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Friday
Oct012010

Two Killed in Attack Against NATO Supply Vehicle

Image Courtesy - ABC News(KHUZDAR, Pakistan) -- Two people were killed Friday in an attack on a vehicle transporting NATO supplies, police said. The attack occurred on the way to the southern border crossing that heads toward the Kandahar province of Afghanistan -- a crossing that has stayed open, while the much larger crossing in the north remains closed for the second straight day.

"If the NATO forces keep on entering into Pakistan and carrying out attacks, then [the] only option we have -- we should stop the movement of the containers," Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar warned.

In Brussels, Pakistani Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani lodged a formal protest at NATO over the cross-border attack that killed three Pakistani Frontier Corps troops.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct012010

Nigerian Child Hostages Freed

Image Courtesy - ABC News(NIGERIA) -- A group of 15 children kidnapped after their school bus was hijacked by gunmen on Monday are now free, according to local authorities. The children were rescued during a police raid on a hideout outside of the city where they were captured. The kidnapping sparked nationwide outrage, with President Goodluck Jonathan ordering a federal manhunt. Authorites have told reporters that the children are unharmed and will be returned to their parents.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct012010

Amanda Knox Has 'Lost Her Serenity' in Prison

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(PERUGIA, Italy) -- A worried looking Amanda Knox briefly left the Italian prison that has been her home for almost three years to attend a hearing Friday on charges that she slandered Italian police during her 2009 murder trial.

The prison van carrying Knox was driven straight into the basement of the courthouse in Perugia, Italy, where a throng of journalists, many American and British, waited to get a glimpse of her. But the hearing was behind closed doors, and journalists and the public were kept out.

One person who had access to the courthouse said Knox was in a small courtroom in the company of her lawyers, and looked pale and a little worried. Her boyish haircut had grown out somewhat, and she was crisply dressed in a white shirt and black pants.

A lawyer for Knox, Luciano Ghirga, said the prolonged legal battles are taking a toll on her. Besides facing the slander charge, she is bracing for an appeal next month of her murder conviction for the stabbing death of her British roommate Meredith Kercher in 2007.

Ghirga said his client "is worried about the upcoming appeal." He added, "She has lost her good cheer and her serenity." 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct012010

New Bin Laden Tape Addresses Pakistani Floods

Photo Courtesy - ABC NewsOsama bin Laden released his first audio tape since March on Friday, calling for Muslim relief and charity in places like flood-ravaged Pakistan.

The new message comes despite a record number of drone attacks along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border targeting Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters. Both bin Laden and al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman Zawahiri are believed to be hiding in the mountainous border region.

The 11-minute message could not be immediately authenticated, but was released on a variety of known extremist websites with an old still photo of the al Qaeda leader. The message was largely addressed to Pakistani citizens affected by recent devastating floods.

Although there is no date referenced, the recent floods in Pakistan suggest the recording is no more than two months old.

In several recent messages, bin Laden has shifted slightly from militancy and addressed geopolitics, climate change and environmental disasters, seeking to appear as a humanitarian. His previous message, however, threatened the U.S. with violence if 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammed is executed by the U.S. government.

Friday's tape is also the third in a series of recent al Qaeda messages focused on Pakistan and the flooding there. Al Qaeda number two Ayman al Zawahiri and American Adam Gadahn both released recent messages attacking the Pakistani governments' slow and ineffectual response to flooding in that country. The shift reveals al Qaeda's most recent strategy, which is stoking resentment inside Pakistan against the government there.

Although bin Laden doesn't directly threaten the West, the message comes after European and U.S. intelligence uncovered a terror plot personally requested by bin Laden.

According to European and American intelligence officials, bin Laden asked al Qaeda affiliates to attack England, France and Germany using a "Mumbai- style" attack aimed at "soft and economic" targets.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct012010

U.S. to Impose Sanctions on Companies Pursuing Business with Iran

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- On Thursday, the U.S. announced it would take action against international companies doing business with Iran's energy sector.

Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg told reporters Thursday that the new sanctions would be imposed on Naftiran Intertrade Company, a Swiss-based subsidiary of Iran's national oil company, which he said brought major sums of cash into the county.  The State Department said that it was considering similar moves against other companies elsewhere, but would not provide details.

Steinberg added that, as a result of previous sanctions against Iran, an additional four foreign energy companies have said that they were discontinuing doing business with Iran, including France’s Total, Norway’s Statoil, Italy’s ENI, and Royal Dutch Shell.

"People are increasingly reaching the conclusion that it's simply not worth it to engage in activities with Iran," Steinberg said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Thursday
Sep302010

Italian Coast Guard Continues Search for Missing American Balloonists

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(VIESTE, Italy) -- The Italian Coast Guard will continue the search for two missing American balloonists throughout the night and into well into Friday.

The couple has been missing since early Wednesday, when they disappeared over the Adriatic Sea.

U.S. and Croatian authorities are also participating in the search.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.


Thursday
Sep302010

President Obama Meets with American Hiker After Her Imprisonment in Iran

Photo Courtesy -- The White House(WASHINGTON) -- Late Thursday evening, the White House announced that President Obama met privately with American hiker Sarah Shourd, who was released after more than a year’s imprisonment in Iran, and with the families of the two American men, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, who are stilll being held.

The White House said in a statement, “We remain hopeful that Iran will demonstrate renewed compassion and do the right thing by ensuring the safe return of Shane, Josh and all the other missing or detained Americans in Iran."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep302010

Districts Ready for Security Transition in Parts of Afghanistan

Photo Courtesy -- U.S. Department of Defense(AFGHANISTAN) -- July 2011 is the date the Obama administration has selected to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan and begin the transition of security responsibilities to the Afghan government. 

The process, termed "security transition," will mean pulling U.S. troops out of secure areas, known as districts, that make up the provinces of Afghanistan, then redistributing them elsewhere and eventually not replacing them.

ABC News has learned that the other 47 countries there under NATO control want to eventually turn over security in their areas where the situation would allow.

The NATO Summit in Lisbon, Portugal that begins Nov. 18 is going to begin the NATO process of security transition.  Gen. Petraeus is compiling a list of districts that will be eligible to turn the security responsibilities over to the Afghans.  The leaders at the NATO Summit will then approve some of those on the list for what are expected to be a small number of districts where security will transition from NATO to the Afghans.

U.S. officials have said they expect areas to the west and northern part of the country to be ready for such a transition, but not likely in the East and South, where the U.S. is engaged in active combat, though those areas are not completely out of the question.  Consequently, areas under the control of NATO allies will likely be the first to transition next year.

Officials also say that eligibility will be based on more than just security, but a whole range of conditions such as whether there’s enough Afghan civilian capacity to meet the population’s needs if NATO was to leave a district.

Officials say the timelines for transitioning could take six to nine months.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Thursday
Sep302010

Ecuador Unrest: President Correa In Danger?

Photo Courtesy -- Getty ImagesUPDATE:  1 Casualty Reported In Ecuador Protests

(QUITO, Ecuador) -- One person has been reported dead and several more injured following protests in the Ecuadorian capital Quito.

The security minister said the casualties followed an all-out riot near a hospital where President Rafael Correa is now holed up after being shoved and tear-gassed by police officers – angry at proposed pay and benefits cuts.

The airport has since re-opened and there is reported looting.

(QUITO, Ecuador) -- According to a message released from the U.S. Embassy in Quito, Ecuador on Thursday, "a large nationwide strike by all levels of police, including military police, is developing at this time." 

The message, addressing U.S. citizens visiting or residing in Ecuador, warned that airports and possibly major highways may be closed as a result of the unrest and that "the security situation has degraded significantly."  The message further urged American citizens to stay inside their homes as "even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence." 

According to officials, the U.S. remains supportive of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, as well as the institutions of Ecuador's democratic government. 

Ecuadorian police and a number of military personnel began protesting against attempts by President Correa to cut their pay and benefits as part of austerity measures.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Thursday
Sep302010

Passengers Forced to Stand for Five-Hour Flight

Photo Courtesy - Airline Tatarstan(RUSSIA) -- Airlines aren't known for treating their coach customers luxuriously. But a Russian airline has apparently taken spartan transportation to new heights, forcing six passengers to stand during a recent flight.

The six passengers were apparently without their own life vests or oxygen masks, let alone seatbelts in case of a rough landing, turbulence or a crash.

The Tatarstan Airlines flight last week from Antalya, Turkey to Ekaterinburg, Russia was fully booked with a tour group. At the last second, a Boeing 737 with 148 seats was replaced with another one that only had room for 142 passengers. The tour company, according to local media reports, offered the passengers a choice: wait seven hours for another flight or stand for the five hour flight back to Russia. All chose to stand, although they are now seeking $4,700 in compensation. The tour company offered about $200.

In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration requires all passengers to be buckled into their seats from the moment a plane leaves the gate until it reaches calm air at cruising altitude.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio