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Wednesday
Sep292010

Search Over Adriatic Sea For Missing US Balloonists

Photo Courtesy - GordonBennett2010.com(LONDON) -- Two U.S. balloonists taking part in the 54th Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race are missing over the Adriatic Sea.  According to Maresciallo Maccheroni of the Italian Coast Guard, the Coast Guard of Bari received a call from the Americans Wednesday morning saying they were having difficulties.  The line then dropped, and they did not hear back from them.  Five aircrafts and three boats are searching for the balloon about 13 miles north of Cap Guardino, in the location the balloonists mentioned.  The weather could potentially hamper rescue effots, as winds travel between 16 and 18 knots.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep292010

North Korea Prepares to be Co-Ruled by New Official Heir

Photo Courtesy - ABC News/CCTV4(SEOUL, South Korea) -- North Korea's Kim Jong Un, the third-son of leader Kim Jong Il, became second in command of the ruling Workers' Party's powerful Central Military Commission just a day after his father made him a four-star general.  These recent announcements are the first time the communist state mentioned Jong Un's name officially.  In practice, the country is now set to be co-ruled by the new official heir and their ailing 68-year-old leader.  "Due to the deterioration of Kim Jong Il' s health, transition is happening fast," said Ha Taekeung, president of Open Radio for North Korea, a non-profit organization with close regular contacts with sources inside the North.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep292010

'Credible But Not Specific' Threat of New Terrorist Attack

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. and European officials said Tuesday they have detected a plot to carry out a major, coordinated series of commando-style terror attacks in Britain, France, Germany and possibly the United States.

A senior US official said that while there is a "credible" threat, no specific time or place is known. President Obama has been briefed about the threat, say senior US officials.

Intelligence and law enforcement authorities in the US and Europe said the threat information is based on the interrogation of a suspected German terrorist allegedly captured on his way to Europe in late summer and now being held at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.

U.S. law enforcement officials say they have been told the terrorists were planning a series of "Mumbai-style" commando raids on what were termed "economic or soft" targets in the countries. Pakistani militants killed 173 people with guns and grenades during the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India.

In testimony before Congress last week, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, "We are all seeing increased activity by a more diverse set of groups and a more diverse set of threats."

Officials in France have put the country on high alert for a terror attack and authorities in Paris shut down the Eiffel Tower for the second time in two weeks today after what was termed a "false alarm."

No bomb was found but officials in France are taking no chances, given what they believe is a very real threat.

"We currently have reached a spike in the threat of an attack, which is unquestionable," said the head of the French National Police last week. He also said France was at particular risk from al-Qaeda's North African affiliate.

The new threat to France, and to Germany, Britain and the U.S., is coming from Pakistan, according to intelligence officials. The captured German reportedly said several teams of attackers, all with European passports, had been trained and dispatched from training camps in Waziristan and Pakistan. Officials say the German claimed the attack plan had been approved by Osama Bin Laden.

U.S. intelligence officials said they believed an attack on American soil was more likely to come from terrorists connected to the al-Qaeda group in Yemen, known as AQAP, al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula.

But an official of the New York Police Department said while the most specific information was about Europe, NYPD intelligence officers were following the new information closely. "Nobody here is letting their guard down, the NYPD is watching," the official said. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep282010

Moscow Mayor Luzhkov Loses Feud With President Medvedev

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- On Tuesday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev fired the mayor of Moscow, Yury Luzhkov, who'd held the position since 1992 and was resisting scathing attacks to get him to resign. The president dismissed Luzhkov for a "loss of confidence." The firing followed a bruising campaign by the state-run media that accused Luzhkov of giving preference to his beloved bees over his constituents and helping his wife become the only female billionaire in Russia.  "It is difficult to imagine a situation in which a governor and the president of Russia as the top official would continue working together, if the president loses confidence in the head of the region," Medvedev told reporters during a trip to Shanghai.  The Luzhkov drama has dominated the headlines in Russia since early September when he criticized Medvedev for suspending the controversial construction of a highway through a forest north of Moscow. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Tuesday
Sep282010

Afghan President Karzai Cries in Nationally Televised Speech

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai broke down during a nationally televised speech Tuesday, saying he was worried Afghanistan might not become attractive or peaceful enough to keep even his own son from fleeing to the West.  Karzai became overwhelmed multiple times by the thought of his four-year-old son, Mirwais, not being a proud Afghan and not having a country that he wants to grow up and live in. "Whoever wants to be a true Afghan, outside the country isn't a place for us to live...If a person wants to be a true Afghan, then he will choose to live with the history, the memories, the culture...and he and his children will live in this country," Karzai began, criticizing those who choose to leave.  Karzai, who does not write out his speeches, seemed to snap out of his stupor and told the country to wake up.  "Wake up. Wake up and see what is happening in our country," he said, regaining his composure after wiping his eyes with a handkerchief and blowing his nose. "This can only improve if we work hard to make the country ours. Only by our hard work can this country improve. Afghanistan will neither improve nor gain the respect of the world with someone else's hard work." President Obama has stated U.S. troops could begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan next summer, depending on conditions on the country. Currently there are 95,000 U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan in an effort to blunt the influence of the Taliban and other insurgents.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Tuesday
Sep282010

Antarctic Dog and Pony Show with Historical Twist

Roald Amundsen and another expedition member at the South Pole. Courtesy Getty Images.(New York) -- Recognition is finally coming for some of the muscle behind two famous polar expeditions -- nearly a century after the fact.  The New York Times is reporting some of the map points used to mark progress on flights from New Zealand to McMurdo Station in Antarctica have been renamed in honor of sled dogs and ponies explorers Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott used on their competing trips to the South Pole in 1911 and 1912. 

The idea came from U.S. Air Force Colonel Ronald Smith, who used to command the military arm supporting research in Antarctica.  Most of the animals died during the expeditions and Smith believed Jimmy Pigg the pony, Helge the sled dog, and the others should be recognized.

 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep272010

Serbian Fugitive May Testify Against Diplomats Who Helped Him Flee U.S.

Photo Courtesy -- Interpol(BELGRADE, Serbia) -- A Serbian man who fled to his home country after beating a New York college student into a coma pleaded guilty to the crime Monday, and his lawyer left open the possibility that he could testify against Serb diplomats who helped him escape from the U.S.  "I am guilty," Miladin Kovacevic told Judge Ivana Ramic in a hearing today in a Belgrade court room.  The hearing was scheduled for a time after Kovacevic passed an exam at the law school he is attending.  Kovacevic initially faced a possible eight years in jail, but under a deal, he will receive a two-year sentence.  He was charged with inflicting "severe bodily harm with possible deadly consequences."  Two additional charges will be dismissed.  Kovacevic's lawyer, Borivoje Borovic, did not rule out that Kovacevic could testify against Serb diplomats who have been charged with abusing their positions when they hastily issued travel documents to Kovacevic after the assault.  Two former Serbian diplomats, Slobodan Nenadovic and Igor Milosevic, pleaded not guilty on Sept. 16 to charges of abusing their positions. They are scheduled to go on trial Oct. 18.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Monday
Sep272010

North Korea's Leader Promotes Son to Rank of General

(Kim Jong Il) Photo Courtesy - CCTV 4/ABC News(SEOUL, South Korea) -- North Korea's Supreme Leader Kim Jong Il promoted his young son, Kim Jong Un, on Monday, likely putting him in line to inherit power in the nuclear armed country.  Jong Un, who is believed to be 27 or 28 years old, was given the military title of "dae-jang," which translates to the rank of general, according to the official North Korean news agency.  The newly minted general is the third son of the country's dictator.  It has been speculated in recent months that Kim Jong Il has settled Kim Jong Un to take his place upon his death.  North Korea is notoriously secretive about its hierarchy.  Monday's announcement was the first time that the country's official news agency has mentioned the son.  Kim Jong Il also gave his sister, Kim Kyung Hee, a similar rank. Kim Kyung Hee is believed to be a strong supporter of Jong Un.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep272010

Talking Newspapers Startle Readers in India

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(INDIA) -- The Times of India and The Hindu, two of the largest papers in the world, created quite a stir on Tuesday when they released a special advertisement in their daily papers. When readers opened the paper to the back page, a light-sensitive, voice-activated chip began reading out why you should buy Volkswagen's new sedan, the Vento. The "talking" advertisement was an audio rendering of the print commercial, similar to a radio ad.

Unsuspecting readers bolted upright when the advertisement voice activation began. In many parts of the country, there were unintended consequences from startled readers.  The police in Delhi received numerous calls, particularly from elderly Indians, who were frightened and suspicious of the talking newspaper.  In Mumbai, the bomb squad was called out when passersby became suspicious of noises coming from discarded newspapers in trash bins.  Some readers thought they were hearing the voice of a ghost.  The police commissioner of Mumbai, Sanjeev Dayal, released a statement asking people not to be fearful of the new technology.

The 2.2 million copies soon became a sought-after collector's item. The executive president of the Times Group, Bhaskar Das, called the advertisement an innovation that could change the way print media is viewed.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep272010

Segway Owner Dies In Segway Accident

Photo Courtesy - Segway, Inc.(WEST YORKSHIRE, England) -- The owner of Segway, the company that manufactures two-wheeled personal transportation devices, died Sunday in an accident involving the company's trademark product. Jimi Heselden, 62, was apparently riding an all-terrain Segway model when he and the machine plunged from a cliff and into a river. Heselden, a former miner, bought the company last December and, according to local reports, was using the machine to survey his estate. The company confirmed Heselden’s death on its website.

A study released Monday evaluated the records of injuries obtained while riding the Segway from 44 different Washington, D.C. patients between 2005 and 2008. A quarter of those patients were admitted to the hospital, while almost half were placed in intensive care due to traumatic brain injury. Records show that only seven percent of all patients had worn helmets, which are not required by law in Washington. The number of Segway-related injuries is on the rise, records show, with three in 2006 and at least 25 in 2008.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio