Entries in New York City (11)


Sarai Sierra: Body of Missing American Mom Reportedly Found in Turkey

Courtesy Sarai Sierra's family(NEW YORK) -- The body of an American woman who went missing while on a solo trip to Turkey has been found in Istanbul, and nine people have been held for questioning, according to local media.

Sarai Sierra, 33, was last heard from on Jan. 21, the day she was due to board a flight home to New York City.

The state-run Andolu Agency reported that residents found a woman's body Saturday near the ruins of some ancient city walls in a low-income district, and police identified the body as Sierra.

Rep. Michael Grimm, R-NY, who with his staff had been assisting the Sierra family in the search, said he was "deeply saddened" to hear the news of her death.

"I urge Turkish officials to move quickly to identify whomever is responsible for her tragic death and ensure that any guilty parties are punished to the fullest extent of the law," he said in a statement.

The New York City mother, who has two young boys, traveled to Turkey alone on Jan. 7 after a friend had to cancel. Sierra, who is an avid photographer with a popular Instagram stream, planned to document her dream vacation with her camera.

"It was her first time outside of the United States, and every day while she was there she pretty much kept in contact with us, letting us know what she was up to, where she was going, whether it be through texting or whether it be through video chat, she was touching base with us," Steven Sierra told ABC News before he departed for Istanbul last Sunday to aid in the search.

Steven Sierra has been in the country, meeting with U.S. officials and local authorities, as they searched for his wife.

On Friday, Turkish authorities detained a man who had spoken with Sierra online before her disappearance. The identity of the man and the details of his arrest were not disclosed, The Associated Press reported.

The family said it is completely out of character for the happily married mother, who met her husband in church youth group, to disappear.

She took two side trips, to Amsterdam and Munich, before returning to Turkey, but kept in contact with her family the entire time, a family friend told ABC News.

Further investigation revealed she had left her passport, clothes, phone chargers and medical cards in her room at a hostel in Beyoglu, Turkey.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


UK, Afghanistan and Pakistan Have Constructive UN Pow-Wow

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Something positive has come out of the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York City this week -- even if it happened in the sidelines.

The leaders of the United Kingdom, Afghanistan and Pakistan pledged that their governments would continue seeking regional peace, stability and development in the region as the war in Afghanistan nears its 11th anniversary.

British Prime Minister David Cameron met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to also discuss eliminating terrorism that still plagues Afghanistan and its often contentious neighbor.

In perhaps the most important sign of cooperation, Zardari said he supported an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process to end the long war.

Zadari and Karzai also expressed their appreciation to Cameron for the United Kingdom's constant support in the region and for backing the socio-economic development of their people.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New York to Moscow Plane Diverted After Bomb Threat

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A passenger jet flying from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport to Moscow was diverted to Iceland on Thursday because a caller reportedly told the NYPD there was a bomb on board.

A total of 256 people were on board the Russian Aeroflot plane when an anonymous caller told New York City police that there was a bomb on the flight, airline spokeswoman Irina Dannenberg told Russian media outlets.

Authorities in New York confirmed to ABC News that the plane was diverted because of "technical issues."

No bomb was found on board the plane, which remains in good condition, according to Russian news agency Interfax.  Interfax also reported that passengers are waiting for a new crew to arrive.  The crew on board the plane diverted to Iceland is reportedly being sent home to Moscow, as crews on the airline work according to set timetables.

The Airbus A330 took off from New York on Wednesday.  Prior to diverting to Iceland's Keflavik International Airport, at one point, the pilot considered turning the flight back to New York.  However, the pilot then decided to go on, only to divert to Iceland.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Report: Yemeni President to Receive Medical Treatment in NYC

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The New York Times reported Monday night that Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh will receive medical treatment in New York City for serious injuries he sustained last June during an assassination attempt on his life in Sana.

The decision to allow Saleh into the U.S. could prove problematic for the White House, since he remains the target of pro-democracy protesters who have accused him of ordering hundreds of deaths since a government crackdown earlier in the year.

While the Times quoted an Obama administration source for its information regarding Saleh, White House officials accompanying President Obama in Hawaii have disputed the accuracy of the story.

