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Tuesday
Mar292011

Syrians Take to Streets in Show of Support for Government

AFP/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad is facing a wave of anti-government protests in the south and in the port city of Latakiya. 

Human Rights Watch says at least 60 protestors have died at the hands of Assad's army and security forces. As Assad reportedly considers political moves to appease the protestors, it's clear that many Syrians still back the leader as tens of thousands of Syrians are rallying behind Al-Assad in the streets of Damascus, holding up posters with his picture and waving Syrian flags.

Rallies of this size are also happening in  parts of the north and center of the country.  They show that Syria is quite divided. Unlike the national uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, many Syrians do not sympathize with the anti-government protests that continue in the south and in Lahtakiya. Many still believe in President Assad whose family has run the country for over 40 years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar292011

Prince Harry, Afghan War Vets Begin Trek to North Pole

JSN Photography/WireImage(LONDON) -- Britain's Prince Harry is in Arctic Norway Tuesday, showing some wounded Afghanistan war veterans support as they begin a 200-mile charity march to the North Pole.

The team has been training for the trek, which will benefit the foundation Walking with the Wounded, for 18 months.

When asked if he was up to the challenge, Prince Harry said, "I'm not as ready as these guys are but I'm just here to give them as much support as possible."

The guys he's referring to include Capt. Guy Disney, who shattered his leg when he was ambushed by insurgents and now wears a metal prosthesis, and Pvt. Jaco van Gass who lost his left arm after it was crushed by a rocket-propelled grenade.

"They're a huge example to us all -- these guys and all the other wounded servicemen-and-women around the country -- and what a wonderful inspiration they are," said Prince Harry, who's now a certified pilot of the powerful attack helicopter the apache.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar292011

Amb. Rice: U.S. Not Ruling Out Deal for Moammar Gadhafi Exile

ABC News (WASHINGTON) -- Is there a deal in the works to give Moammar Gadhafi safe haven out of Libya?  There are lots of tantalizing clues out there Tuesday, with the New York Post and the Times of London reporting Italian officials are developing a plan that would grant Gadhafi immunity from war crimes prosecution if he goes into exile.  And when UN Ambassador Susan Rice was asked about the idea on Tuesday's Good Morning America, she opened the door pretty far.

“The expectation, both of the Libyan people and the international community is that there needs to be justice for the crimes that are committed,” she said. “But obviously should there be an opportunity for some sort of arrangement for Gadhafi to step aside that is something the Libyan people will have to judge and we will take it as it comes.”

Rice suggested twice that the U.S. would follow the lead of the Libyan rebels. If they’re ok with the deal, all indications point to the U.S. signing off too. Administration officials also say that the U.S. is still getting feelers about a peaceful endgame from people close to Gadhafi. Amb. Rice didn’t deny that either, but said the U.S. needs to see something more concrete.

“I think we will be more persuaded by actions rather than prospects or feelers and I think that the message for Gadhafi and those closest to him is that history is not on his side, time is not on his side, the pressure is mounting, the sanctions are biting and he needs to take a decision that will be for the benefit of the Libyan people,” she said.

Rice also didn’t rule out having the U.S. arm the Libyan rebels if Gadhafi doesn’t go.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar292011

Forty Countries to Discuss Libya's Future at London Conference

ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Forty countries, including several Arab nations, will gather in London Tuesday for a conference to discuss Libya's future.

The purpose of the meeting will be to recognize the formal transition of military operations in Libya to NATO, to establish a "contact group" to deal with the situation and coordinate going forward, and to prepare for an upcoming visit to Tripoli and Benghazi by the United Nations Secretary General's special representative.

The U.S. delegation will be led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who met with Libyan opposition envoy Mahmoud Jibril Ibrahim prior to the conference.

On another note, the Obama administration is preparing to send its liaison to the Libyan opposition, Chris Stevens, to Benghazi soon, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters in London Tuesday.

The official wouldn't say when Stevens would travel, but left the impression that it could happen quite soon after Tuesday's conference.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar292011

Deadly Strain of H1N1 Turns Up in Mexico

US Department of State(CHIHUAHUA, Mexico) -- There are reports out of Mexico about a new outbreak of the H1N1 human influenza, which sent the world into a panic almost exactly two years ago.

It was in April 2009 that the virus, better known as the swine flu, was first detected in Mexico, resulting in health scares that spread from North America and around the globe.  Though 18,500 people died after developing complications from H1N1, the epidemic had far less impact than expected.

This time, the outbreak was discovered in Mexico's Chihuahua state, which borders the U.S., with the news of four deaths last week.  But unlike before, Mexican officials this time appear ready to head off a potential crisis.

Chihuahua state officials said that a vaccination program is well underway and the population is learning about prevention measures through an extensive outreach program.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar292011

French 'Spiderman' Scales World's Tallest Building in Dubai

Davis McCardle/Getty Images(DUBAI, United Arab Emirates) -- Alain Robert, the French climber who calls himself "Spiderman," scaled the world's tallest building in Dubai Monday, with the blessing of government officials.

The only thing officials asked of Robert was that he use a rope and harness, which the daredevil agreed to do before his ascent of the Burj Khalifa, a 2,717-foot-high tower.

Despite windy conditions, Robert made the climb as an ambulance with a stretcher waited at the base of the half-mile-high building. 

Beforehand, the Frenchman, who has climbed more than 70 buildings including the Empire State Building and Chicago's Willis Tower, declared, "To live we don't need much, just a roof over our heads some food and drink and that's it... everything else is superficial.  I climb because I need to find something I enjoy in life and I enjoy climbing buildings."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar282011

During Libya Protests Khamis Gadhafi Hurried Home...From Wall Street

KTRK(NEW YORK) -- When a popular uprising exploded in Libya in mid-February, Moammar Gadhafi's son and military commander, Khamis Gadhafi, charged with protecting the regime at all costs, was not there. Instead, Khamis was waltzing down Wall Street, just one stop on a whirlwind, cross-country tour of the U.S. organized by an American company with U.S. State Department approval.

The trip was part of an internship program with Los Angeles-based engineering giant AECOM, set to span just over a month, and take Khamis Gadhafi, head of Libya's elite Khamis Brigade, to tours and meetings with high-profile universities and companies from Houston to L.A., San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and Boston, according to travel documents obtained by ABC News.

After beginning in Houston with an extensive tour and presentations at the Port of Houston Authority, Khamis jetted off to L.A. where he was scheduled to go on an "exclusive" VIP tour of Universal Studios. After that, it was a short trip to San Francisco for meetings with technology giants Google, Apple and Intel, among others. In Colorado the next day, Khamis toured the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and then hopped a plane to Chicago where he toured Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

By mid-February, Khamis was scheduled to visit the nation's capital to see famous landmarks like the National Mall before high-powered meetings with defense contractors including Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, among others.

Next up, Khamis headed to Wall Street in lower Manhattan to walk through the heart of the U.S. economy at the New York Stock Exchange before taking in the Broadway show Mamma Mia. But on the day he visited the floor of the stock exchange and was also scheduled to tour New York's Columbia University, protests against his father's regime rang out in Benghazi, Libya. A spokesperson for Columbia told ABC News the University canceled the visit in light of the protests and an AECOM spokesperson told ABC News that instead of heading uptown to Columbia, Khamis hopped a plane and flew back to his home country that night.

That meant Khamis missed out on further scheduled events including a tour of the West Point Military Academy, MIT and Harvard University.

Less than a month later, Khamis was rumored to have been killed in an attack by a Libyan kamikaze pilot. The reports have not been confirmed. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar282011

Anna Chapman Won't Admit She Was a Russian Spy

ABC News(MOSCOW) -- In her first foreign language interview since she was arrested as a spy, undercover bombshell Anna Chapman was coy about whether she had ever engaged in espionage for Russia.

"Who told you I was an agent?" Chapman asked an interviewer for the BBC, though she pled guilty to espionage in the U.S. last summer and was sent back to Russia as part of a massive spy swap. "I will never deny and I will never confirm the fact."

Ever since her return to Russia, the flame-haired 28-year-old has turned her notoriety into a lucrative and varied career in her native land. She has already appeared in various men's magazines and accepted a high position in the country's ruling political party, but the BBC interview was timed to promote her latest venture, a regular weekly show on Russian television.

Mysteries of the World With Anna Chapman airs weekly on REN-TV, a private channel. Wearing a little black dress, Chapman was prominently featured in a promotional shot on the station's web site, which also said "I reveal all mysteries, if you have the courage."

Chapman told the BBC she had never considered being on television. "I never saw myself as a TV star," said Chapman. "Most people they dream of being a TV star, like they dream of fame. I never thought of that."

She said, however, that she would never feature her own personal story on Mysteries of the World. Chapman, born Anya Kushchenko, and nine other members of a Russian spy ring were arrested in the U.S. in the summer of 2010. She and her fellow spies all pleaded guilty to espionage in a Manhattan courthouse in July. They were immediately flown to Vienna to be exchanged for accused Western agents held by Russia in the largest U.S.-Russia spy swap since the Cold War.

Chapman has continued to attract attention since her repatriation. She was hired as an advisor to a Russian bank in October. At a ceremony in Moscow in December, Chapman was appointed a leader of the youth branch of Vladimir Putin's political party. Candid nude photos that an ex-boyfriend snapped of Chapman appeared in the January issue of Playboy. Other nude and semi-nude photos of Chapman appeared in the British and U.S. press last summer, and Chapman posed in leather and lingerie for other magazines. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar282011

Israel Deploys New Anti-Missile Defense System 

Antenna Audio, Inc./Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- In response to last week's surge in militant rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, Israel decided to move up its timetable on the deployment of its most advanced anti-missile defense system, called Iron Dome. The first mobile battery unit has been placed near the southern city of Ber Sheba and two more will be deployed in the near future officials say. The first iron dome mobile unit is located on a hill in Ber Sheba because of its propensity to be targeted.

The main unit is connected to a number of missile launch pads and advanced radars in the field. "This is a unique system. There is no other system in the world that shoots missiles against rockets," says Brigadier General Doron Gavish, who oversaw the deployment. 

Iron Dome successfully destroyed rockets midair in a series of tests, but officials including the prime minister are lowering expectations. They've said Iron Dome will help, but it's still being tested and it's not fully operational yet.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar282011

William, Close Pals Celebrate Prince's Last Few Weeks of Singledom

Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Prince William and 20 close pals celebrated the prince's final few weeks of  being single this weekend at a country estate in Norfolk, England.

The secret bachelor party took place just two hours outside London.

"We believe that William had a house party effectively within the grounds of a big stately home owned by friend Ed Van Cutsen, he's one of the ushers at the wedding," said ABC News contributor Duncan Larcombe.

The all-boys-bash was planned by best man Guy Pelly and younger brother Prince Harry.

Harry had originally planned a water-themed celebration with speed boats and water skiing, but these plans were dropped after details leaked to the press.

"He did everything he could to stay out of the public eye," said Larcombe.  "The shy prince does it again, no one got near him."

That shy one would be Will of course, not Harry.

As for Harry, seeing out his brother's days of bachelorhood came just a few days before he is due in the North Pole where he will take part in a four-week, 200-mile journey for charity.

"This was a logical weekend for them -- William just got back from Australia, there weren't that many dates left," Larcombe told ABC News.

So what about Kate Middleton's bachelorette party?

"Well, we know that's coming," said royal author Katie Nicholl.  "I'm hearing possibly next weekend."

"It's probably going to be at the Middleton family home," continued Nicholl.  "Although they have hired out four venues in London in case they want to hit the capital."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio