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Thursday
Dec022010

Russia, Qatar to Host 2018 and 2022 World Cups

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ZURICH) -- FIFA's executive committee announced Thursday that Russia will host the 2018 World Cup and Qatar will host the following tournament in 2022.

Russia beat out England and joint bids by Spain and Portugal, as well as the Netherlands and Belgium. Russia becomes the first Eastern European country to host the World Cup.

Qatar topped bids from the U.S., Australia, Japan and South Korea.  It becomes the smallest country and the first in the Middle East to host the event.

President Obama commented on the decision saying, "I think it was the wrong decision. But I continue to be optimistic that our team -- wherever we're playing -- is gonna make it to the finals the next time."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec022010

WikiLeaks Founder in Britain; Swedish Court Upholds His Arrest Order

Photo Courtesy - Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The founder of WikiLeaks faces criticism for revealing secret documents, as well as very personal legal trouble, which is why authorities want to talk to him.

ABC News has confirmed that Julian Assange is in Britain, and British police know how to reach him.  The 39-year-old's lawyers said he supplied police with a phone number and address when he arrived in the country back in October.

British police are waiting for clarification from authorities in Sweden, where a court has ruled that Assange cannot appeal against an arrest order issued over alleged sexual crimes.

Two Swedish women have accused Assange of sexually assaulting them after he visited the country in August.  He denies the accusations and has not been formally charged.

This week, Interpol issued a so-called red notice against him, and he can be arrested in 188 countries.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec022010

Qantas Seeks Compensation; Investigators Identify Engine Defect

Photo Courtesy - Pascal Parrot/Getty Images(SYDNEY) -- Qantas Airways is taking legal action against Rolls-Royce, seeking compensation from the superjumbo engine manufacturer.

The airline filed a statement of claim in the Federal Court of Australia Thursday, opening the door to gaining a settlement from Rolls-Royce at some point.

“[Thursday's] action allows Qantas to keep all options available to the company to recover losses, as a result of the grounding of the A380 fleet and the operational constraints currently imposed on A380 services,” Sydney-based airline said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has identified the cause of the engine explosion that forced a Qantas Airbus A380 to make an emergency landing in Singapore on Nov. 4.  In a statement released Thursday, the bureau cites a "potential manufacturing defect with an oil tube connection" in the engine.

Qantas grounded all six of its superjumbo jets for three weeks following the incident.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec012010

House Passes Help Haiti Act for Displaced Haitian Orphans

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The House has passed by voice vote the Help Haiti Act, which makes up to 1,400 Haitian orphans displaced by the earthquake earlier this year permanent U.S. residents. The bill will now go to President Obama’s desk for his signature.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer called the bill an “important piece of humanitarian legislation” that continues the U.S. response to the earthquake that devastated Haiti last January.

“Following the earthquake, more than 1,000 Haitian orphans were brought to the United States by adoptive American families,” Hoyer said. “The bill we passed today ensures that those children, just like all other children adopted from abroad, will have permanent resident status. For the adoptive parents who generously took Haitian orphans into their homes, the guarantee of permanent resident status means that their children will enjoy a full range of legal protections and will no longer be stuck in legal limbo.”

“The adoption of more than 1,000 orphans has been in proud keeping with America’s tradition as a welcoming refuge,” Hoyer added. “I am happy that this bill, which is now ready for President Obama’s signature, gives full legal recognition to these adopted children and paves the way for what I am sure will be their important contributions to our country.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec012010

China Opens Doors to First Outside Financial Group

Photo Courtesy -- HomeCredit.net(BEIJING) – A Czech finance lender has become the first such company to operate in China, according to the Financial Times.

Home Credit Group beat out several of the world’s largest financial groups to become the first foreign company allowed to provide consumer loans in the country. 

China granted the company a license to provide small loans in the eastern city of Tianjin.

The company has actually operated in China since 2008, but it was previously required to partner with a local institution to offer credit products. Loans offered by the group will target Chinese families earning under $500 a month who may have little or no credit history.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec012010

Inexperienced Pilot Adjusts Seat, Nearly Crashes Plane

Photo Courtesy - USAir.com(PUNE, India) A 25-year-old co-pilot almost killed his 113 passengers when he tried to move his seat and accidently sent the Boeing 737 into a terrifying 7,000-foot plunge.

The inexperienced young co-pilot inadvertently pressed the control column forward, causing the plane to do a 26-degree nose dive, according to a report from India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation. He was not trained to remedy an extreme situation, and had the pilot, who had gone to the bathroom, not returned in time, the aircraft might have broken apart.

