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Monday
Dec202010

No Signs of North Korean Retaliation After South Korean Live-Fire Drills

Photo Courtesy - Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP/Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) -- South Korea's military conducted hour-long live-fire artillery drills from Yeonpyong Island near the west sea Monday amid threats from North Korea that it will retaliate on a massive scale.  The island was shelled by North Korea last month, resulting in the deaths of two civilians and two marines.

South Korea sent navy warships with missile capabilities and fighter jets to roam the area in case North Korea attacks again.  So far, there have been no immediate signs of any North Korean retaliation.

At the center of the dispute is the maritime border.  South Korea recognizes a northern boundary drawn after the Korean War in 1953.  North Korea began to insist in 1999 that the border should be further south.  There are five small islands within that area where thousands of South Koreans reside, protected by the military forces.

South Korea's navy has been conducting drills every month for the past 37 years, according to a high-level official from the Ministry of Defense.  Seoul insists these drills are not designed to intimidate the North and stressed that the live-fire is aimed towards the southeast, away from North Korean territory.

Monday's drills were observed by representatives of the United Nations Military Armistice Commission and the U.S. military forces.

Residents on Yeonpyong Island have often been victims of small-scale skirmishes that have occurred in the past, and they have been ordered, along with officials and journalists, to stay inside underground bunkers.  The South Korean military has distributed gas masks and food to last for at least two days.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec202010

US Tourist Murdered in Israel; Survivor Claims Arab Attackers

Photo Courtesy - Yoav Ari Dudkevitch/Getty Images(MATA, Israel) -- The friend of an American tourist who was stabbed to death in Israel over the weekend said it was clear their attackers -- allegedly two Arab men -- undoubtedly meant to murder the pair as they were hiking.

"It all happened so fast.  They came out and attacked us," Kaye Susan Wilson told Israeli media as she recovered in an Israeli hospital after reportedly suffering 12 stab wounds Saturday while hiking in a forest near Jerusalem.  "It was clear they came to kill."

While Wilson said she was able to survive by playing dead, her friend, American Kristine Luken, 44, did not.  Luken's body was found Sunday with multiple stab wounds.  Her hands were tied behind her back.

Israeli police said they believe Wilson's account of the attack but are looking into all possibilities.

Wilson, described by Israeli media as an immigrant to Israel from the U.K., was wearing a necklace with the Star of David on it during the attack.  At one point, she said one of the attackers ripped the symbol off her neck and then stabbed her with what looked like a bread knife where it had been hanging.

"I saw that the stab had not penetrated my heart and I played dead.  While I lay there I could hear my friend dying.  Her breath sounded like bubbles," Wilson told Israeli newspaper Haaretz.  "I waited two minutes, we lay in the corridor.  Our hands tied behind our backs and something was covering my mouth.  It was terribly hard for me to get up but I managed to go.  I saw that we were in a bush area and I did not know then that they had fled.  I felt myself getting tired, all I wanted to do was sleep but I knew I could not."

Eventually, Wilson said she was able to stumble to a parking lot where she was spotted by passersby who called police.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec192010

Deadly Pipeline Explosion Rocks Central Mexican City

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MEXICO CITY) -- The death toll was rising late Sunday after a pipeline explosion in central Mexico. The number of dead was reported to be over two dozen, with dozens more hurt and at least 100 houses damaged in the early morning disaster. 

Officials believe thieves trying to steal oil tampered with the pipeline, lost control of the flow because of the high pressure in the line and oil was released into nearby streets in the city of San Martin Texmelucan. A spark set it aflame and the fire spread with a series of explosions. The blaze was under control by the middle of the day and the pipeline had been shut down. 

The pipeline is owned by the Mexican government oil company, Pemex, which has struggled with oil thefts in the past, losing a reported 10 percent of its product through pipeline such theft. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec192010

Deadly Fire at Hotel in Philippines

Photo Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images(TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines) -- Fifteen people died in a hotel fire in the Philippines on Sunday.  Nine of the dead were nursing students staying in Tuguegarao City for an exam.  Three others were children of the family that owned the hotel.  Tuguegarao is about 215 miles north of Manila.

It is not clear what started the fire that raged for eight hours and left firefighters in tears as they pulled unrecognizable bodies from the wreckage.  Car tires and other combustible materials stored at an auto parts store on the ground floor may have been to blame.

Firefighters rescued dozens from the Bed and Breakfast Pension Hotel, but many of the 15 who were killed were found in upstairs bathrooms, where they went to try to escape the flames.  Fourteen of the bodies were burned beyond recognition.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec192010

Brits Quibble Over Kate's 'Commoner' Roots

Photo Courtesy - Chris Jackson/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The old British class distinctions are once again rearing their heads as another prince prepares to wed a woman whose veins carry no royal blood.

Kate Middleton engaged to Britain's Prince William, is the daughter of former airline workers who are fabulously wealthy now because of their commercial ventures, has no royal blood and cannot officially be considered a princess.  While it may sound like a technicality of interest only within the confines of Buckingham Palace, the Washington Post quotes multiple sources and British publications going on about it at great length.

In the United States, the "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" character is respected and revered, but in the U.K. it appears many in the upper class consider a working class background unsavory.  There are reports that some of Prince William's friends would quietly quote flight attendant patter as Middleton entered a room, mocking her parents' former profession.

William's mother was also not of royal descent, although the daughter of an earl.  She was called Princess Diana by the media, but in truth her title was Princess of Wales.  It was a carefully thought-out distinction, and Queen Elizabeth will soon have to make some kind of similar determination.

Middleton is scheduled to marry her prince in April.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec192010

UN Security Council to Meet over Korean Tensions

Photo Courtesy - Yonhap News Agency(UNITED NATIONS) -- The U.N. Security Council is meeting Sunday in an emergency session to discuss the tense situation on the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea plans an artillery exercise this week from the same island that North Korea shelled last month.

The North has warned of a "catastrophe" if the exercise is held.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who has met with top leaders in North Korea, has called for "self-restraint" by both countries.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec192010

American Tourist Found Dead In Israel

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MATA, Israel) -- Police in Israel have launched a homicide investigation after the body of an American woman was found there early Sunday morning. She was stabbed to death, her hands bound.

Christine Logan, 46, was one of two women attacked in the same area.  Her friend survived and told police of the ordeal.  Kaye Susan Wilson told police she and Logan were attacked in a forest near Mata, outside Jerusalem, within the Green Line.  Wilson was narrowly able to escape from the pair's attackers and was taken to a trauma unit where she is expected to recover from her injuries.  Wilson told authorities she was stabbed by two Arab men.

Volunteers and police, as well as security forces, searched Saturday night for Logan before finding her body Sunday, several hundred meters from the road.

The Jerusalem Post says authorities are trying to determine whether the attacks were some kind of "nationalistic" incident or motivated by something else.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec182010

Amanda Knox in Italian Court to Appeal 26-Year Sentence

Photo Courtesy - TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- A judge has agreed to review forensic evidence in the case against Amanda Knox, the young American woman convicted of killing her British roommate in 2007.

Knox was back in Italian court Saturday for the most important hearing since her conviction. The Seattle student is appealing her 26-year prison sentence, handed down for her involvement in the murder of 21-year-old Meredith Kercher. The prosecution is also appealing the ruling; it wants Knox to spend her life behind bars.

Knox’s lawyers have argued that the alleged murder weapon, a kitchen knife, did not have enough traces of her DNA.

“We know absolutely, unequivocally, simply, there was no evidence whatsoever of Amanda Knox in the room where Meredith Kercher was killed,” Knox’s lawyer, Theodore Simon, said.

"I saw [Amanda] yesterday,” said Knox’s mother, Edda Mellas. “She's okay. It is a very scary time for her. She's afraid the truth won't come out, but she's hanging in there.’’

A court in Perugia last year found Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, guilty of killing Kercher, whose semi-naked body was found in a pool of blood, her throat slashed.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec182010

Ahmadinejad: Iran Subsidies Cut at Midnight

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Iran's subsidy cuts will take effect at midnight, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday, immediately raising the price of fuel, electricity, and water and putting price pressure on a broad range of goods.

These cuts were slated to take effect months ago, but kept getting pushed forward to a previously unknown date.

Analysts and others have predicted protests and possible riots following the economic squeeze of the policy.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec182010

ISAF Troops Killed in Afghanistan

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- One member of NATO's International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF died in Afghanistan on Saturday, one day after three other ISAF members were killed there.  NATO blamed the latest death on an insurgent attack.

Of the three killed Friday, one died in an insurgent attack and one was killed by a roadside bomb.  Officials say the third died of an injury not related to battle.  The latest deaths put the number of ISAF members lost there at 698 so far in 2010. 

These latest losses follow Thursday's release of the Obama administration review of U.S. operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  In that review, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said the U.S. is on the right track toward al Qaeda and reversing the momentum of the Taliban, in hopes of preventing Afghanistan from becoming a "safe haven" for violent extremists.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio