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Friday
Sep242010

Tropical Storm Matthew Takes Aim at Central America

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MIAMI) -- Tropical Storm Matthew is forecast to come ashore in the sparsely populated border of Nicaragua and Honduras later Friday.  It will continue affecting the region throughout the weekend, and is projected to make a second landfall in Belize early Sunday before weakening over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula thereafter.  Matthew threatens to bring heavy rain, which could exceed a foot in some areas, as well as flooding and mudslides as it slows and passes through the mountain ranges in Central America.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep232010

Strangers Connect Online to Commit Suicide

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images.(LONDON) -- A woman and a man found each other through an online posting looking for a partner -- to end their lives together. Shortly after meeting in person, Joanne Lee and Stephen Lumb got into Lee's car and committed suicide.  The double suicide of two strangers has stunned Great Britain where it occurred and surprised suicide experts.  "It's very, very unusual," said Essex Police press officer Heather Watts who said she's never seen anything like this in her 20 years on the police force. "We have had double suicides, but not under the circumstance where they'd never met in person....I saw it as a sign of the times when people meet and do things on the Internet."  Lee, 34, and Lumb, 35, are believed to have met on an Internet forum that discusses suicide when she put up a notice seeking a partner to help her die.  "I haven't the strength to do this alone. I have all the ingredients and want to do it ASAP," Lee wrote, according to London's "Daily Mail." Britain has about 6,000 suicides per year, low compared to many other countries like Japan. It also does not have a culture of suicide with strangers that has grown rapidly in Japan in recent years. The suicide rate in the U.S. is 11.5 per 100,000, about 35,000 people per year.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.

Thursday
Sep232010

'Lady Qaeda' Gets 86 Years For Shooting at U.S. Soldiers

Image Courtesy - ABC News Radio(NEW YORK) -- Aafia Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years in federal prison Thursday, following her February conviction for attempted murder of U.S. government officials. Siddiqui was allegedly caught in Afghanistan with cyanide, documents indicating attacks on the U.S., including landmarks in New York City, but the MIT-trained neuroscientist was tried and convicted in a simple criminal case for firing a rifle at FBI agents and U.S. soldiers.

Before Judge Richard Berman announced the sentence, Siddiqui gave a meandering 30-minute speech. "I didn't take any notes," she said. "I wasn't planning on speaking. I was planning on sleeping." She also asked the Muslims in the courtroom to forgive the court. "I don't want any bloodshed.  I don't want any violence in my name."

Though Siddiqui was not charged with terrorism, terrorism enhancements were applied to her sentence. As Judge Berman was about to announce the sentence of 86 years, Siddiqui supporter Sara Flounders, an activist with the International Action Center, yelled, "Shame! Shame! Shame on this court!"

Siddiqui, 38, was convicted earlier this year after an often raucous trial that ended the way it began, with Siddiqui yelling at jurors and shouting to spectators.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.

Thursday
Sep232010

U.N. Kicks off 65th General Assembly in New York

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio(UNITED NATIONS) -- Heads of state from around the world, including the U.S., Iran, China, Haiti, Zimbabwe, and Palestine, gathered in New York Thursday morning for the 65th United Nations General Assembly. The debate began with remarks from U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

“In Afghanistan, we carry on our work despite exceptionally difficult security and humanitarian conditions," Ban said. "We will seek to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula." The Secretary General's speech highlighted what he called diplomatic victories of the United Nations in the midst of some of the world’s most pressing conflicts. "On Iran, we continue to urge the government to engage constructively with the international community," Ban told the assembly. "In the Middle East, we see encouraging movement toward a comprehensive peace.”

President Obama addressed the assembly Thursday. Absent from the room during Obama's speech was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Israeli President Shimon Peres. The Israeli delegation was not at the U.N. Thursday in observance of the Jewish holiday Sukkot.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.

Thursday
Sep232010

Tensions Between China and Japan Escalate Over Fishing Boat Captain

Image Courtesy: ABC News(BEIJING) -- Tensions continue to escalate between China and Japan over Japan's detention of a Chinese fishing boat captain.  As previously reported, the boating collision on Sept. 7 has already marred the relationship between both countries.

On Thursday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao issued a stern warning, stating, "If Japan clings to its course, China will take further action.  Tokyo bears all responsibility for the situation and it will bear all consequences."  Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Yoshito Songoku, appealed for a calm dialogue. "We hope Japan and China will hold high-level talks as soon as possible to ease the diplomatic row," he told a press conference.

But there are now concerns that China is escalating the war of words, taking aim at Japan's economy. According to a report in the New York Times Thursday, China is halting shipments of rare-earth minerals to Japan. These vital minerals are used by Japan in high-tech products like hybrid cars and wind turbines.  China has denied any official trade embargo, but the mere hint of a halt in exports is likely to raise fears in Japan.

One Chinese company already announced it would a cancel a long-prepared trip of some 10,000 staff members to Japan in October in order "to stand on national dignity." The cancellation was expected to bring a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Tourism between the two countries has also been affected, and in China millions have taken to the Internet calling for a boycott of Japanese goods.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep232010

End of Israeli Settlement Freeze Threatens Peace Talks

Image Courtesy: ABC News(JERUSALEM) -- On Sunday, Israel's 10 month freeze on settlement construction in the Palestinian territories is scheduled to end. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warns if it is not extended, he will pull out of freshly launched peace negotiations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shows no sign of agreeing.

Despite U.S. attempts to conjure a last minute compromise, the issue threatens to destroy the talks and what promised a limited foreign policy success story for the Obama administration.

In the Jewish settlement of Efrat, just 20 minutes south of Jerusalem but deep in the West Bank, settlers, many of whom are immigrants from the U.S., are itching to start building again. Less than a mile away, Palestinians from the village of Wadi Nis are determined to not let that happen.

"I think there was never any justification for it to come in the first place and there's definitely no justification for it to carry on," Efrat's Mayor Oded Revivi expressed.

Others in Efrat reject the Palestinians' insistence on a building freeze, calling it an unnecessary precondition to negotiations.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep222010

Israeli Official Says Strikes on 'Bottlenecks' Could Cripple Iran's Nuke Program

Image Courtesy: ABC News.(NEW YORK) -- A top Israeli warned Wednesday that Iran's vast nuclear program could be crippled for years with air strikes on just a "few bottlenecks, important ones."  Israel's public calculation came a day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed that he would unleash a "war without boundaries" on the U.S. if it allowed Israel to attack its nuclear complex. "War is not just bombs," the Iranian president threatened.  Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Dan Ayalon was asked Wednesday in an exclusive interview with ABC News whether Iran's nuclear facilities face potential air strikes, nuclear or otherwise, by Israel or the United States.  "Let me answer hypothetically," Ayalon responded. "We know that the operation, this illegal operation in Iran, is vast. It's enormous. So that, of course, begs the question, can it be taken out? The short answer is yes."  "But if I needed to elaborate," Ayalon added, "I would say that it would be enough to just take out a few bottlenecks, important ones, just to put their program behind for years."  Ayalon said that now is a time to hope for real change in Iran, but despite the fact that Iran is under international sanctions, it has continued to advance its nuclear program. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.

Tuesday
Sep212010

Famed Corruption Fighter Announces Run for Nigeria Presidency

(NEW YORK) -- Former Nigerian anti-corruption chief Nuhu Ribadu has announced he will run for Nigeria's top job next year. Ribadu had earned worldwide acclaim and the nickname of Africa's "Eliot Ness" for his willingness to take on some of Nigeria's most powerful political figures on corruption charges.

Ribadu told reporters in the capital city of Abuja he planned to run for president as part of the Action Congress of Nigeria, a new party that's a breakaway faction from one of the country's leading political parties.

Under Ribadu's former leadership of Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nigeria's top police official was convicted on corruption charges and investigations of a former vice president and 31 of the country's governors were launched.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Photo Courtesy of ABC News

Tuesday
Sep212010

President Ahmedinejad Threatens U.S. With War 'Without Boundaries'

(NEW YORK) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad warned the Obama administration Tuesday if Iran's nuclear facilities are attacked, the U.S. will face a war that "would know no boundaries."  Ahmedinejad, who is in New York for the annual meetings of the United Nations General Assembly, spoke at a breakfast meeting with reporters and editors at Manhattan's Warwick Hotel.  He said that Iran is on the brink of becoming a nuclear power and warned Israel and the U.S. against attacking its nuclear facilities.

When asked about the possibility of a U.S.-supported Israeli air strike against Iran, the fiery Iranian leader said an attack would be considered an act of war and suggested the U.S. is unprepared for the consequences. He said such a war "would know no boundaries.  War is not just bombs."

Iran claims it has no plans to make a nuclear weapon, but the country is faced with United Nations sanctions, spearheaded by the U.S., which are meant to convince Iran to comply with international regulations and abandon its nuclear program.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Photo Courtesy of ABC News

Tuesday
Sep212010

Tensions Rising Between China and Japan 

(BEIJING) -- A collision two weeks ago between a Chinese fishing boat and two Japanese coast guard patrol ships off the hotly disputed Diaoyu Islands has rapidly devolved into a bilateral crisis, pitting the two countries against each other in their worst diplomatic row in years.

On Tuesday, Japan's government warned that its country and China to beware of fomenting nationalism over the ongoing dispute.  Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku told a news conference said, "We should be careful not to stir up narrow-minded, extreme nationalism." He added, "We should try to resolve the problem without escalating the situation and we'll call for measures through all possible channels."


At the moment, that might be tough. China said today it would be "inappropriate" for the countries' premiers to meet this week at the United Nations.  It has cut off all high-level government contact with Japan and suspended talks on aviation and energy exploration.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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