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Friday
Mar152019

Pompeo, Bolton deny derailing North Korea nuclear talks

iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton on Friday denied that they derailed talks between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un two weeks ago in Vietnam after a fiery statement from North Korea accused the two men of creating an environment of hostility.

While both said that categorization was "inaccurate" or "wrong," there has been little contact between the two sides since the Hanoi summit ended without a deal, and each country said their offer would not change.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui told reporters and foreign diplomats on Friday that Kim will soon make a decision on whether to continue talks with Trump, but said the regime has no intention of compromising or even continuing conversations unless the U.S. makes concessions.

The threat comes after North Korea reassembled a missile engine test site in what analysts said was likely a signal of its anger over the summit's outcome.

The meeting in Vietnam ended when Trump walked away from North Korea's offer to dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear facility in exchange for relief from economic sanctions targeting their industries -- such as coal, oil, and fishing -- and totaling billions of dollars. The U.S. has said since then that it will only accept its definition of "complete denuclearization" -- the total dismantlement of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction program.

"The missiles, the weapons systems, the entire WMD program -- that's the requirement laid out by the United Nations Security Council," Pompeo said Friday.

While Choe praised Kim and Trump's relationship and said their "chemistry is mysteriously wonderful," she went after Pompeo and Bolton by name for creating an atmosphere of hostility and mistrust with their uncompromising demands.

"That's inaccurate," Bolton told reporters at the White House, with Pompeo adding later with a laugh, "They're wrong about that, and I was there."

It's not the first time either man has been blasted specifically by the North Koreans, who have tried to get Trump and Kim together in the belief that he is more amenable to their position. After the Singapore summit last June, Pompeo held the first meetings with North Korea, meeting his counterpart Kim Yong Chol in Pyongyang that July. But those meetings broke down after the U.S. demanded a full declaration of North Korea's nuclear inventory up front -- a "gangster-like demand," according to the regime.

"Following that, we continued to have very professional conversations, where we tried our best to work together and represent our respective sides. I have every expectation that we'll be able to continue to do that," Pompeo said Friday.

To that end, he tried to squeeze a ray of optimism out of Choe's comments, saying, "She left open the possibility that negotiations would continue, for sure. It's the administration's desire that we continue to have conversations about this."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Mar152019

Survivors describe deadly attack on New Zealand mosques

Diederik van Heyningen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- Survivors scrambled for their lives, scaled fences and hid beneath benches as two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, came under terrorist attack from at least one heavily armed shooter Friday.

Once the shooting had stopped, at least 49 people were dead. Forty-one people were killed at the Deans Avenue mosque, Masjid Al Noor, while another seven were killed a few miles away at Linwood Masjid Mosque. Another person died at Christchurch Hospital.

"I'd never heard a gunshot, ever," Mulki Abdiwahab, 18, told TVNZ. She and her parents had gone to pray at the Deans Avenue mosque Friday afternoon. "I thought at first it must have been somebody banging on the window."

"My mum grabbed my hand and then we just we ran outside," she said. "Everyone was in chaos, just running for their lives."

Police have not said whether the same shooter opened fire at both mosques. Four people were taken into custody, but only one -- an Australian national -- had been charged with murder as night fell in New Zealand.

The "very well-planned" attack was filmed on a Facebook livestream -- with it tracking the shooter's footsteps leading up to and including the gunfire at Deans Avenue.

"I heard what I thought was fireworks and I saw a bunch of fellas running down the street," a woman who was driving by the mosque told TVNZ. "Then all of a sudden it got violent, and they started falling. And one fell to left of my car and one fell to right."

Christchurch Hospital said it had taken in 48 people injured by gunfire, including one who later died. The range of injuries were from minor to critical, a hospital spokesperson said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had said earlier in the evening that 20 of the injured had what were considered "serious" injuries.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Mar152019

Jessica Nabongo expected to be first black woman to visit every country in the world

Italika/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Jessica Nabongo is on a mission to be the first black woman to visit every country in the world.

And she's getting close. So far, she's hit 157 countries. In the next seven weeks, she'll add another 11 to that list.

Nabongo spoke to ABC News' Good Morning America from her home in Detroit as she was packing to head out on the next phase of her adventure. In the next two months, she'll visit, among others, Myanmar, Iran, Iraq and Oman.

Travel has always been a part of her life, she told GMA.

"I'm looking at Canada right now," she said. She visited for the fist time when she was four. "We would always take family vacations."

Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, London were on the list of places she visited before she was 18. Also on the list: Uganda, where her parents are from.

In addition to her U.S. passport, Nabongo carries a Ugandan passport, which she said helps her gain access to nations that aren't amenable to American tourists.

She first had the idea to travel to every country in the world in February 2017. At that point, she had visited about 60 countries.

But Nabango didn't tell anyone her plan, at least not at first.

"I didn't want anyone to beat me to it," she said.

Nabango did some research on who else may have conquered this feat, and came to the conclusion if she were to visit each country, she would be the first black woman to do so.

She went public with her quest in March 2018.

Nabongo had been writing a travel blog since 2009, before social media was so prevalent.

"It was a way to keep family and friends updated," she said.

Today, she documents much of her travel on Instagram, where she has almost 90,000 followers.

She said she gets asked a lot how she got started.

"People look at a photo of me in Bali and they say, 'That's cool, I want to go to Bali.' But everyone needs to ask themselves, 'What is your why?' Why do you want to do what it is you want to do? I hope people would be more reflective than reactive. Not just like, 'Oh Bali, that's a cute picture, I want to go,'" Nabongo said.

What makes it to her Instagram, she said, is "a fraction of my life. There's a lot of really s***** things that go on behind the scenes."

Nabongo recounted a visit to the Eastern European nation of Moldova, a place she'll "never go back there in my life." It wasn't just the fact that she got ripped off on her money exchange, or that her cab driver charged her double. She's had things like that happen before. It was the general unfriendliness of the people she encountered.

"I'm [a] seasoned traveler, used to being a foreigner and people taking advantage of me," she said. "I don’t speak the language, I get it, especially in poor countries. In poor countries I don't really even mind."

More often than not, though, people try to be helpful, especially, Nabongo said, when she tells them what she's trying to accomplish.

She plans to end her quest on Oct. 6 in the Seychelles with family and friends on hand to celebrate. Her mom will be there. The date is significant: it's her late father's birthday. Nabongo credits him for her journey.

"Had he not gotten a scholarship to Western Michigan," she said, "none of this would be happening."

And what will she do once she's reached her goal?

"I'll probably go to Uganda right after," she said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Mar152019

Diana, Victoria and Albert top name guessing game for Prince Harry and Meghan's baby

Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage(LONDON) -- As the countdown builds for the birth of Prince Harry and Meghan’s royal baby, the guessing game over the baby’s name has intensified, too.

Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have not revealed whether they are expecting a girl or a boy. Once Meghan gives birth, it could be days before the baby’s name is revealed to the public.

None of the uncertainty has stopped odds-makers from placing their bets on the baby's name.

Diana, Victoria and Albert are among the names currently touted as the odds-on favorite by Ladbrokes, a London-based betting and gambling company.

Unlike the children of Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Harry and Meghan's baby will not automatically carry the title of prince or princess. Harry's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, does have the discretion to issue his child a title after the boy or girl is born.

Harry, 34, and Meghan, 37, may follow in the royal tradition of giving their child several middles names. Harry's full name, for example, is Henry Charles Albert David.

Here is what to know about the meaning behind the names that are current favorites for Harry and Meghan's child:

Diana: Naming the baby Diana would, of course, be a tribute to Harry's beloved mother, the late Princess Diana, who died when Harry was just 12 years old.

William and Kate included Diana in the name of their daughter, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.

Victoria: Queen Victoria reigned in the 1800s after her three uncles ahead of her in the succession had no legitimate children who survived to take the throne.

Victoria, who became queen when she was 18 years old, is associated with "Britain's great age of industrial expansion, economic progress and, especially, empire," according to the royal family's website.

Albert: Prince Albert married Queen Victoria in 1840, three years after she became the Queen of England. Albert, a father of nine, is remembered for his contributions to the arts in the U.K.

He was an "enlightened patron" of music and served as President of the Fine Arts Commission, among other patronages, according to the royal family's website.

Alice: Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, was an aunt of Queen Elizabeth II. Alice, who died in 2004 at the age of 102, lived in Kenya for a time and was known as an accomplished artist.

Philip: Philip would honor Harry's grandfather, Prince Philip, 97, the longest-serving consort in British history.

None of William and Kate's three children have Philip in their names so it could be one that Harry and Meghan opt to use.

Alexander: Alexander is a name steeped in tradition for the royals. William and Kate's oldest son, Prince George, has Alexander as one of his middle names.

Queen Elizabeth has Alexandra, the female version of Alexander, in her name and one of George the First's daughters was an Alexandra.

Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, Queen Elizabeth II's great-grandparents, named their sixth child, who died shortly after birth, Prince Alexander John Charles Albert of Wales.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Mar142019

US, Afghan government tensions burst into public over Taliban talks

Sean Gallup/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department summoned Afghanistan's national security adviser Thursday after he blasted the U.S. for its direct talks with the Taliban and accused the U.S. negotiator of undermining the Afghan government and seeking power in Kabul.

Tensions have been brewing for months as the Afghan government has been excluded from U.S. talks with the militant group and they burst open with Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib's comments -- a searing indictment of the American peace effort.

Mohib condemned the U.S. talks as the "wrong approach" and for "delegitimizing the Afghan government and weakening it and at the same time elevating the Taliban."

He accused U.S. special representative Zalmay Khalilzad, in particular, of weakening the government of President Ashraf Ghani so that Khalilzad himself could take over the country as viceroy.

"He is ostracizing and alienating a very trusted ally and partner," Mohib said of Khalilzad while speaking to reporters in Washington.

Khalilzad is a well-known figure in Washington and Kabul, even helping draft Afghanistan's constitution in the early 2000's after the U.S. invasion toppled Taliban rule. He was born and raised in Afghanistan, but studied in the U.S. and has worked in the U.S. government in various positions, including as ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brought him back on board in the fall 2018 to take the lead on talks with the Taliban that began that summer.

The U.S. and Taliban reached an agreement "in draft" Tuesday on an American troop withdrawal and Taliban commitment to deny safe haven to terror groups, but talks have been criticized because they don't include Ghani's government -- something the U.S. says will come once a deal between it and the Taliban is finalized.

After news of Mohib's comments spread, he was summoned to the State Department to meet with Under Secretary for Political Affairs David Hale, according to the department's deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino, adding that Hale communicated the "United States government's displeasure" and rejected Mohib's categorization.

"Attacks on Ambassador Khalilzad are attacks on the department and only serve to hinder the bilateral relationship and the peace process," he added.

But Palladino also said Hale "expressed our commitment to the Afghan government's stability and full participation in the peace process," a process that they have so far been excluded from.

Critics, now including this senior member of the Afghan government, have said leaving Ghani and his government out of the room has weakened them and shown the Taliban that they don't have to deal with them. The U.S. has long demanded that any talks be "an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned" process, even spending months declining to confirm that Khalilzad or another senior U.S. diplomat Alice Wells was directly meeting with Taliban representatives without the Afghan government.

Still, Palladino defended the U.S. approach, saying Khalilzad has briefed Ghani and others in visits to Kabul "at every available opportunity, often multiples times on a single trip abroad," although Khahilzad did not fly to Kabul after this most recent round ended this week. Khalilzad and Ghani have also spoken by phone multiple times, Palladino added, and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass has had additional in-person meetings.

But it's clear in Mohib's comments that this is not enough for at least some members of the Afghan government. Palladino declined to say whether the U.S. believed Mohib was speaking on behalf of the Afghan government, saying only, "We're confident in our Afghan government partner."

The Afghan embassy and Mohib did not respond to requests for comment.

Once the "agreement in draft" on a U.S. withdrawal and terror safe havens is finalized, the U.S. has said, an "intra-Afghan" peace process will begin -- but pressed this week whether the Taliban agreed to that, Palladino said only, "There's no agreement until we have a full agreement."

He wouldn't say whether the U.S. would condition its withdrawal on those talks happening, but several outside experts have warned any Taliban promises cannot be trusted. The Taliban has said that they believe the U.S. and President Donald Trump, in particular, want out of Afghanistan and analysts have said they will sign anything to get the Americans to leave.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Mar142019

In embattled Venezuela, residents line up for hours just to get clean water: 'Look at how we are living'

Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images(CARACAS, Venezuela) -- The scene in Venezuela's capital of Caracas is dire: a long line of people searching for clean water during the country's daily power outages.

Children and adults alike can be seen carrying jugs as residents prepare to make a dangerous trip underground.

On Tuesday night, desperate residents climbed down a manhole that covered an emergency pipe that Venezuelans had opened to fill their buckets with clean water. Residents waited for hours just to get their share.

"Look at how we are living," one man, Pedro Acosta, told ABC News in Spanish. "We are garbage. Kids are dying of hunger. We are an oil-rich country and look [at] us in this hole getting water."

The crisis in Venezuela has been so severe that for several years parents have been dropping off their sick children to an orphanage.

As the country faced another day of blackouts, which have prompted water shortages and exacerbated already dire health and food crises, the staff at one orphanage visited by ABC News said it had just gotten milk.

Unfortunately, it was set to expire the next day, they said.

Crisbeili, a 6-year-old orphan there, said she had a message for the U.S.: Send water, send medicine, send anything.

Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro remains in control and is backed by Cuban and Russian allies.

He is refusing any help from the United States. Without proof, he has accused U.S. hackers of sabotaging Venezuela's electrical grid, crippling the nation and leading to chaos.

The U.S. recognizes Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president along with more than 50 other nations.

On Thursday, the U.S. announced that all of its diplomats had left Venezuela.

"The United States government, at all levels, remains firm in its resolve and support for the people of Venezuela and Interim President Juan Guaido," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Thursday. "We look forward to resuming our presence once the transition to democracy begins."

The U.S. on Monday pointed to the blackouts, water shortages and threat of further protests when explaining its decision.

With the military still on his side, however, Maduro is showing no signs of stepping down.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Mar142019

New delay in retrieving initial data from Ethiopia 737 crash 'black boxes'

Jemal Countess/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A read-out of initial data on the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash won't happen until at least Friday, the French aviation safety bureau said Thursday, despite assurances from the head of the Federal Aviation Administration Thursday morning that answers could come later in the day.

Though the damaged "black boxes" -- devices that house the flight data and cockpit voice recorders -- arrived in France Wednesday night, they didn't arrive at the French aviation safety bureau, known as the BEA, until 1 p.m. local time on Thursday, the bureau said.

Meetings began after the Ethiopian investigators arrived, the BEA said, but "technical work will start tomorrow."

That delay until Friday was apparently not known to the FAA's acting administrator Daniel Elwell, who said on ABC News' Good Morning America Thursday morning that he expected results "hopefully by the end of the day."

By Friday, now the earliest possible day any initial data could be revealed, families of all 157 passengers who died on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 will have waited five days to learn more about what might have caused Sunday's crash just outside Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa. It will also extend the nearly-worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, an aircraft which has now been involved in two deadly crashes in less than five months.

The expected data could address questions about whether there is a dangerous software problem with the aircraft, now grounded by more than 40 countries and all major airlines around the world.

The FAA reversed its assurances that the plane should stay in the air on Wednesday, making the U.S. one of the last to order the 737 MAX grounded. The decision, announced by President Donald Trump from inside the White House, followed days of back-and-forth between the president, Boeing and the FAA.

The FAA cited new evidence gathered at the site of the crash and "newly refined satellite data" available Wednesday morning as reason for the shift, though the president highlighted that it was made for a number of reasons, including "psychologically" -- referring to the number of other countries and airlines who made the call ahead of the U.S., heightening concerns.

"I didn’t want to take any chances," Trump said. "We didn’t have to make this decision today. We could’ve delayed it. We maybe didn’t have to make it at all, but I felt -- I felt it was important both psychologically and a lot of other ways."

The FAA also said the grounding will continue until authorities fully examine the flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders contained in the black boxes, which are actually orange despite the name.

The National Transportation Safety Board, an independent U.S. agency that investigates transportation accidents and issues widely-respected safety recommendations, sent three additional investigators to assist in the black box analysis in France, the agency said Thursday.

The NTSB investigators are specifically trained to analyze human factors and flight crew operations, as well as the recordings, the NTSB said.

A key question is whether the plane's autopilot system might have played a role in the Egyptian Airlines crash, as it seemed to have done in the fatal crash of an Indonesian Lion Air 737 MAX 8 last October. In that crash, it appears the pilots failed to disengage the autopilot when the plane's nose began pitching up and down, perhaps because they were unaware of how to do so.

Complaints from at least two U.S. pilots disclosing similar problems with the autopilot function have surfaced in the aftermath of Sunday's crash.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Mar142019

Paul Whelan's lawyer says he is a victim of a set up

Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Paul Whelan, the former U.S. Marine arrested in Moscow on espionage charges, says he is the victim of a setup by Russia’s security services, the American's lawyer said on Thursday.

Whelan was detained in Moscow in late December by Russia’s domestic intelligence agency and accused of unspecified “spying activity.” On Thursday, Whelan appeared again in a Moscow court, which rejected his appeal to be released on bail.

Russia has not provided any details on the spying charges against Whelan, but his lawyer has previously said he is accused of receiving “state secrets” on a memory card given to him by a Russian acquaintance during his trip in December. The lawyer has said Whelan, though, had not known what he was receiving -- believing he was being given holiday photographs.

On Thursday, for the first time, Whelan's lawyer accused the Russian friend of taking part in a sting operation against Whelan intended to frame him.

“I believe that it was a joint provocation from the side of his acquaintance and Russia’s security services,” attorney Vladimir Zherebenkov told ABC News outside a courtroom where Whelan's appeal hearing was taking place.

Investigators, Zherebenkov said, also now accuse Whelan of spying in the "interests of the U.S.".

Almost since the moment of his arrest, there has been speculation that Whelan could have been framed, with former U.S. officials suggesting the case resembled classic KGB setups. His family has insisted the charges against Whelan, a security director for the Michigan car parts supplier, BorgWarner, cannot be true and have recently accused Russia of taking him hostage for political reasons.

Zherebenkov's comments on Friday provided the first detailed account of Whelan's version of events.

According to Zherebenkov, Whelan had known the friend for several years and in early 2018 the two had spent a few days relaxing in the countryside outside Moscow. During the trip to an area called Zagorsk, the two barbecued and went to a sauna, Zherebenkov said.

When Whelan traveled again in December to Moscow, where his family have said that he was attending a wedding, he asked the Russian friend to bring him photographs of the spring trip.

He invited the friend to bring the pictures to his hotel room in the upscale Metropol hotel. Instead, Zherebenkov said, the friend deliberately brought a memory card that contained the “state secrets”.

Zherebenkov said that about five minutes later, before Whelan even had chance to see what was on the memory card, agents from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) burst into the hotel room and arrested him.

Zherebenkov said the secrecy laws prohibited him from naming the Russian acquaintance, but he said that he had "connections to the security services." The lawyer said that the friend may have tapped Whelan in the hope of “advancing his career.” Zherebenkov also claimed that the friend owed Whelan money.

“It’s clearly a provocation,” Zherebenkov said. “Paul claims that and the investigation for now cannot refute that. In the words of Paul, it is a fantasy of the FSB.”

Whelan appeared in court on Thursday, marking only the third time he has been seen publicly since his arrest. He was brought in to court by a masked officer and held in a glass cage, while the judge read out his order rejecting Whelan's appeal.

Whelan told reporters in the courtroom that he was not allowed to comment on the case, but he indicated that he believed he was being treated unjustly. Asked if he had been set up, Whelan replied “What do you think?” and gestured towards his lawyer. “Do you know what prison I am being held in?”

Unlike the previous hearings, Whelan was visibly agitated and clearly frustrated. At one point he angrily asked the judge where his translator was, so he could understand the ruling.

“You see how they do things?” Whelan asked reporters.

Speculation that Whelan could have been seized as a hostage emerged quickly after his arrest, with some former U.S. officials suggesting that he could have been taken as leverage in retaliation for the detention of Maria Butina, the Russian gun rights activist who pleaded guilty in the U.S. in December to acting as an illegal agent on behalf of Russia.

Whelan holds British, Canadian, Irish and U.S. passports.

Officials in Britain and Canada have expressed fears that Russia may have taken him as a diplomatic pawn. U.S officials have called on Russia to provide details about the charges against him.

The Kremlin has rejected the suggestion that Whelan's case is political and has denied that it is seeking any prisoner exchange.

Whelan is being held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, a notorious former KGB jail used to hold accused spies, dissidents and other high-profile prisoners.

Whelan’s family has accused the FSB of isolating him there. U.S. diplomats have yet to be able to have Whelan sign a privacy waiver, a standard form that would allow them to discuss his case with his family.

Andrea Kalan, the U.S. embassy spokeswoman, wrote on Twitter last week that the U.S. State Department is “strongly concerned” that Russian authorities were preventing Whelan from signing the waver.

U.S. diplomats were due to visit Whelan again on Friday, his family said in a statement.

In court, Whelan said he was not able to see any news and was being prevented from communicating with anyone.

“I’m not allowed to talk with anyone,” Whelan told reporters.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Mar142019

Controversial bus ads declaring Michael Jackson's innocence pulled down in London

MarioGuti/iStock(LONDON) -- The London transit authorities have agreed to pull down a series of controversial advertisements protesting Michael Jackson’s innocence against allegations made in the new HBO documentary Leaving Neverland from their buses, after a sexual abuse survivors’ charity complained that the ads contributed to a “toxic” environment for commuters.

In the controversial film, two former acquaintances of Jackson, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, graphically detailed alleged child sexual abuse at the hands of the singer, who died in 2009 at the age of 50. They claimed that Jackson introduced them, separately, to pornography and masturbation and violated them on multiple occasions.

Lawyers for the late singer’s estate have denied the claims made in the documentary and are in the process of suing HBO, who aired Leaving Neverland in the United States, $100 million for breach of contract.

The advertisements send out the wrong message to victims of rape or assault in England and Wales, where officials said that less than one in five victims report the crimes to the police, according to the Survivors Trust, the charity which brought the complaint to the London transit authorities.

“After being contacted by survivors about the advertising campaign, we contacted the London Victims Commissioner with our concerns,” a spokesperson for the Survivors Trust told ABC News.

“We believe that the decision to prioritize advertising revenue over the option of remaining neutral on such an emotive topic is disappointing," the spokesperson continued. "An advertising campaign such as this, paid for by a supporter of an alleged perpetrator, only serves to support a toxic social narrative that prevents survivors from thinking they will be believed and speaking up.”

The advertisements were funded by the Michael Jackson Innocent Campaign, a group started by fans who believe claims of sexual abuse against Jackson in the documentary Leaving Neverland are falsified. They raised over $20,000 on the fundraising platform GoFundMe in order to pay for the ads on the sides of London’s iconic red buses.

According to the campaign founder’s Twitter page, the group paid for posters to appear on more than 40 London buses with the tagline: “Facts don’t lie. People do.”

The documentary has sparked a re-examination of Jackson's legacy, more than a decade after the pop singer was acquitted of child sex abuse charges involving a 13-year-old in California -- home to his 'Neverland' ranch.

“We have reviewed our position and will be removing these advertisements,” Transport for London officials said in a statement to ABC News. “They have been rejected due to the public sensitivity and concern around their content.”

The director of Leaving Neverland, Dan Reed, has said he is shocked by the reaction of people who do not believe Robson and Safechuck’s allegations against Jackson.

“Until you’ve watched all of it [the documentary], you’re in the dark about whether to believe James and Wade or not,” he wrote in the Guardian this month. “Few who have watched it without prejudice are left in any doubt by the end.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Mar142019

Duchess Meghan starts maternity leave before birth of first child

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Duchess Meghan has started maternity leave ahead of the birth of her first child.

The Duchess of Sussex’s two events on Monday, to mark Commonwealth Day, could have been the last time the public will catch a glimpse of Meghan before her child is born.

Meghan, who is due to give birth in April, is expected to still hold private meetings before the baby’s birth but does not have any upcoming official engagements scheduled.

Kensington Palace has not commented on how long of a maternity leave Meghan, 37, is expected to take. She and Prince Harry are moving to Frogmore Cottage, in Windsor, where they are planning to raise their first child.

When Meghan married Harry last May, becoming a member of Britain’s royal family, she took on a role that does not come with established maternity and paternity guidelines.

Meghan’s sister-in-law, Duchess Kate, started her maternity leave with her third child, Prince Louis, approximately one month before his birth last April.

She stepped out for events like Harry and Meghan’s wedding and Trooping the Colour shortly after Louis’ birth but took time off from official royal engagements, just as she did after the births of her older two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Kate made her first public solo appearance nearly eight months after Louis’ birth, in October of last year.

Prince William took more defined paternity leave after the births of George and Charlotte because he was working as a helicopter pilot at the time.

After George’s birth, William was granted two weeks leave from his role as a Royal Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter pilot through statutory paternity leave, which Britain implemented in 2003. When Charlotte was born in 2015, William took nearly six weeks of paternity leave after finishing his air ambulance training and exams early.

Because the royal family has no set guidelines, it is up to Meghan and Harry to decide the amount of leave they take.

In the U.K., employees can take up to 52 weeks of maternity leave, including 39 weeks of paid leave, according to government guidelines.

Fathers in the U.K. are entitled to two weeks of paid paternity leave.

Meghan maintained a busy pace of engagements throughout her pregnancy.

She joined Harry on a 16-day tour of Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji just as they announced her pregnancy last October. Last month, the couple traveled to Morocco for a three-day official visit.

Meghan also announced her first royal patronages during her pregnancy and made visits to each of the four charities.

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