

The 6.4 magnitude quake was 10 kilometers deep and centered on the southern end of the island.

More than 200 people have been rescued so far after a residential building collapsed and dozens other injured in the quake, says BBC News. At least 70 were hospitalized.

The United States Geological Survey assessment said the quake was shallow but that there was 'severe' shaking.

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Saturday
Feb062016

Avalanche in Austrian Alps Kills Five Czech Skiers

GlennVermeesch/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Five Czech skiers are dead after an avalanche in the Austrian Alps, reports BBC News.

Two other people were injured in the avalanche, said local police, but there are no further details at this time of their conditions.

This season, there have been several deadly avalanches in the French Alps, says BBC News.

In January, an avalanche on a closed slope in Les Deux Alps in France killed two middle school students and a Ukrainian citizen.

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Friday
Feb052016

Feds Eye Laptop Bomb in Somalia Mid-Air Explosion, Sources Say

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(MOGADISHU, Somalia) -- Investigators believe that an explosion aboard a plane in Somalia was likely caused by a small bomb that was placed inside of a laptop, sources familiar with the probe said.

A small team of FBI agents has arrived in Somalia to help authorities in the East African nation investigate the cause of the explosion this week at 11,000 feet.

The A-321 jetliner made an emergency landing and returned to the airport, but two passengers were hurt. It’s believed one person may have been sucked out of the plane through a relatively small hole left by the explosion -- possibly the bomber.

It is still unclear exactly who is responsible for planning the explosion, but authorities are looking into whether the al Qaeda-linked terrorist group al-Shabab, based in Somalia, may be behind it, and they're not ready to rule out ISIS, sources said.

Many of the passengers on the flight were originally scheduled to be on a Turkish Airlines flight but the flight was canceled "due to operational reasons" and bad weather, according to Turkish Airlines spokesman Yahya Ustun.

An FBI spokesman declined to comment for this article, referring questions to Somali authorities.

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Friday
Feb052016

Pentagon Releases Photos of Alleged Detainee Abuse by US in Iraq, Afghanistan

John Moore/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon released 198 photos Friday that were taken as part of an investigation into allegations of abuse or mistreatment of detainees held by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2001 to 2009.

The pictures were released in compliance with a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the ACLU in 2004 seeking the release of 2,000 pictures the organization said documented what it called abuse or torture of detainees by the U.S. military.

The photos released Friday were taken by independent criminal investigators looking into 56 allegations of mistreatment and abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2001 to 2009, according to the Department of Defense.

Of those 56 allegations, 14 were substantiated and 42 were not, a Pentagon spokesman said, noting that 65 service members received some form of disciplinary action ranging from non-judicial letters of reprimand to life imprisonment. Of the 65 service members who were disciplined, 26 were convicted in courts-martial, the spokesman said.

Some of the photos are close-ups of parts of bodies that appear to show injuries such as bruising, while others show full-body images of detainees in various forms of detention by the U.S. military.

The ACLU filed its original FOIA request in October 2003, noting that "Recent news reports indicate that individuals apprehended after September 11, 2001, and held by the United States at military bases or detention facilities outside the United States ("Detainees") have in some cases been tortured or subjected to interrogation techniques that are prohibited by international and United States law."

In 2004, the ACLU filed a lawsuit to enforce the FOIA after photographs were published by media organizations showing prisoner abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

The 198 images were released by the Pentagon after they had gone through a review process required by the Protected National Security Documents Act of 2009 (PNSDA).

That 2015 review of some 2,000 photos taken by the investigators looked to see whether the photos should remain "protected" based on whether making the photos public "would endanger citizens of the United States, members of the U.S. Armed Forces, or employees of the U.S. Government deployed outside the United States," the Pentagon spokesman said.

The photos released were deemed to no longer meet those criteria and have been made public by the Pentagon. The ACLU is continuing a legal fight seeking the release of the additional 1,800 or so photos currently in "protected" status.

"The disclosure of these photos is long overdue, but more important than the disclosure is the fact that hundreds of photographs are still being withheld," ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said Friday in a statement. "The still-secret pictures are the best evidence of the serious abuses that took place in military detention centers. The government's selective disclosure risks misleading the public about the true extent of the abuse."

ACLU staff attorney Alex Abdo noted that the Defense Department is pointing to the "punishment of a handful of low-level soldiers."

"[B]ut the scandal is that no senior official has been held accountable or even investigated for the systemic abuse of detainees,” Abdo said in a statement. "What the photos that the government has suppressed would show is that abuse was so widespread that it could only have resulted from policy or a climate calculated to foster abuse. That is why the government must release all of the photos and why today's selective disclosure is so troubling."

As a precautionary move, U.S. embassies have provided local warnings to U.S. citizens about the pending release of the photos in case they spark outrage overseas, U.S. officials said Friday.

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