The 39-year-old captain had to use a secret code to reenter the cockpit and pull the plane out of its dive. The aircraft was not damaged, and no one was injured.

The nearly disastrous incident occurred on May 25 on a flight from Dubai.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec012010

Hillary Clinton To Discuss North Korea With Japan and South Korea Next Week

Photo Courtesy - Yonhap News Agency(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet with her Japanese and South Korean counterparts in Washington, D.C. on Monday to discuss a coordinated response to North Korea’s recent aggressions, namely its shelling of a South Korean island last week.

The move is a rebuff of China, who was not invited and has been trying to call an emergency meeting of the Six Party Talks following last week’s attack.

The U.S. and South Korea have balked at the request, saying they don’t want to be seen as rewarding to the North Koreans with a meeting every time Pyongyang takes a provocative step.

“We are not interested in talks, and talks are no substitute for having North Korea fulfill its international obligations, meet its commitments and cease provocations.  As North Korea demonstrates a willingness to do that, then we will act accordingly,” State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley told reporters today when asked why the U.S. hadn’t agreed to a meeting with North Korea.

The early afternoon meeting will be followed by a joint press conference.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec012010

Iran Agrees To Nuke Talks Next Week

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(ASTANA, Kazakhstan) -- Iran has agreed to meet next week with the group of countries seeking to curb its alleged nuclear weapons ambitions, the EU announced Wednesday.

The so-called P5+1 will sit down with Iran’s negotiator in Geneva on Monday and Tuesday, the first such meeting since October 1, 2009. Under Secretary of State William Burns will represent the United States.

The group is expected to lay out an updated offer to Iran that would provide fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor while removing Iran’s uranium stockpile. Under the terms of the proposed deal, much of Iran’s uranium would be sent abroad for enrichment and in return Iran would receive fuel for the reactor for electricity generation. Such a deal does not allow Iran to enrich its own fuel and divert it for military programs.

The updated offer is similar to one Iran agreed to last year but backed out from. This one, however, would involve double the amount of fuel being sent out of the country to account for Iran’s continued production. Additionally, the P5+1 would demand that Iran halt enriching its own uranium to 20%, which allows it to perfect techniques needed to create bomb-grade highly enriched uranium.

“We are encouraged that Iran has agreed to meet in Geneva next week with representatives of the P5+1," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday in Astana. "rThis is an opportunity for Iran to come to the table and discuss the matters that are of concern to the international community:  first and foremost, their nuclear program.”

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, meanwhile, has said that his country won’t budge at the talks.
 
Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec012010

United States Is Prepared To Protect Dissidents Named In Wikileaks Cables

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department said Wednesday the U.S. is prepared to protect dissidents and activists who have spoken with U.S. embassies abroad and may be in danger after having been outted by the Wikileaks cables.

“We've done everything that we can to reach out to them.  We are prepared to -- to help protect them if that becomes necessary,” spokesman PJ Crowley told reporters.

“We believe that the release of these cables definitely puts real lives at risk,” he added.

Crowley said he was unaware of any cases so far of activists being persecuted as a result of the cables’ release, but this was one of the issues that most worried the State Department last week ahead of the Wikileaks release. Officials worked with news organizations to redact as many names and identifying information as possible that could identify which human rights activists or political opposition figures in authoritarian countries had spoken to the U.S.

Asked if the U.S. was prepared to provide such individuals asylum, Crowley suggested that may not be on the table, saying “asylum is a particular category that -- that has a particular, you know, standard of care associated with it, but if -- if we have to help relocate people, you know, for a period of time, we are prepared to do that.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec012010

Hillary Clinton Greets Foreign Leaders In The Wake Of Wikileaks Disaster

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio(ASTANA, Kazakhstan) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi with both a smile and an explanation when the two met in Kazakhstan Wednesday for the first time since a raft of embarrassing secret diplomatic cables were released.

The Italian wasn't the only world leader to whom Clinton owed an explanation. The secretary of state arrived Tuesday in Astana, Kazakhstan, for a meeting on Afghan and regional security, but found herself surrounded by allies who American diplomats had described in less than diplomatic language.

In one cable, released this week by the website Wikileaks, Berlusconi is unflatteringly described as "feckless, vain and ineffective."

Berlusconi laughed off the incident, but, according to one source, he was angry that it created one more scandal in an already lengthy list for the Italian.

Greeting Clinton when she arrived in Astana was Kazakhstan's president, described in one lengthy cable as attending a nightclub and dancing alone for hours on a lighted stage.

Clinton said she did not believe the breach would seriously damage U.S. relations with any allies, but said she would discuss any foreign government's concerns over the leak.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio