Spanish Golfer Seve Ballesteros Dies

JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images(CANTABRIA, Spain) -- Spanish golfer Seve Ballesteros has died. He was 54.

According to a statement posted on his website, Ballesteros died at his family’s home in Pedreña, Spain, shortly after 2 a.m. local time Saturday.

Ballesteros’ death comes after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor on October 5, 2008. On Friday his family had announced that Ballesteros’ neurological condition had severely worsened.

A statement on his website said that the Ballesteros family was “grateful for all the support and gestures of love that have been received” since he was diagnosed, and that the family asks for respect and privacy at this time.

In reaction to Ballesteros’ death, fellow golfer Tiger Woods posted a three-part message on his Twitter account Saturday saying: “I was deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Seve Ballesteros. I always enjoyed spending time with him at the Champions dinner each year at the Masters. Seve was one of the most talented and exciting golfers to ever play the game… His creativity and inventiveness on the golf course may never be surpassed. His death came much too soon.”

Ballesteros won over 80 titles during his golfing career including wins at the Open and the Augusta Masters.

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U.S. Drones Target Anwar al-Awlaki

AFPI/US AIR FORCE(SANA’A, Yemen) -- Less than a week after Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in a raid in Pakistan, U.S. drones have tried to killed radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, according to U.S. officials.

Officials say the missile strike did not succeed in killing Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric who has become a leading voice of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemeni affiliate of al Qaeda.

Yemeni officials said two al Qaeda operatives were killed in the Thursday strike in a remote area of Yemen.

The attempt to kill Awlaki was the first acknowledged U.S military strike inside Yemen in a year. In May 2010, missiles killed an envoy of Yemeni president Saleh by mistake. Unlike previous strikes in Yemen that have involved Tomahawk cruise missile launched by Navy ships, Thursday's strike involved a predator drone. Until now, drones flying over Yemen had been unarmed.

In early 2010, the Obama administration authorized the CIA and the U.S. military to kill Awlaki even though he is a U.S. citizen. Born in New Mexico, Awlaki moved to Yemen in 2004. Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad said he was inspired by Awlaki, and accused Ft. Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan exchanged emails with Awlaki.

In September, the Yemeni government said it had surrounded Awlaki in the village of Houta, but then said it had instead captured two-dozen al Qaeda fighters and a "vital terror headquarters."

In a statement, the Yemeni government said the military was still "combing the area, searching for militants before declaring the area safe for its residents to return." The military says the battle began after a failed attack by AQAP on a pipeline. Thousands of civilians fled their homes in the wake of the fighting.

Yemeni officials said they believed Awlaki was near the village with a group of suspected al Qaeda militants. But a Yemeni diplomat who had spoken to military commanders on the scene told ABC News there was no confirmation that Awlaki was at the location.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Father of Soldier Captured by Taliban Pleads for Son's Release

Majid Saeedi/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The father of Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier being held captive by the Taliban, released a statement on YouTube Friday pleading for the safe release of his son in the wake of the U.S. killing of Osama bin Laden.

"Our son is being exploited. It is past time for Bowe and the others to come home," said Robert Bergdahl in a video statement posted online.

In the three-minute message, he addresses the Pakistani military and thanked the Taliban commanders holding his son.

"Strangely, to some, we must also thank those who have cared for our son for almost 2 years," said Bergdahl. "We understand the rationale the Islamic Emirate has made through videos ... our son's safe return will only heighten public awareness of this."

He asked the Pakistani Army, which has been fighting the Taliban in the border region, to help secure his son's release.

"Our family knows the high price that has been paid by your men in the Army and Frontier Corps. We give our condolences and thanks to the families of those who have fallen for Pakistan."

The statement follows a video released by the Taliban earlier in the week featuring a 10-second clip of Bowe Bergdahl being blindfolded and led away by his captors. The appearance is the fifth time the Idaho-born U.S. soldier, now 25, has been seen since he was captured in June of 2009 along the Afghan-Pakistani border. Army spokesman Colonel Thomas Collins said that officials were studying the video and could not confirm if the shots were new or different than what had been released in previous videos.

Bergdahl was lured from his post in eastern Afghanistan by several Afghan National Army soldiers on June 30th, 2009 and then taken by Taliban fighters in a nearby village, according to a senior Pentagon official. Bergdahl was reportedly then moved to Pakistan.

At the time of his capture, Bergdahl was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska before deploying to Afghanistan. He was promoted to Specialist while in captivity.

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Pakistan Arrests Possible Osama Bin Laden Associates In Abbottabad

George Doyle/Thinkstock(ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan) -- Since the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Pakistani authorities have arrested dozens of people in Abbottabad on suspicion of having ties to al Qaeda, said Pakistani officials.

Local police participated in the sweep, with federal forces, including agents of the Inter-Services Intelligence service, or ISI. Those arrested were thought to have connections to the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. raid, or to bin Laden's al Qaeda courier Abu Ahmed al Kuwaiti, who was killed with him.

A report by the U.S. government's Open Source Center put the number of arrests at 40 and said the sweep began Thursday. Pakistani officials, however, told ABC News the arrests began soon after the Sunday night raid and netted as many as 200 people. They added that many of those detained have already been released.

Among those taken into custody was the man believed to have designed the secure complex and acted as the project's contractor when it was built in 2005. One Pakistani official named the man as Tahir Javed, though his identity could not be verified. Pakistani officials and local residents say the contractor has since been released.

Another person of interest to authorities was a major local landowner named Shamroz who owned several plots next to the bin Laden compound. Neighbors described Shamroz and his sons as the people who knew the al Qaeda courier and his family best. Shamroz and his two sons have reportedly been arrested.

Pakistani authorities have called the sweep the "second phase" of the operation that killed bin Laden, though Pakistani officials have been accused of knowing about bin Laden's presence in the Abbottabad compound, where's he thought to have lived for five years.

The high security compound is 1,000 yards from Pakistan's chief military academy, close to other military installations and in a neighborhood popular with military officials. Abottabad itself is less than 100 miles by road from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

On Thursday, defense undersecretary for policy Michele Flournoy said the U.S. could not prove the Pakistani government knew about bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad.

"We are still talking with the Pakistanis and trying to understand what they did know, what they didn't know," she said. "We do not have any definitive evidence at this point that they did know that Osama bin Laden was at this compound."

But Sen. Carl Levin, D.-Michigan, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told ABC News Thursday he believed senior Pakistani officials knew bin Laden's location and said he had "no doubt" they also know where other top terrorists are, including Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

"At high levels, high levels being the intelligence service, at high levels they knew it," Levin said in an interview with ABC's Jonathan Karl.

Levin is the highest ranking U.S. elected official to accuse the Pakistan government of knowing Bin Laden's whereabouts.

"I can't prove it," Levin said. "I can't imagine how someone higher up didn't know it." The Armed Services Committee, Levin said, has already started a preliminary investigation into Pakistan's involvement and, based on that investigation, will make a decision on holding public hearings to investigate further.

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Japan Wants Another Nuclear Plant Closed over Quake Fears

Sankei via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Japan urged a power company Friday to temporarily shut down operations at another nuclear plant that straddles a major fault line for fear it would not survive a major earthquake and tsunami.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said during a news conference that he requested the suspension of reactors at the Hamaoka nuclear plant over safety concerns, citing a study that said there was an 87 percent chance of a magnitude 8.0 earthquake striking central Japan within the next 30 years.

The Hamaoka plant is located in Shizuoka, 155 miles west of Tokyo, and sits on an active earthquake fault. Officials estimate the shutdown could last two years.

With the plant supplying energy to about 16 million people in central Japan, a shutdown is sure to further strain the country's power supply, already hurting as a result of the crippled Fukushima reactors. Hamaoka powers regions that include Aichi, home to Toyota Motor Corp headquarters.

"I've made this request out consideration for the safety of the Japanese people," Kan said. "If there were to be a serious accident at the Hamaoka power plant, it would have a catastrophic impact on all of Japan."

The government asked plant operator Chubu Electric Power Co. to suspend two running reactors and a third already shut for a regular inspection. The request came one day after Economy, Trade, and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda visited the plant and raised concerns about the facility's safety measures. After reviewing Hamaoka's quake and tsunami drills, Kaieda suggested anti-disaster measures in place were insufficient.

The inspection of Hamaoka and all of Japan's 54 nuclear plants was prompted by the disaster at the troubled Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The one-two punch crippled reactors along Japan's northeast coast, triggered hydrogen explosions, and radiation leaks in the world's second-worst nuclear crisis.

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Osama Bin Laden Raid: Al Qaeda 'Playbook' Revealed

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. intelligence is now in possession of a veritable "playbook" of al Qaeda operations -- from potential terror attack targets to information on international safe houses and top commanders -- thanks to the Navy SEAL raid that took down Osama bin Laden Sunday, officials told ABC News on Friday.

The cache of electronic and handwritten materials includes numerous hallmark al Qaeda plots including attacks on infrastructure targets such as water supply and transportation including rail and air. In the past, al Qaeda planned for attacks on water supplies have included an interest in mining dams and in poisoning water supply. In the days since the SEAL raid, intelligence experts have also have found what appears to be information about safe houses around the world and about al Qaeda leadership.

It is unclear just how active bin Laden was in coordinating any operations or in blessing overall strategies and plots. What is clear, officials said, is that intelligence analysts see weeks ahead of data mining and linking the cache of materials to past knowledge of plots that has come from detainees, cases and various forms of intercepts and surveillance.

While as yet no specific plots have been uncovered, there is a clear interest in attacks on the for most prominent U.S. cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

The materials make clear that while at times in the past it has been suggested that dates are not a factor in Al Qaeda attack planning, in fact, one of the terror group's aspirations was to launch attacks on symbolic dates like Sept. 11, in hopes of giving even greater resonance to any success.

A bulletin issued Thursday by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security and obtained by ABC News describes the terror organization's chilling desire to derail a train on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

"As of February 2010, al-Qa'ida was allegedly contemplating conducting an operation against trains at an unspecified location in the United States on the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001," the document reads, using an alternate spelling for bin Laden's terror group. "As one option, al-Qa'ida was looking into trying to tip a train by tampering with the rails so that the train would fall off the track at either a valley or a bridge."

In a statement, DHS press secretary Matt Chandler stressed that the message it sent out to its rail partners about a potential al Qaeda plot was "based on initial reporting, which is often misleading and inaccurate and subject to change. We remain at a heightened state of vigilance, but do not intend to issue [a National Terrorism Advisory System] alert at this time." Chandler said the Transportation Security Administration would also send a bulletin to its rail sector stakeholders.

"We have no information of any imminent terrorist threat to the U.S. rail sector, but wanted to make our partners aware of the alleged plotting," said Chandler.

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Drone Strike on Pakistan First Since Osama Bin Laden's Death

Stocktrek Images/Getty Images(PESHAWAR, Pakistan) -- The United States reportedly fired eight missiles on a compound and a car in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan on Friday, killing at least nine militants and injuring at least four others.

The drone attack, near the border with Afghanistan, is the first since a U.S. Navy SEALs team killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden Sunday in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

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Al Qaeda Confirms Osama Bin Laden's Death

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Osama bin Laden's terror network admitted Friday that U.S. forces had tracked and killed their leader, but vowed to keep on attacking America.

The statement by al Qaeda, released on the Internet, vowed that bin Laden's blood "will not be wasted" and that the terror network will continue attacking America and its allies.

President Obama has refused to release what some officials who have seen the pictures have described as gruesome photos showing bin Laden's body with a bullet hole in his head.

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Hillary Clinton: No Halt in NATO Bombing Until Gadhafi Stops Fighting

Salah Malkawi/ Getty Images(ROME) -- After more than six weeks of bombing, are U.S. and NATO forces ready to ease up on Col. Moammar Gadhafi?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the bombardment won't stop just because the Libyan strongman wants it to.

Meeting with allies in Rome, Italy Thursday, Clinton pointedly told Gadhafi that the attacks on his military targets won't end until he meets a series of conditions.

First, Gadhafi must "cease attacks and the threat of attacks" against opposition forces who seek to drive him from power.

Clinton added that there won't be any let-up against the Libyan dictator until his soldiers pull out of cities held by the rebels, restore full services to those cities and permit their residents to receive humanitarian aid.

The low-level civil war in Libya began late February, with NATO establishing a no-fly zone over the country on March 19.  Since then, the two sides have reached a stalemate, with Gadhafi refusing to relinquish his 40-year rule and rebels controlling most cities in the eastern part of Libya.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Was Killing of Osama Bin Laden Legal Under International Law?

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Since the death of Osama bin Laden Sunday, administration officials have repeatedly said that the mission to kill him complied with domestic and international law.

"Let me make something very clear," Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress on Wednesday, "the operation in which Osama bin Laden was killed was lawful.  He was the head of al Qaeda, an organization that conducted the attacks of Sept. 11.  He admitted his involvement."

But as new details of the operation emerge, and some Pakistani leaders protest the U.S. incursion into their state, legal experts say the administration must more forcefully lay out its case.

Law professor Kenneth Anderson, who specializes in legal issues related to war and terrorism, said that differing government accounts as to whether bin Laden was armed or invited to surrender or even involved in a firefight have muddled the legal debate and left the administration open to international criticism.

"Holder was not direct in stating that of course it was legal to target Osama bin Laden, legal to target with lethal force, legal to target without warning or invitation to surrender," said Anderson, who teaches at American University Washington College of Law.  "And that has always been the U.S. legal position."

"The United States actually has firm legal views on these points, which unfortunately, probably for reasons of operational secrecy, the senior leadership hasn't properly communicated," Anderson added.

To justify the use of force, the Obama administration relied on the Authorization to Use Military Force Act of Sept. 18, 2001, which allows the president to use "all necessary and appropriate force" against persons who authorized, planned or committed the 9/11 attacks, as well as international law derived from treaties and customary laws of war.

The Obama and Bush administrations have argued that the use of force is allowed under international law because of the continuing conflict with al Qaeda, and the need to protect the United States from additional attacks.

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