Entries in U.S. (12)


London Olympics End with US Leading in All Medal Categories

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Day 16 of the London Summer Olympics proved to be a fitting conclusion to the Games for Team USA, which finished the way it started by winning a couple of medals.

The U.S. men’s basketball team defeated Spain, 107-100, for the gold, but the game was much closer than that, with the Americans only holding a one-point lead over their opponent at the end of the half and the conclusion of the third period.

The other medal Sunday for the U.S. was a gold for Jake Varner in the Wrestling Men’s Freestyle 96k.

So after 16 days of competition, Team USA topped all nations in total medals with 104, and its athletes are taking home 46 golds, 29 silvers and 29 bronzes, the most in each of those categories as well.

China was second in overall medals with 87 and second place in gold medals at 38.  Russia finished third with 82 total medals.

Commenting on the U.S. accomplishment, Scott Blackmun, chief executive of the U.S. Olympic Committee, said, “We had very, very high expectations coming into the Games, and I think our expectations have been exceeded both on the field of play and off.”

The 104 total was the most the U.S. has won in an Olympics held on foreign soil.

U.S. swimmers dominated by winning 31 total medals, including 16 gold.  Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, won six overall and four gold to bring his record-breaking total to 22 medals.  Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte and Allison Schmitt each won five medals.

Track and field was right behind with 29 medals, as Allyson Felix won three gold medals and Carmelita Jeter won gold, silver and bronze.  There were also 18 instances of national-best performances by individuals and relays.

Other highlights included the American men’s and women’s basketball teams winning their gold medal games, and U.S. women’s beach volleyball teams taking gold and silver.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sanctions Push Iranian Currency to Record Lows

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Iran’s currency, the rial, has lost 71 percent of its value against the dollar since September, a fact that a senior Treasury Department official said Monday was a direct result of U.S. and international sanctions on Tehran. Monday, the rial dropped 10 percent to reach record lows after the European Union imposed sanctions.

The EU Monday banned oil imports from Iran, and the U.S. Treasury sanctioned Iran’s third-largest bank, the last of five state-owned banks to be sanctioned, and one of Iran’s final lifelines to the international monetary system.

Iran has reacted to the increased pressure with heightened belligerence in the Strait of Hormuz as well as a renewed willingness to engage in nuclear talks.

The Treasury Department official said Monday that Iran had taken some drastic steps to counter the effect of sanctions, including blocking text messages that contain the words “euro” or “dollar.” Sales of Western currencies were banned and plain clothes police roam currency exchange booths searching for violators, the Treasury official said.

According to a senior European diplomat, the EU’s oil ban, combined with decisions by Japan and South Korea to cut back oil purchases from Iran, will have a disastrous effect on Iran’s economy. Together they account for a significant percentage of Iran’s foreign oil sales. Countries like Russia, China and India represent the balance, but not enough to make up for the loss of revenue.

As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made clear in their joint statement this morning the aim is clear: to starve Iran’s nuclear program of its major source of funding but cutting off oil revenues.

Given that the United States has yet to even begin implementing tough new sanctions on oil deals through Iran’s Central Bank, the senior Treasury official Monday predicted that Iran’s economic woes were only going to get worse in the near future.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Asking Nicely Didn't Work: Iranian Say They're Keeping US Drone

Stocktrek Images/Getty Images (file photo)(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Iran is not about to hand over a top secret U.S. surveillance aircraft it claims it brought down two weeks ago.

President Obama told reporters Monday that the U.S. "asked" to have the unmanned drone returned but Tehran replied that it wasn't about to honor the request -- not now or ever.

Iran's Far News Agency wrote Tuesday, "Obama begs Iran to give him back his toy plane...We are still wondering how he shamelessly asked Tehran to give the U.S. back the stealth drone which had violated the Iranian airspace for espionage."

President Obama's reaction to the was flamed by his critics, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, who said Obama should have ordered an airstrike to destroy the downed drone in an effort to vaporize its secret payload of data and the drone itself, said to be the most advanced U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle in the skies.

The U.S. contends that RQ-170 Sentinel, which was supposed to be flying over western Afghanistan, malfunctioned, rejecting Iranian claims that it was shot down.

Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi told Iran's ISNA news agency, "The American espionage drone is now Iran's property, and our country will decide what steps to take regarding it."

According to some sources, Iran has already drained intelligence from the plane in order to create a fleet of "drone clones."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Afghanistan Transition to Begin Sunday

ABC News(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- This weekend, the U.S. will officially begin to transition control to Afghanistan starting with four cities and three provinces. Herat City in the West, Mazar-i-Sharif in the North, Lashkar Gah in the South and Mehterlam in the East will be among the first cities to transition control.  The U.S. will also hand over control to Bamiyan and Panjshir -- two of Afghanistan's safest provinces -- as well as Kabul.

Aides to Afghan President Hamid Karzai believe transition in Meterlam, which will gain Afghan control July 19, will prove to be the most challenging case. These days the city is relatively safe, but beneath the surface one may find the immense challenges the Afghans will face in confronting security issues increasingly on their own.
Police are currently in charge of security, but only a few dozen patrol the city. They are also badly equipped with some wearing only sandals, and none with armor. And instead of IEDs or complex attacks in the city, the Taliban issue personal threats against judges, politicians and people who work with the coalition.

The U.S. will begin transitioning control Sunday.

Copyright 2011 ABC news Radio


U.S. Drones Target Anwar al-Awlaki

AFPI/US AIR FORCE(SANA’A, Yemen) -- Less than a week after Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in a raid in Pakistan, U.S. drones have tried to killed radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, according to U.S. officials.

Officials say the missile strike did not succeed in killing Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric who has become a leading voice of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemeni affiliate of al Qaeda.

Yemeni officials said two al Qaeda operatives were killed in the Thursday strike in a remote area of Yemen.

The attempt to kill Awlaki was the first acknowledged U.S military strike inside Yemen in a year. In May 2010, missiles killed an envoy of Yemeni president Saleh by mistake. Unlike previous strikes in Yemen that have involved Tomahawk cruise missile launched by Navy ships, Thursday's strike involved a predator drone. Until now, drones flying over Yemen had been unarmed.

In early 2010, the Obama administration authorized the CIA and the U.S. military to kill Awlaki even though he is a U.S. citizen. Born in New Mexico, Awlaki moved to Yemen in 2004. Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad said he was inspired by Awlaki, and accused Ft. Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan exchanged emails with Awlaki.

In September, the Yemeni government said it had surrounded Awlaki in the village of Houta, but then said it had instead captured two-dozen al Qaeda fighters and a "vital terror headquarters."

In a statement, the Yemeni government said the military was still "combing the area, searching for militants before declaring the area safe for its residents to return." The military says the battle began after a failed attack by AQAP on a pipeline. Thousands of civilians fled their homes in the wake of the fighting.

Yemeni officials said they believed Awlaki was near the village with a group of suspected al Qaeda militants. But a Yemeni diplomat who had spoken to military commanders on the scene told ABC News there was no confirmation that Awlaki was at the location.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Coalition Attacks on Libya Intensify as Gadhafi's Compound Is Hit

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Sunderman/Released(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- U.S. military attacks on Libya intensified Monday and are targeting Moammar Gadhafi's air defenses, troops and warplanes.

The action follows Sunday's missile raids that struck "military assets" within Gadhafi's compound and a barrage of airstrikes by U.S. and European militaries that destroyed Libyan defenses, rocked the capitol of Tripoli and buoyed the spirits of the opposition.

Vice Adm. William Gortney said on Sunday that the United States was "not targeting Gadhafi," and that the strike that hit Gadhafi's compound was not carried out by the U.S.

A United Nations-backed no-fly zone is being enforced by the U.S., British and French aircraft from Tripoli to Benghazi and the top third of the country.  Spain, Belgium, Denmark and Qatar have also joined the coalition.

While U.S. forces have clearly taken the lead in this initial assault, on Sunday Secretary of Defense Robert Gates downplayed the U.S. role in the coalition.

"We will continue to support the coalition, we will be a member of the coalition, we will have a military role in the coalition.  But we will not have the preeminent role," he said.

Throughout Sunday night, U.S. warplanes, including Marine Corps Harrier Jets launched from U.S. ships in the Mediterranean along with Air Force fighter jets, took aim at a convoy of Ghadhafi's troops southwest of Benghazi -- the rebel stronghold that the Libyan leader has vowed to take back.

While fighter jets were pounding Gadhafi's forces in the east, three B2 stealth bombers dropped 45 2,000-pound bombs on a military airfield near Misrata.  The bombs struck multiple shelters housing Gadhafi's warplanes.

In addition, another dozen or so Tomahawk missiles were fired from ships in the Mediterranean.  More than 120 have now been launched, with Gadhafi's surface to air missiles now considered seriously degraded.

It is believed now that Gadhafi's forces are under significant stress, and are suffering from isolation and a good deal of confusion.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


F-22s Stealth Fighter May Be First Enforcer of Libyan No-Fly Zone

Erik Simonsen/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- With the United Nations authorization for an internationally monitored no-fly zone over Libya, it seems clear that the United States will play a role enforcing it.

It is not yet clear exactly that U.S. military's role would be. The White House has made clear it wants help in particular from other countries in the Middle East. All planning could be altered by reports of a truce between Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi and rebel forces in Benghazi.

But Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norman Schwartz provided a House panel with some insights on what the United States could do, beginning with the deployment of F-22 stealth fighters, which can avoid Libyan air defenses. While some have said that the implementation of a no-fly zone could begin within hours, Schwartz said it would take "upwards of a week" to implement a no-fly zone.

As for what the U.S. could offer to help: "It would entail numerous assets. Certainly fighter aircraft, F-16, F-15, both air to ground and anti- radiation capabilities." He said the F-22 stealth fighter "would be useful, and I would have the expectation that at least in the early days it certainly would be used." F-22's are based only in the U.S.

Fighter jets need support, however. In addition, surveillance aircraft and tankers to fuel all the other planes would be needed. Schwartz called the mobilization of a "total force sort of application."

"You've going to have RC-135s, you're going to have surveillance kinds of capabilities that would be used to surveil both the integrated air defense system and others areas as tasked. You'll have tankers to support the short-legged platforms. You would have Compass Call and other capabilities that, again, can jam communications and affect the effectiveness of the integrated air defense and so on. And you would have undoubtedly some bomber aircraft that would give you long dwell over specific target areas.

Compass Call is the name given to a specialized C-130 that provides electronic jamming of radars, communications, etc. RC-135's are specialized intelligence gathering aircraft that specializes in communications intercepts.

"So the bottom line, if we do this, this is a complete kind of a total force sort of application of our air and space capabilities," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Moammar Gadhafi Predicts "Bloody War" If U.S. and Allies Attack Libya

Photo Courtesy - Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- In a three-hour speech that was even classic by his standards, Col. Moammar Gadhafi promised a bloodbath Wednesday if the U.S. or NATO stages military action against him.

Speaking to supporters gathered in Tripoli, Gadhafi said foreign intervention will result in "a bloody war, and thousands and thousands of Libyans will die...It will become another Vietnam, another historic battle."

Should the U.S. and its allies join the revolt against him, Gadhafi warned, "They will set foot in hell -- worse than Afghanistan."

Gadhafi also alleged that the international media was "filling the air with provocation and nonsense" and disputed reports of a large-scale demonstrations against his rule.

He told supporters that the fighting taking place outside of Tripoli was being led by prisoners who had escaped from jails with the aid of al Qaeda.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


China on Verge of Unseating U.S. as World's Largest Manufacturer

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BEIJING) – China is on the verge of taking a title the United States has held for 110 years: the world's largest manufacturer.

When China surpasses the U.S. in manufacturing later this year, it will be the latest sector in which China has challenged U.S. dominance, fueling its increasingly assertive attitude in dealing with the U.S.

An example of China's determination to be taken as an equal, it brazenly tested its first known stealth fighter while Defense Secretary Robert Gates was visiting last week, and China's generals have said they want to double the military budget.

"I think we're going to see a China that's going to spread its wings more, a China that is not going to be contained or pushed around," Beijing-based analyst and professor Russell Leigh Moses told ABC News.

China's President Hu struck a more diplomatic tone after arriving in the United States Tuesday to meet with President Obama.

The delegation announced $45 billion worth' of deals to purchase U.S. exports, including a $19-billion deal with Boeing to purchase 200 planes. The other deals are in a wide variety of export sectors and include everything from agricultural products and telecommunication equipment to engineering machinery and auto parts. The White House said the deals will support 235,000 U.S. jobs.
Despite those potentially lucrative deals for U.S. companies, the booming Chinese economy continues to expand into frontiers dominated by the United States. It is designing civilian aircrafts, building its own space station and trying to match U.S. nuclear technology with 25 new nuclear plants.

While state and municipal governments in the U.S. struggle with massive deficits, China is designing vast infrastructure upgrades. It will begin construction this year on more than 50 airports, 23,000 miles of highway and 19,000 miles of railway lines.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


American Opinion of Asia, China on the Rise

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – Almost half of Americans believe that Asia is the most important region in the world in regards to its military, political and economic ties to the United States, a possible reflection of changing perceptions of world power.

According to a new poll by the Pew Research Center, 47 percent of Americans say Asia is most important to the U.S., while 37 percent prioritized Europe.

The figures represent a significant change over the past decade. In 2001, only 34 percent of Americans saw Asia as having the most important tie to the U.S. compared to 44 percent who said Europe was at the top of the list.

Perceptions of economic power in the world have also changed. Fifty-seven percent of Americans said China has the world’s leading economy. The figure is up 17 percent from three years ago, before the U.S. entered the economic crisis.

Furthermore, 58 percent said it is crucial the U.S. build a stronger relationship with China -- this, a week before President Obama prepares to host Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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