Deputy Press Secretary Josh Ernest said, "U.S. officials are continuing to consider President Saleh's request to enter the country for the sole purpose of seeking medical treatment, but initial reports that permission has already been granted are not true."

On the other hand, allowing the Yemeni leader into the U.S. for medical care, the Times said, could hasten free elections scheduled for next year and possibly end the political upheaval that threatens to further empower al Qaeda, which is already strong in Yemen -- if those who are ultimately elected don't share an agenda with the Islamic militant group.

Meanwhile, activists opposed to the Saleh regime have asserted they would demand the U.S. return their president to Yemen for prosecution if he should be treated by doctors in New York City.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bomb Found at Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt

FRANK RUMPENHORST/AFP/Getty Images(FRANKFURT, Germany) -- An investigation is underway into a bomb addressed to Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann and found in the mailroom of the German bank's Frankfurt headquarters.

As a result of the confirmed threat to the 63-year-old Swiss banker, New York City police stepped up security at the bank's U.S. headquarters in New York.

Ackerman is one of Europe's most powerful bankers and is a key advisor in the European Union debt crisis to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He has played an important role in the efforts to reduce Greece's debt.

Recently, the bank's Munich offices were searched by prosecutors investigating suspicions that Ackermann and other former top executives gave false testimony in an ongoing civil suit.

It was not immediately clear whether his role in managing the debt crisis or some other grievance had triggered the delivery of the bomb. It was discovered by a mailroom x-ray machine and it did not explode.

In New York City, 10,000 security officials who take part in the NYPD Shield program were advised by that police unit of the attempted attack at the German bank and reminded to alert their mail rooms to proper procedures for handling suspicious packages.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Did Former IMF Chief Solicit Other Women in New York?

Harold Cunningham/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A U.S. tabloid is reporting that former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn supposedly made advances to several other women before and after his alleged sexual assault against a maid last week during his stay at a Manhattan luxury hotel.

The New York Post says that Strauss-Kahn tried to entice two workers from the Sofitel Hotel to his room and made a lewd comment to an Air France flight attendant before he was removed from the plane by police on May 14 following the reported attack on the maid.

According to the Post, the married Strauss-Kahn used the French phrase "Quel beau cul" to tell the Air France attendant he admired her posterior.

Meanwhile, the former IMF chief is also reported to have tried to separately invite the hotel receptionist and desk receptionist back to his $3,000-a-night suite for a glass of champagne.  Both women declined his advances, which they described as "blatantly inappropriate," the newspaper said.

It was sometime around noon on May 14 that prosecutors contend Strauss-Kahn attempted to rape a hotel chamber maid.  The 32-old immigrant from Guinea has supposedly given authorities a detailed account of what happened.

Strauss-Kahn, who was released last week on $1 million bail, pleaded not guilty to seven counts, including attempted rape, criminal sexual assault and unlawful imprisonment.  The most serious charges could send him to prison for a maximum of 25 years if he's convicted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Strauss-Kahn Set to Leave Prison, Collect Hefty Severance Payout

Jim Spellman/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- As Dominique Strauss-Kahn prepares for release from jail on highly conditional bail after being indicted by a grand jury on rape charges, the former IMF chief will reportedly get an exit package including an annual pension of more than $318,000.

After appearing in court Thursday, a judge granted him a $1 million bail, an additional $5 million insurance bond and house arrest in New York City, as well as 24-hour monitoring.

Strauss-Kahn's time under house arrest will be at Bristol Plaza on Manhattan's Upper East Side.  The luxurious building specializes in corporate rentals of as much as $14,000 a month for a two-bedroom apartment.

In court Thursday, Strauss-Kahn blew kisses to his family in a rare light moment after a few very heavy days for the renowned economist.  The judge accepted the argument that he had no reason to flee the United States, and his offer to stay confined in the New York apartment rented by his wife while wearing an electronic monitoring device.

A grand jury heard testimony Wednesday from his accuser, a 32-year-old chamber maid at New York City's Sofitel Hotel, and gave the go-ahead for Strauss-Kahn to be tried for allegedly forcing the woman to submit to oral sex; he is also accused of attempted rape.  The grand jury sent down seven counts, which carry up to 25 years in prison.

Strauss-Kahn denied any wrong doing for the first time in his letter resigning as head of the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday, writing: "I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me."

With his resignation, the alleged rapist said he wanted, "…to protect this institution which I have served with honor and devotion."  It's likely he also insured hefty severance and pension payouts, assuming the IMF is standing by the contract.

According to his 2007 contract, the managing director of the IMF got a base salary and allowance totaling $496,280 when it went into effect in 2007.  With the prescribed cost of living increases in both the salary and allowance, he was making nearly $530,000 a year in annual compensation as of last July, according to ABC News' calculations.

It is common practice for executives of big organizations to get so-called "golden parachutes" when they retire or are terminated, and Strauss-Kahn's deal with the IMF is no different.  The deal gives him a "separation allowance" of 60-65 percent of his take-home pay.  That means with Wednesday's resignation letter, he is likely due $318,000 to $349,000 immediately.

The terms of the agreement do not seem to allow for the payment to be withheld for any reason, including being charged with or convicted of felony sexual assault.

The employment contract also sets up Strauss-Kahn with a lifetime of pension payments.  He was required to participate in the fund's basic staff retirement plan -- a traditional pension, which according to the IMF's website can start paying out at age 50 and with only three years of service.  Details on how much Strauss-Kahn gets under the basic plan are not publicly available.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Dominique Strauss-Kahn's Lawyers to Seek Bail Again

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned as managing director of the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday, will return to court with his lawyers Thursday morning in a second attempt to win bail on charges that he sexually assaulted a hotel maid.

Strauss-Kahn, until the arrest a likely candidate for the presidency of France, officially resigned from the position he held since 2007 via a letter on Wednesday, an IMF press release stated.

Strauss-Kahn was arrested on Saturday on various charges including committing a criminal sexual act, attempted rape, and unlawful imprisonment, stemming from an alleged incident in a Manhattan suite where he is accused of the attempted rape a hotel maid.

His defense lawyers' offer of a $1 million bail package was rejected by the court at an initial hearing on Monday on grounds that Strauss-Kahn is a flight risk.  Since then he has been held in an 11 by 13-foot cell at the West Facility on New York's Riker's Island, where he remains on suicide watch.

It is unclear if Strauss-Kahn will be present for Thursday's court proceedings.

Thursday is Strauss-Kahn's scheduled visiting day at Riker's Island. Media reports from France indicate that his family is expected to visit him; if so, as many as three of them may visit for up to one hour.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


IMF Chief's Arrest Leaves French Angry, Dismayed and Defensive

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The French have reacted with a range of emotions to sexual assault allegations against International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, some shocked by the charges and others angered by his treatment at the hands of U.S. law enforcement.

"[The U.S. has] an accusatory system," French justice minister Elisabeth Guigou said on France Info radio.  "We have a system that takes perhaps a little more time but which is, despite everything, more protective of individual rights."

Strauss-Kahn has been accused of the attempted rape of a maid in a $3,000-a-night New York hotel suite.  He will remain in jail until his hearing on Friday after a New York City judge deemed him a flight risk.

His attorneys have denied the seven counts against him, which included allegedly forcing the housekeeper to perform oral sex, and allegedly forcing her to submit to anal sex after allegedly taking her prisoner inside the luxury suite.

Some of Strauss-Kahn's allies in France have come to his defense.  His rush to leave the French-owned Sofitel hotel in midtown Manhattan was no attempt to flee the alleged crime scene but to honor previous plans to lunch with his daughter, according to comments in the New York Times attributed to Socialist politician Jean-Christophe Cambadélis Monday.

Others have expressed dismay at the widely seen photos of the handcuffed Strauss-Kahn being escorted by police.  It is illegal in France for the media to show images of a person accused of a crime before conviction, so the imagery of the IMF chief handcuffed gracing the covers of French newspapers has alarmed many there.

Meanwhile, the accusations alone against the once-likely presidential candidate -- a frontrunner, no less -- have been enough to rattle the country.

"A lot of politicians are known to have affairs and it doesn't scandalize people," ABC News correspondent Jeffrey Kofman told ABC News Radio Tuesday. "But this is something entirely different.  A sexual assault, a rape goes way beyond that and people are very upset.  They're quite horrified by that, by the prospect of this, these accusations being true.  And it takes it to another dimension."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


French Journalist Alleges IMF Head Attacked Her in 2002

Brian Harkin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is currently being held in a New York City jail on sexual assault charges, allegedly attempted a similar assault on a 22-year-old French journalist in 2002.

The head of the International Monetary Fund was removed from an Air France flight just before it departed New York Saturday night and charged with the attempted rape of a maid at the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan.  On Monday, a New York City judge denied him bail after prosecutors argued they were investigating reports that Strauss-Kahn had "engaged in similar conduct at least once before."

French journalist Tristane Banon has accused Strauss-Kahn, a prominent French politician who was considered a potential candidate for president in next spring's elections, of attempting to assault her when she interviewed him nearly 10 years ago.

Banon recounted her harrowing experience with Strauss-Kahn as part of a French television show 93, Faubourg Saint-Honoré, that aired on the French cable TV channel Paris Première in February 2007.

"It ended up violent... I kicked him several times, he unbuttoned my bra...and tried to unzip my jeans," Banon said on the show.

Banon recounted the story of the 2002 alleged attack while filmed sitting at a dinner table with guests, each one telling of his or her bad experience with a politician.  Strauss-Kahn's name is covered up by a beep on the show, but Banon has subsequently confirmed she was talking about Strauss-Kahn.

At the time of the alleged attack, Banon had arranged to meet with Strauss-Kahn to interview him for her first book, Admitted Mistakes, in which she queried politicians about the greatest error of their careers.

Banon said in the clip that Strauss-Kahn told her to meet him at an address that turned out to be an apartment that was empty except for a bed and a video camera.  Banon said she was "surprised" when told to meet him there since she knew where he lived and worked.

Once inside, Banon said, Strauss-Kahn insisted that she conduct the interview "holding his hand."

Banon said that the hand-holding turned into sexual advances and that Strauss-Kahn became violent.  They fought on the floor of the apartment.  "When we were fighting, I used the word 'rape' to scare him," said Banon, which she said did not stop Strauss-Kahn.  Ultimately, she fought him off and left.

Banon claimed that after the alleged assault, Strauss-Kahn continued to send her text messages asking her if she was "scared."  On the show, Banon also said, "No young girl wants to work for him anymore at the National Assembly."  She added that she told her story to a well-known lawyer whom she said had a huge file on Strauss-Kahn.

Banon's mother, Anne Mansouret, a Socialist Party official, said in recent interviews that the event was extremely traumatizing for her daughter.

"She fell into a depression [following the attack]," Mansouret told France's Channel 3 News Monday.  Mansouret said her daughter's life was strongly affected by the attack, and that she was afraid that the incident would define her career as a journalist.

Banon did not file charges at the time, but her lawyer David Koubbi reportedly says that she is now seriously considering it, and that she held back in the past because her mother counseled her against it.

Koubbi told RTL Radio Monday he is likely to file suit for Banon now because "she knows she'll be heard and she knows she'll be taken seriously."

Mansouret told French reporters that she was concerned at the time that the incident would have negative repercussions on Strauss-Kahn's family, and that she had viewed Strauss-Kahn as a "nice man."  She now says she regrets counseling her daughter against filing the charges.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, has denied the charges of sexual assault in New York and will plead not guilty, his attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said.

Before last weekend's scandal, Strauss-Kahn was considered a front-runner for the French presidency.  A leader of the Socialist political party, a former cabinet minister and member of the French National Assembly, Strauss-Kahn had recently outpolled incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy.  Though his term as IMF chief, which began in 2007, would not be over until 2012, he was expected to leave in order to focus on the presidential race.  The election, which involves two rounds of voting, is scheduled for April and May 2012.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio