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Friday
Jan282011

Nelson Mandela Discharged From Hospital

Photo Courtesy - Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images(JOHANNESBURG) -- Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela was discharged from a Johannesburg hospital Friday after recovering from an acute respiratory infection, South African officials announced.

The 92-year-old former South African president was airlifted to the hospital early Wednesday, after developing a persistent cough while vacationing with his wife.

Doctors said Mandela underwent several specialized medical tests while he was in the hospital.

"Given the history of his health over the last few years and his age, these tests are necessary to provide optimal health care to him," Surgeon General V.J. Ramlakan said at a news conference Friday.

Ramlakan reassured the media there was "no need to panic."

He said the tests are normal for a person of his age and profile and is currently in stable condition and is being monitored closely.

Mandela was released to his family to receive home-based care, officials said at the news conference.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan282011

US Closely Monitors Yemeni Protests

Photo Courtesy - Gamal Noman/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Protesters in Yemen took to the streets of Sana and other cities Thursday to demand the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled the country since 1978.

The demonstrators were said to have taken their cue from rallies in Tunisia that led to that president stepping down, as well as recent protests in Egypt calling for President Hosni Mubarak to quit.

In Washington, the State Department said that it supports the right of Yemenis to "express themselves and assembly freely."

Privately, however, Obama administration officials are worried what would happen to the country if Saleh is toppled.  Al Qaeda has a firm footing in Yemen and its influence could rapidly spread if the situation turns more chaotic.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan282011

Rival to Egyptian President Taking Part in Protests

Photo Courtesy - Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- As he tries to hold his government together in the face of widespread protests, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak must now contend with the return of major political opponent Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency.

ElBaradei, who won a Nobel Peace Prize, plans to attend demonstrations set for Friday to protest government repression, police brutality and widespread unemployment.  A huge rally last Tuesday, mostly fueled by bloggers on social networks, led to violence and at least three deaths.

In the past, ElBaradei has been hesitant to participate in political protests but he indicated that the situation has gotten to the point where he feels he must stand shoulder-to-shoulder with opponents of Murbarak, who are calling for the 83-year-old leader to step down.

ElBaradei earlier told Newsweek magazine, "I am going back to Cairo, and back onto the streets because, really, there is no choice.  So far, the regime does not seem to have gotten that message."

Until now, the Egyptian government felt that ElBaradei, a renowned international negotiator, and his National Front campaign were too weak to have much of an impact.  However, ElBaradei's appearance Friday in full public view could serve as a tipping point in favor of anti-government protestors.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan282011

Biden Calls Egyptian President Mubarak an “Ally,” Not a Dictator

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In an interview with the NewsHour’s Jim Lehrer Thursday, Vice President Biden said he would not refer to Egyptian President Mubarak as a dictator and instead called him an “ally” on a number of key foreign policy issues.

When asked if it was time for Mubarak to stand aside, Biden said no.

“I think the time has come for President Mubarak to begin to move in the direction that -- to be more responsive to some of the -- some -- some of the needs of the people out there,” Biden said.

Biden said the people protesting are “middle-class folks” who are looking for more opportunity.

“Violence isn’t appropriate and people have a right to protest,” he said, adding that he hopes Mubarak will “respond to some of the legitimate concerns that are being raised.”

“Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things.  And he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interest in the region, the Middle East peace efforts; the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing relationship with Israel,” the vice president said.  “And I think that it would be -- I would not refer to him as a dictator."

Biden stressed repeatedly that when it comes to Egypt and Tunisia, the United States urges all parties to resolve concerns and differences through peaceful and amicable discussions, not violence.

The vice president said that the Obama administration is urging the protestors in both Egypt and Tunisia that “as they assemble, do it peacefully” and encouraging the governments there to “act responsibly and to try to engage in a discussions as to what the legitimate claims are being made.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan272011

Obama on Egypt: Reform 'Absolutely Critical' in the Long Term

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama Thursday reiterated that Egypt is an ally of the United States and that the he’s “always said” to President Hosni Mubarak that reform, both politically and economically, is essential for Egypt.

“Egypt's been an ally of ours on a lot of critical issues,” Obama said from the White House Thursday afternoon. “President Mubarak has been very helpful on a range of tough issues in the Middle East. But I've always said to him that making sure that they are moving forward on reform -- political reform, economic reform -- is absolutely critical to the long-term well being of Egypt.”

The president’s comments Thursday came during a YouTube town hall, where he was asked via a video submission what he thought of the Egyptian government blocking social networks during the protests this week. After being shown some YouTube videos from this week in Cairo, President Obama said that you can see the “pent-up frustrations” being displayed on the streets.

“My main hope right now is, is that violence is not the answer in solving these problems in Egypt.  So the government has to be careful about not resorting to violence, and the people on the streets have to be careful about not resorting to violence. “

The president said that it is also important that people have mechanisms in order to express “legitimate grievances.”

Anti-Mubarak protests have spread throughout Egypt this week and the country is bracing itself for an even bigger outpouring of anger as the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest opposition group, has called for a “day of rage” on Friday. On Thursday Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency who aspires to run for president against Mubarak, returned to Cairo to try to galvanize the largely leader-less demonstrations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan272011

FBI Executes Searches in WikiLeaks Cyber Attack Probe

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) – Both the FBI and Scotland Yard executed search warrants Thursday in relation to cyber attacks that targeted major  corporations on behalf of WikiLeaks.

In a statement, the FBI said that more than 40 search warrants were served in the U.S. In the United Kingdom, police arrested five people for their alleged role in the attacks. 

WikiLeaks has claimed that they have no official connection to the group that calls itself “Anonymous” and carried out cyber attacks that crippled websites such as those for Visa, MasterCard and PayPal.

The FBI has reiterated that such cyber attacks, known as distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS), are illegal and carry with them a prison sentence of up to 10 years and potential civil action.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan272011

Clooney’s Satellite Project Confirms Troop Presence in Sudan

Photo Courtesy - White House Press(WASHINGTON) – A satellite project co-founded by actor George Clooney has confirmed reports of company-sized deployments of Sudanese Armed Forces troops in the Abyei region of Sudan.

The Satellite Sentinel Project has spotted the troops on both sides of the volatile North-South border in numbers consistent with other sources that estimate as many as 55,000 SAF troops along the South Kordofan border.

“These first images and analysis have deepened our understanding of the evolving situation following Southern Sudan’s historic vote on independence,” Clooney said in a statement. “Although the SAF in South Kordofan apparently remains a force largely in hiding, we showed they are field-deployed, and they are controlling major roads by running checkpoints.”

The imagery, however, depicts stationary forces that “are not showing signs of advancing,” according to Clooney and the SSP. The news could mean more time to address unresolved issues between the North and South to avoid further conflict.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Sudan's foreign minister Wednesday and “reaffirmed U.S. willingness to take steps toward normalization of relations,” according to a readout. Those steps would come as Sudan makes continued efforts toward fulfilling commitments set forth by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement which, among other obligations, would require a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Darfur.

The SSP was launched by Clooney late last year as a way to publically monitor security threats along the border.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan272011

Chile to Investigate 1973 Death of Salvador Allende

This August 23, 1973 file photo shows Chilean Gen. Augusto Pinochet (L) and President Salvador Allende. Pinochet would lead a bloody coup September 11, 1973 that would depose Allende and cost him his life. Photo Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images(SANTIAGO, Chile) – Nearly 40 years after his death, Chile has launched the first-ever investigation into how socialist President Salvador Allende died during a coup that brought General Augusto Pinochet to power.

It has been debated whether Allende took his own life or was killed during a military attack on his palace in 1973.

The inquiry is part of a series of human rights violations being investigated by a judge in Santiago. More than 3,000 Chileans were killed or disappeared during Pinochet’s rule from 1973 to 1990. Pinochet had been under investigation for corruption, murder and torture before he died of a heart attack in 2006.
 
An autopsy had already determined that Allende committed suicide when planes and soldiers attacked the La Moneda presidential palace in September of 1973. Supporters, however, have questioned whether Allende was actually killed by soldiers during the coup.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan272011

Nelson Mandela, 92, Hospitalized in South Africa

Photo Courtesy - TREVOR SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images(JOHANNESBURG) -- Nelson Mandela, the former South African president, is undergoing tests at a Johannesburg hospital for a second straight day. The 92-year-old Mandela, who led the charge against aparthied is resting comfortably according to his doctors.

Mandela, who became South Africa's first black president in 1994, was jailed for 27 years for his fight against apartheid.

The last time he has been seen by a majority of the public was in July of 2010, at the closing ceremony of the World Cup in Johannesburg.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan272011

Police Arrest Five in Connection to 'Anonymous' Web Attacks

Photo Courtesy - Joe Raedle/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Police in England made five arrests Thursday morning in connection to web attacks carried out last month supporting the leak of top secret documents by WikiLeaks.

According to police, three males, ages 15, 16 and 19, and two men, ages 20 and 26, were arrested around 7 a.m. local time.  Metropolitan police, in conjunction with European and international law enforcement agencies, made the arrests in London, Surrey, West Midlands, Northamptonshire and Hertfordshire.

The five males are believed to be part of the online group called Anonymous that hacked into and crippled the websites of Mastercard, PayPal and other companies that pulled their financial support of WikiLeaks.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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