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Monday
Nov082010

Qantas Finds Oil Leak in Engines; Airbus Fleet Grounded

Photo Courtesy - Pascal Parrot/Getty Images(MASCOT, New South Wales) -- Checks on the Rolls-Royce engines on the Qantas fleet of its Airbus A380 planes have shown some oil leakage problems, and that means they'll be staying grounded for some time.

The engines on the planes are almost new, so problems shouldn't be expected this early into their commission.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce says, "Oil leaks have been discovered in the turbine area of three engines.  We have removed these engines from the aircraft for further testing."

And while tests are conducted, Joyce says, "The A380 fleet will remain out of service for at least the next 72 hours."

Of the six grounded Qantas aircrafts, one remains in Singapore, another in both Germany and Sydney, Australia and three others in Los Angeles, California.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov082010

Cholera Spreading North in Haiti

Photo Courtesy - Thony Belizaire/AFP/Getty Images(LEOGANE, Haiti) -- Officials in Haiti tell ABC News that cholera is spreading to the north and is now "endemic" to Haiti.  Ted Steinhauer is directing Medical Teams International's operations in Haiti and spoke with ABC News from a hospital in the tiny town of Gros Morne, where he said there are 600 cholera patients.  He said there are likely thousands more in the mountainous north and northwest.

Steinhauer said the disease has entered the water supply. It first bloomed last month in the Artibonite valley, a big rice farming area. The rice workers carried it up to the mountains where they live. There is little sanitation up there and no latrines, so they defecate in creeks and streams. The flooding from Hurricane Tomas just spread everything out.

Medical teams are still assessing the situation, and the U.N. said it could be four days before they can confirm the new outbreak. They said there’s “severe diarrhea” in several parts of the country.

Cholera is easily survivable if the sick are treated quickly.  

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov082010

Skies Clear for Obama's Arrival in Indonesia

Photo Courtesy - The White House/Pete Souza(JAKARTA, Indonesia) -- President Obama will not have to disappoint his Indonesian hosts a third time.

Jakarta airport officials say Monday morning the skies have cleared of volcanic ash which forced the cancellation of some commercial flights.  White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says, “We are continuing to monitor, but we are proceeding with plans to depart for Indonesia [Tuesday].”

Monday morning's air traffic is reported normal, and security helicopters have been seen flying over the capital Jakarta, presumably in preparation for Obama's arrival Tuesday.  Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been working from a mountain outpost near the active volcano Mt. Merapi, whose recent eruptions have killed at least 118 people, but is expected to helicopter back to Jakarta to welcome the American president.

Mr. Obama, who lived in Indonesia as a child, twice canceled planned visits earlier this year because of pressing issues back in Washington.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Nov072010

Report: US Deploying Predator Drones in Yemen

Photo Courtesy - United States Air Force

(WASHINGTON) -- The Washington Post reports the U.S. has Predator drones deployed in Yemen but has fired no missiles because government officials have no solid intelligence telling them where to shoot.  The Post, quoting unnamed U.S. government sources, says the unmanned Predator aircraft have been there for months but without clear information on al Qaeda operatives' whereabouts, there is no point in shooting. 

The drones would target a branch of al Qaeda that claims to be behind several attacks on U.S. targets that could have been disastrous, had they succeeded.  They include the recent attempt to detonate packages aboard cargo planes and the 2009 Christmas Day attempt to blow up a commercial airliner.

A senior administration official tells the Post that leaders of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have gone into hiding after a series of U.S. cruise missile attacks augmented by Yemeni forces.

Pressed on whether the drones would be free to shoot, a second administration official reportedly said, "The only thing that does fall into the 'no' category right now is boots on the ground."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Nov072010

President Obama Criticized for Mumbai Terror Remarks

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MUMBAI, India) -- In his remarks Saturday commemorating the victims of the Nov. 26, 2008, terrorist attack on Mumbai, President Obama did not mention Pakistan -- an omission causing some debate in India.

Rajiv Pratap Rudy, a spokesman for the opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP, said President Obama “missed the first opportunity of striking a chord with the 100 crore people of India.”

Rudy said that the BJP expected a “sharp, categorical statement against Pakistan.”

"It was the first address by the U.S. president at a place which saw the biggest terror attack on India,” Rudy said. “It was a complete disappointment as the world and United States had proof that the attack was planned on Pakistani soil by its intelligence agencies."

But within hours, BJP backed off Rudy’s statement. The Times of India described Rudy’s comments as “ill-considered and hasty” and having “left top party leaders red-faced.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Nov072010

Qantas Engine Failure: Missing Turbine Part Could Hold Clue

Photo Courtesy - Australian Transport Safety Bureau(SYDNEY) -- Qantas Airways and Australian aviation officials are reaching out to those on the Indonesian island of Batam for help in finding part of an exploded engine from an Airbus A380. The engine failure on Thursday sent the jet - which was traveling to Sydney, Australia - back to Singapore for an emergency landing.  466 people were on board.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is leading the investigation into the engine explosion and says it is looking for part of a turbine that could provide clues as to what caused the problem.  In a statement, the bureau said "The recovery of that disk could be crucial to a full understanding of the nature of the engine failure, and may have implications for the prevention of future similar occurrences."

Quantas hopes to return its fleet of A380's, the world's largest passenger jet, to flight soon.

Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines also fly the giant jets, equipped with engines made by Rolls Royce.  They initially grounded the A380 models, but have returned them to flight following safety checks.

Officials say it is too early to draw any conclusions as to why the engine exploded.

Copyright 2010 ABC News radio

Saturday
Nov062010

Trial Delayed for American Hikers Held in Iran

Photo Courtesy - ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images(TEHRAN, Iran) -- The trial of two U.S. hikers being held in Iran was scheduled to take place Saturday in Tehran but the two, Joshua Fattal and Shane Bauer, were not in the courtroom.  It is unclear what is behind the delay but at least one Iranian official has been quoted as saying that authorities are awaiting the return of a third defendant, Sarah Shourd. 

Fattal and Bauer are being held on espionage charges in Iran's notorious Evin prison after they allegedly strayed into Iran in 2009 while hiking in Kurdistan.  Shourd was with them, but was released on bail in September.  She was in bad health and there was much international pressure on Iran to release her. 

Fattal and Bauer's attorney told the Los Angeles Times he was not notified the two would not be brought to Saturday's hearing.  After about 45 minutes, the judge, prosecutors and defense left.  The defense lawyer said he expects to be notified of a new trial date. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Nov062010

NATO Probing Reports an Afghan Soldier Shot Two US Marines

Marine, Afghan Recruit in Sangin, Photo Courtesy - Defense Dept.(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- NATO confirms it is investigating an incident in Helmand province in which two U.S. marines were killed.  There are reports an Afghan soldier may have pulled the trigger.

It happened Thursday night when the marines were apparently on guard duty.  An Afghan soldier who had been on the base a couple of weeks is reportedly missing.  An Afghan Defense Ministry official is quoted as saying it was an accident in which the Afghan soldier mistakenly opened fire on coalition members.  He says the Afghan soldier had no connection with the Taliban.

It happened at a Forward Operating Post in Sangin, a town of 20,000 people in the volatile Helmand province.  Sangin is a key operating area for the Taliban.

The U.S. has 150,000 troops in Afghanistan.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Nov062010

American Activist Freed in Peru

Image Courtesy - Getty Images(LIMA, Peru) -- American activist Lori Berenson has again been freed by a Peruvian court, 15 years into her 20 year sentence for aiding a leftist guerilla group.  She was paroled back in May but locked up again in August on a technicality.

Berenson has said she is sorry for working with the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement and said she took no part in any of the violent acts blamed on the group during the 1980's and 1990's.  The Marxist group was linked to bank robberies, kidnappings and killings.

The New York native, daughter of university professors, was convicted by a military court in 1996 of treason after she gained access to Peruvian government officials with false credentials.  That led to a life sentence but after pressure from the U.S. Berenson was retried in civilian court and found guilty of terrorist collaboration.  That led to the 20 year sentence, five years of which were credited from her earlier sentence.

Berenson is now 40.  Her family has long maintained she was a social activist, not a terrorist.  Berenson showed no emotion as the court ruled she should be paroled.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Nov062010

Air Travel Disrupted as Volcano Continues to Spew Ash

Photo Courtesy - CLARA PRIMA/AFP/Getty Images(JAKARTA, Indonesia) --  Singapore and Malaysia airlines have temporarily canceled flights into Jakarta, Indonesia because of the continuing eruptions of the Mount Merapi volcano.

At least 118 people have been killed by the eruptions, which have been on-again, off-again for more than a week.

Tens of thousands who fled their homes are crowded in shelters.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio