SEARCH

Wednesday
May182011

White House to Yemeni President: Sign Agreement, Get Out

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House called President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen on Wednesday to urge him to sign and implement the Gulf Cooperation Council-brokered agreement that would result in his stepping down within a month.

John Brennan, President Obama's top adviser on counterterrorism and the point-man for Yemen, made the phone call, delivering the message that the agreement should be signed "so that Yemen is able to move forward immediately with its political transition," according to the official read-out of the call.

Under the agreement, Saleh would resign with immunity by the end of the month. His political party --  led by vice president Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi -- would work with opposition leaders to form a unity government and a presidential election would be held within two months.

Saleh went back on the previously negotiated agreement with opposition leaders brokered by the six-nation GCC.

"For our part, we have agreed," Muhammad Naimi, the head of the opposition's political bureau, was quoted saying in the Los Angeles Times. "Whether the government will actually commit to the document, or backtrack again, that is another story."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May182011

IMF Case: Maid's Testimony to Emphasize 'Nothing Consensual'

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Investigators say they are conducting DNA tests on bodily fluids found in the Manhattan hotel room where IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn allegedly sexually assaulted a chambermaid, while his accuser prepares to testify before a grand jury.

The housekeeper, a native of the West African country of Guinea, was to testify in court Wednesday that "there was nothing consensual" about the assault that allegedly took place Saturday, her lawyer Jeffrey Shapiro said.

Her testimony and new physical evidence will be introduced in an effort to swat down what will likely be Strauss-Kahn's defense; that he and the maid, 32, had consensual sex in his $3,000-a-night suite at the Sofitel Hotel. Defense attorney Benjamin Brafman told the judge at a bail hearing Monday that "the evidence, we believe, will not be consistent with a forcible encounter," shedding light on the narrative Strauss-Kahn's lawyer might use to explain the encounter.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, is accused of forcing the housekeeper to perform oral sex and submit to anal sex. He is also accused of sexual assault and attempted rape.

Prosecutors plan to introduce evidence that they say corroborates the housekeeper's story.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May182011

Afghanistan: Suicide Attacker Targets Police Academy

ABC News(JALALABAD, Aghanistan) -- At least five people were killed and more than a dozen were wounded when a suicide bomber targeting a police academy vehicle blew himself up in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar on Wednesday.

The attack is the latest to target police instructors and recruits.

Civilians were reportedly among the casualties.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May182011

Al Qaeda Picks Egyptian as Interim Leader, Report Says

FBI(ATLANTA) -- An Egyptian is now running al Qaeda on a temporary basis following the death of Osama bin Laden, CNN reported Tuesday.

Quoting a source familiar with the workings of the terrorist group, CNN said that Saif al-Adel, a former Special Forces officer, will be a "caretaker" leader.

According to Noman Benotman, who once belonged to a militant Libyan group with ties to al Qaeda, al-Adel has been a prominent member of the terrorist organization that seems to be having a hard time finding someone to fill bin Laden's shoes.

Al-Adel was blamed by Saudi officials for authorizing al Qaeda’s branch in their country to launch attacks that included a campaign in Riyadh in May 2003 that left scores of people dead.

Benotman told CNN that al Qaeda decided to make al-Adel an interim leader because the global jihadist community has grown anxious since bin Laden's death and wants to know that al Qaeda is taking steps to find a new head.

The choice of al-Adel might not sit well with those who want a leader from the Arabian peninsula, which is Islam's holy region.

It has been presumed since bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs on May 1 at his compound in Pakistan that Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's trusted right-hand man, would become his successor.

By appointing al-Adel temporary leader, al Qaeda is apparently giving itself time to decide who will run the terrorist organization on a permanent basis.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May182011

US Ambassador Brings Anti-Slavery Fight to Vatican

U.S. State Department(VATICAN CITY) -- A U.S. ambassador will give a talk at the Vatican Wednesday about modern day human slavery and what the church and companies can do to stop it.

Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, who heads the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, says the U.S. needs the church's help in stopping companies from using low or no-pay slaves.

Experts estimate that globally as many as 20 million human slaves make the things we buy because most of us don't ask why some of the prices are so low.  To that end, CdeBaca says people need to ask the question about where products come from.

"Ask the question, 'Was the cocoa that went into this chocolate bar picked by a nine-year old child in West Africa who is being beaten up if they try to leave the farm?'," he says.

By making them aware of the problem, CdeBaca believes most people would refuse to buy these products made under slave-like conditions and companies would change up their production practices.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May182011

Senior Al Qaeda Official Arrested in Pakistan

U.S. State Department(KARACHI, Pakistan) -- A senior al Qaeda official was taken into custody Tuesday by Pakistani security forces in the city of Karachi.

The operative was identified as Yemeni national Muhammad Ali Qasim Yaqub, who is alleged to have worked with al Qaeda militants headquartered on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Pakistan called the arrest a "major development in unraveling the al Qaeda network operating in the region."

U.S. officials believe the arrest was a good-faith effort on the part of the Pakistanis to show they are beginning to get serious about cracking down on terrorists living inside their country.

However, it will take more than a single arrest to prove to Washington and congressional lawmakers that Pakistan is sincere about nabbing militants, given that Osama bin Laden lived in the country -- apparently undetected -- for years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May182011

French President's Wife Reportedly Expecting

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(BERLIN) -- This has been a momentous week for French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

First, he learned that International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, his likely rival in next year's national election, was arrested in New York for allegedly sexually assaulting a hotel maid.

Now, comes word that Sarkozy is going to be a dad again.

While the 56-year-old French leader hasn't publicly commented on the report, Germany's Bild newspaper says that it got the scoop from Sarkozy's father, who claimed that his son's wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, is indeed pregnant with the couple's first child.

Sarkozy has three children from two previous marriages, while the 43-year-old Bruni-Sarkozy has a son from an earlier relationship.

Most political pundits in France say that the first lady being pregnant can only enhance her husband's reelection chances, which haven't looked too promising -- at least not until this week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May172011

Dominique Strauss-Kahn's Alleged Victim Inconsolable After Attack, Says Brother

Harold Cunningham/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Manhattan hotel chambermaid allegedly sodomized by IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is still reeling from the attack, crying inconsolably three days after the French politician allegedly assaulted her, her brother said.

"She was still crying today," her brother told ABC News. "She was completely devastated. I was the first person she called."

The woman, a housekeeper at New York City's tony Sofitel Hotel, called her brother from the emergency room at St. Luke's Hospital where she was examined by doctors and questioned by NYPD detectives Saturday night, following the alleged attack.

"She called me and said: 'Something really bad happened,'" he said.

He described his sister, an immigrant from West Africa and the mother of a 9-year-old girl, as a "good Muslim" and "not the kind of woman to attack a man."

"She didn't understand why he did such a thing," he said.

She is being held at a safe but undisclosed location, he said.

ABC News does not identify the alleged victims of sexual assault.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, is accused of forcing the housekeeper to perform oral sex and submit to anal sex after he emerged naked from his suite's bathroom. The married father of four is accused of sexual assault and attempted rape.

Days ago considered a potential frontrunner in a French presidential election, Strauss-Kahn is being held without bail in a jail cell on New York's notorious Riker's Island.

Strauss-Kahn was arrested Saturday, hauled out of the first-class cabin on an Air France jet moments before taking off from Kennedy Airport.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May172011

New Nuke Talks with Iran? World Leaders Not Confident

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The European Union foreign policy chief told reporters Tuesday that she sees little chance of nuclear talks with Iran in the near future.

"I would like to say there will be a new round of talks," the EU's Catherine Ashton explained. "From the letter that I've received, I don't see that at the present time," she said, referring to Iran's recent response to a letter she sent them earlier this year.

Earlier this year the U.S. and its allies met with Iran for the second time in as many months to discuss its nuclear program. The talks fell apart as Iran insisted it would not halt enrichment as the international community had demanded.

"We have been clear and united, under Cathy Ashton's leadership, since the Geneva and Istanbul meetings, that Iran has to meet its international obligations and negotiate seriously on the nuclear issue," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

"Lady Ashton is preparing a response to Iran's recent letter, but let me make clear that the burden remains on Iran to demonstrate it is prepared to end its stalling tactics, drop its unacceptable preconditions and start addressing the international community's concerns," Clinton added.

"I had wished for a stronger and better letter from them to recognize that the offer on the table is an offer they should look at very carefully. I will be sending a reply. We'll be consulting with our partners, not least with the United States, before we do so. But I do urge Iran to think again and to consider coming back to the table," Ashton said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May172011

Obama Meets with Jordan's King, Talks Mideast Peace

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Calling it "more vital than ever" that Israelis and Palestinians get back to the negotiating table, President Obama on Tuesday attempted to assure King Abdullah II of Jordan that the United States is still committed to the peace process.

"We both share the view that, despite the many changes, or perhaps because of the many changes that have taken place in the region, it's more vital than ever that both Israelis and Palestinians find a way to get back to the table and begin negotiating a process whereby they can create a -- two states that are living side by side in peace and security."

The president noted that Jordan has an enormous stake in this -- as does the United States.

"We will continue to partner to try to encourage an equitable and just solution to a problem that has been nagging the region for many, many years."

King Abdullah thanked the president for his "continued interest and support on the core issue of the Middle East, which is the Israeli-Palestinian peace."

The two leaders also discussed the broader changes in Libya and the Middle East as well as Egypt and Tunisia, emphasizing that economic reform should be paired with political reform sweeping through the region.

"We both agreed that it's critical that not only does political reform proceed but economic reform accompanies those changes there, because so much of what's taking place has to do with the aspirations of young people throughout the Arab world for their ability to determine their own fate, to get an education, to get a job, to be able to support a family," the president said, "And that means some of the old structures that were inhibiting their ability to progress have to be reworked."

President Obama will deliver a speech Thursday on the uprisings in the Middle East. On Friday, the president is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio