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Tuesday
May312011

Royal Couple's Trip to US, Canada Will Mark Reinvention for Catherine

David Cheskin - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- From Westminster Abbey to a delayed honeymoon in Seychelles, to the grocery store, Duchess Catherine Middleton has been on the move since marrying Prince William at London's Westminster Abbey April 29.

Now, as the new royal and her groom prepare for their royal coming out -- a full-fledged tour to Canada and the United States later this month -- royal gazers are closely watching how the young couple will put their own stamp on centuries of royal tradition.

"This is our chance to really see the royal couple for first time since the wedding," ABC News royal correspondent Katie Nicholl said Tuesday on Good Morning America.

William and Catherine -- now formally the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge -- will embark June 30 on a nine-day, eight-city tour that will take them from Ottawa and Montreal through the Northwest Territories of Canada before making their way down to Los Angeles for a grand finale.

The overseas trip will mark their first as a married couple, and an opportunity for the newlyweds to showcase the new breed of monarchs that some are calling the "modern royals": going to college, having careers, and marrying for love.

"They'll be visiting the rodeo.  He'll fly a helicopter," Duncan Larcombe, ABC News contributor and royal correspondent for Great Britain's Sun newspaper, said of the couple's planned itinerary. "I think they'll have a few more surprises for us."

Even as they attempt to live the royal life on their own terms, William and Catherine will not escape the scrutiny to which the royal family is subjected.  And on this trip, that scrutiny will most heavily be focused on the new bride, and part two of her royal reinvention.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May302011

Memorial Day: Maj. Gen. John Campbell on Final Battlefield Tour of Afghanistan

U.S. Department of Defense(KUNAR, Afghanistan) -- This is Maj. Gen. John Campbell's last circle of the Afghan battlefields.

For one year, Campbell has commanded the deadly and dangerous 450 miles of Afghanistan that borders Pakistan, which means he has responsibility for 30,000 soldiers working at more than 150 combat outposts, many of them routinely attacked.

On one particular day, ABC News arrived at a small outpost in the Pech Valley, landing in a vast, dizzying pattern to confuse the enemy. The Americans and Afghans who live nearby had been under fire -- enduring eight or 10 mortar rounds -- just before ABC News arrived.

The soldiers, including West Point graduate Brian Kalaher, seemed almost numb to the attacks. Kalaher is in his third deployment.

"We brought in three children at our aid station here," Kalaher told ABC News. "One child, who was probably about 12 years old...died."

Even the death of Osama bin Laden was a day of mixed emotions.

"We had a soldier killed then too," Kalaher said, "so we were on blackout. So for us, it was a little different."

At every outpost ABC News visited, it seemed as if someone had died or been wounded. They've pulled through, with Campbell helping them along. Throughout the year, ABC News asked Campbell the same question during each visit: How many soldiers has he lost? In July, after only five weeks on the ground, Campbell lost 28 soldiers. He carried cards for each. In September, the number jumped to 76. In December, the number of deaths had nearly doubled to 141. Now as Campbell leaves Afghanistan, the stack of 217 cards has grown so large that he has to lug them around in his rucksack.

"It touches me deeply," Campbell said. "I've made decisions that have put people in harm's way. That's why I have to carry those things that tell me about those soldiers, about their family. I will carry that with me the rest of my life."

Campbell said he cried every time he lost a soldier. "I'm tearing up now talking about it," he said. "Thinking about that family who had a soldier who was killed, and his wife was pregnant. And that son, daughter will never see their father. Those kinds of things get to me."

To counter that pain and those numbers, Campbell thinks about the 4,000 Taliban fighters he said his soldiers have killed or captured in the past year. He adds to that the doubling of the number of weapons caches being found, and the significant improvement in the Afghan security forces.

Campbell said he wants the U.S. to continue fighting in Afghanistan after he leaves the battleground -- despite public sentiment -- because he doesn't want the effort already made here to be in vain.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May302011

Adm. Mullen: Reports of Tense Talks with Pakistanis 'Overstated'

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After returning from what he called a "frank" meeting with political and military leadership in Pakistan, Adm. Mike Mullen told ABC News Monday that the reports of tense conversations between officials were "overstated."

"It is a very difficult time and yet a very important relationship.  And both Secretary Clinton and I really went there together to reaffirm the commitment on the part of the United States to continue to work with Pakistan and there were a host of issues discussed," Mullen said.

So did Mullen hear what he needed to from the Pakistanis?

"We were very frank with them and they were very frank with us.  On the army side right now there is a very significant introspective look and review that is ongoing.  And I think they are going to have to get through that.  And that makes sense to me," he said. "I did hear from the military leadership their continued commitment to look ahead and work with us and we think that’s important."

Mullen will retire in October after 42 years in the military. But he wouldn't share his thoughts about his expected successor as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey.

"The president's the one who makes all the selection for the senior appointments.  And just like you, I await that announcement.  I know there has been a lot of speculation about it but I certainly don't want to get out in front of the president."

And on this final Memorial Day before his retirement, Mullen reflected on his more than four-decade career in the military.

"This is a level of both leadership and commitment and opportunity, and it's been a great privilege...The opportunity and privilege to serve during these two wars and to lead 2.2 million young men and women who make up the best military of the 42 years that I have been serving," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May302011

Pakistan: Former Navy Commando Arrested In Karachi Attack

RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images(ISLAMABAD) -- Kamran Malik, a former Navy commando who was dismissed from service after being court-martialed for disobedience a decade ago, has been arrested in Lahore, Pakistan, for his alleged involvement in the attack on a Karachi naval base last week that killed ten soldiers and left a P3C Orion aircraft destroyed.

"Malik may have provided inside information and the layout of the facility," a source said, adding, "we are still establishing the chain."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May302011

Germany to Close Nuclear Power Plants by 2022

Tom Brakefield/Thinkstock(BERLIN) -- Germany plans to phase out all of its nuclear power plants by 2022, making it the largest industrial power to make such an announcement.

The decision comes on the heels of anti-nuclear protests that sprung up in Germany following the crises at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant earlier this year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May302011

John McCain In Thailand to 'Reaffirm' US-Thai Relations

ABC News(BANGKOK) -- Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is spending this Memorial Day in Thailand, where he met with Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and is working to reaffirm relations between that country and the United States.

"In Thailand to reaffirm our US/Thai relations & get an assessment on the situation in Burma," McCain twitted Monday.

McCain's office has not yet issued an official travel schedule.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May302011

Facing Genocide, War Crimes Charges, Ratko Mladic Appeals U.N. Court Transfer 

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images(BELGRADE, Serbia) -- Bosnian Serb ex-military commander Ratko Mladic on Monday appealed his transfer to a United Nations court, where he faces genocide and war crimes charges, after thousands rallied in Belgrade against his arrest.

His lawyer said he sent the appeal -- citing Mladic's health problems -- by registered delivery at 5:30 p.m. in an effort to delay the captured general's departure from Belgrade by a day. The court now needs to wait a day for the appeal to arrive, after which, under Serbian court procedures, it has three days to rule on it.

However, if the appeal is dismissed, Mladic could be on a plane as early as Tuesday night to the Netherlands and the U.N. prison for war criminals from the former Yugoslavia, which also houses Radovan Karadzic, his former commander-in-chief.

In 2008, lawyers acting for Karadzic, Mladic's co-accused, attempted a similar ploy after he was arrested. But the appeal was lost in the mail and Karadzic was extradited five days later.

"I believe the trial will not go ahead, because I do not believe Mladic will see the start of that process in front of the Hague Tribunal," Mladic's lawyer, Milos Saljic, said. "His health is in an alarming state. It is necessary that he is examined by cardiologists, neurosurgeons, orthopedists and gastroenterologists."

Bruno Vekaric, the deputy war crimes prosecutor in Serbia, believes the appeal is merely tactical, because local doctors have concluded that Mladic is well enough to withstand a transfer for trial. "The Hague has never dropped an indictment against anyone on account of health problems," Nerma Jelacic, a Hague Tribunal spokeswoman, told ABC News. "Doctors will examine him as soon as he is transferred to the Hague."

The War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague has indicted Mladic for war crimes that range from the 1992 campaign of ethnic cleansing in eastern Bosnia, the establishment of concentration camps in the northwest of Bosnia, a three-year siege of Sarajevo to the taking of U.N. hostages in 1995 during NATO air strikes to the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

Prosecutors in the Hague said they are currently considering whether to merge the trials of Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. The two men face the same indictment, but Karadzic's trial began in October 2009.

Mladic was captured last week in a village north of Belgrade, some 16 years after the indictment was issued.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May302011

Typhoon Songda Hits Earthquake-Ravaged Japan

U.S. Department of State(TOKYO) -- The first major storm of the cyclone season --  Typhoon Songda -- has touched down in Japan, causing significant flooding and some damage in areas still reeling from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Flooding has been the worst in the city of Ishinomaki, where the earthquake lowered the overall elevation by nearly three feet.  These areas have been flooding daily during high tide, but heavy rains have only added to the problems.

Students had to be bused to school on Monday because of concerns of water levels rising.  Strong winds also downed power lines in the city.

At the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, there is concern the strong winds and rain will carry radioactive material into the air and sea.  Workers have sprayed the damaged reactors with "anti-scattering" agents, but Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant, has said the plant is not properly prepared for the storm.

So far on Monday, contaminated water levels in the turbine buildings of three reactors have all gone up.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May302011

Spanish Veggies Eyed In German E. Coli Outbreak

Jupiterimages/Photos[dot]com(BERLIN) -- An E. coli outbreak in northern Germany has officials urging people there not to eat cucumbers, tomatoes, and fresh leafy salads after eleven people are known to have died and several hundred others fell ill after consuming tainted produce.

The bacterial outbreak is believed to have come from produce imported from Spain.

Russia has banned imports from Spain and Germany pending further notice.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May302011

NATO Apologizes for Airstrike that Killed Afghan Civilians

NATO(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Following a NATO airstrike that killed at least nine civilians in Afghanistan, the U.S. has issued an apology, promising to investigate the matter.

In a statement issued Sunday by the International Security Assistance Force, the U.S. said that on Saturday, coalition forces were taking fire from insurgents in the Now Zad district in Helmand province.  The insurgents were occupying a compound there and were using it to attack ISAF troops.  One U.S. Marine was killed as a result.

Coalition forces proceeded to neutralize the attack by calling for an airstrike.  But after the bombs were dropped, NATO learned that innocent civilians were inside the compound at the time of the airstrike.

NATO offered its "heartfelt apologies to the families and friends of those killed," and asked "that the Afghan people continue to trust and assist their security forces, so that together we can stop the senseless killing brought upon us by an enemy who wants to exploit the Afghan people through fear and violence."

The military alliance said the incident is under investigation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio