Nine Year Anniversary of War in Afghanistan

Photo Courtesy - U.S. Dept. of Defense(AFGHANISTAN) -- Thursday marks nine years since the war in Afghanistan began.  U.S. troops invaded the country after the Sept. 11 terror attacks in an effort to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Afghan political analyst Haroon Mir says fighting this war is difficult because Pakistan protects Taliban leaders.  He tells ABC News Radio, "It is very difficult to defeat this insurgency just by killing rank and file, low-level Taliban fighters.  There's no pressure on Taliban leadership, there's no pressure on their financial network, on their training camps."

Mir adds that the Taliban has lasted in the war because they can easily replace their fighters, saying, "They could sustain this kind of war because recruiting low-level Taliban fighters is not a problem because there are so many madrassas.  At these madrassas they could recruit thousands and thousands of new Taliban fighters each year."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Toxic Sludge Turns Hungary Town Into Red Ocean

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News(KOLONTAR, Hungary) -- Four people are dead and hundreds have evacuated areas affected by a toxic chemical spill in Hungary on Monday.  The Hungarian government has even launched a criminal investigation into the disaster.

Although officials have not determined an official reason for why a wave containing an alarming amount of toxins would barrel down from the reservoir after a dam burst at a local metal processing plant, recent rain storms are believed to have weakened the mud and rock walls that held back the factory's waste waters.

Residents of Kolontar -- the first town hit by the sludge -- such as Ferenz Andor say they saw the river of sludge pouring out.  Andor told ABC News that the sludge looked like an ocean of red.

On Wednesday, crews were working nonstop to clear the streets, spraying the sludge with water, corralling it and then scooping it up with shovels.

"If it gets to your skin, it's causing like a burning," Gergely Simon of the Clean Air Action Group said. "If it gets to your eyes, you get blinded. If you swallow it, you die."

The fear now is that the sludge could seep into the rivers including the Danube River. As of Tuesday, authorities said that the sludge is five days away from reaching the Danube. If it does reach it, the sludge will flow into six other European countries -- Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Moldova -- before it reaches the Black Sea.

"This is the most important thing, if it goes directly to the Danube it could really be a huge ecological catastrophe," Bendek Javor, Chair of the Sustainable Development Committee of the Hungarian Parliament, said.

Already, the sludge has reached the Marcal River. Emergency workers poured 1,000 tons of plaster into the water to try to keep it from flowing into the Danube.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Hitler's Nuremberg Laws End Convoluted Journey at National Archives

Photo Courtesy - Hulton Archive|Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Martin Dannenberg, an Army intelligence officer, was sitting in a German beer hall in April 1945 when a local man approached him, asking for help getting out of the war-torn country. In exchange, he promised him something that would be highly valuable to the Americans.

Intrigued, Dannenberg followed the man he called Uncle Hans to a bank vault in the town of Eichstatt, where he found a swastika-embossed envelope containing four of the most symbolic records from the war: original copies of the Nuremberg Laws.

The laws, which were signed by Adolf Hitler 75 years ago last month, outlawed marriages and sex between Jews and citizens of "German blood;" stripped Jews of their German citizenship; and established the swastika as the official flag of the Third Reich.

They established the legal underpinnings for marginalization of Jews and ultimately set into motion the Holocaust, historians say.

Dannenberg, under orders from Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to gather Nazi records and submit them for use in the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, photographed the documents with his Minox spy camera and gave them to his superior, Gen. George S. Patton.

But then the documents -- the only surviving original copies -- went missing and never made it into prosecutors' hands for use during the trials or into the collection of Nazi records now held in the U.S. National Archives. For Dannenberg, the discovery became little more than a personal memory which he didn't have the evidence to prove.

The Nuremberg Laws surfaced 54 years later at a small museum in San Merino, California, where Patton had deposited them for his personal safekeeping. And they were finally transferred this summer to the U.S. National Archives in Washington. On Wednesday, they were put on display for the first time.

While Dannenberg didn't survive to see the transfer of the records he first found -- he died in August at age 94 -- his family, who had been regaled for decades with his tale of the discovery, said he would be thrilled.

"We never saw the documents but we believed him," said Dannenberg's son, Richard, of his father's war story. "I'm sure he knows that they're here now. He would be proud."

Martin Dannenberg told the Baltimore Sun in a 1999 interview that he saw the discovery as incredibly ironic. "I had the most peculiar feeling when I had this in my hand, that I should be the one who should uncover this," he said. "Because here is this thing that begins the persecution of the Jews, and a Jewish person has found it."

Patton whisked the documents out of Europe and deposited them with the Huntington Museum near his family property in California. The general later died in a car accident, and the museum, lacking instructions from Patton, secretly kept the documents in a vault for decades.

The laws appeared publicly for the first time in 1999 when the Huntington loaned them to the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. But Dannenberg didn't immediately receive the credit.

"There was a comment that said General Patton found these documents and went in, guns blazing, to get them," said Richard Dannenberg. "When my father saw that, he said, 'wait a minute, that's not right. I'm the one who found the documents!'"

Dannenberg's story was later corroborated by government archivists and historians and the museum has since corrected its records.

"Had Patton not taken them back to California & these would have been used at the [Nuremberg War Crimes] trial, and when the trail was over, these records would have come to us in 1947," said National Archives senior archivist Greg Bradsher.

"What was significant about the find of the original Nuremberg Laws was & the symbolic nature of the documents themselves, what they intended to do and what they helped create," he said. "These were the first laws to marginalize a whole group of people before they came up with a definition of what a Jew was."

The documents will remain a permanent part of the U.S. government collection of records from the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


UFO Sighting Over China Closes Airport...For Eighth Time

Photo Courtesy - Chien-Min Chung/Getty Images(HANGZHOU, China) -- A Chinese airport was shut down for more than an hour last month because air traffic controllers saw what they believed to be a UFO buzzing the airport, according to reports out of the country.

It is the eighth time since June that UFOs have been reported in China.

In the latest episode, several passenger jets were diverted from the airport at Baotou in Inner Mongolia for about an hour arond 8 p.m. on Sept. 11.

The alert was triggered by bright lights in the sky that moved erratically, but reports claim air traffic controllers at the Hohhot Air Traffic Management Bureau spotted the object on their radar.

After about an hour, the object and the lights suddenly vanished and passenger jets were allowed to land.

The Chinese government had said on previous occasions that the lights some claimed to be UFOs were military exercises, but the government denied the Sept. 11 incident happened at all.This summer another UFO report caused a sensation and forced Xiaoshan Airport in Hangzhou, to cease operations on July 7.

A flight crew preparing for descent first detected the object around 8:40 p.m. and notified the air traffic control department. Aviation authorities responded within minutes, grounding outbound flights and diverting inbound ones to airports in Ningbo and Wuxi.

Eighteen flights were affected. Though normal operations resumed an hour later, the incident captured the attention of the Chinese media and sparked a firestorm of speculation on the UFO's identity.

Hangzhou residents released photos, taken in the afternoon before the delays, of a hovering object bathed in golden light and exhibiting a comet-like tail. Less than an hour before the Xiaoshan airport shut down, residents said they also saw a flying object emitting red and white rays of light.  

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Taliban and Afghan Government Officials in Talks to End War

Photo Courtesy - U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Gary A. Witte, 300th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Talks aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan have begun between Afghan President Hamid Karzai's representatives, Pakistanis, and a former Taliban official.  This marks the third day of such talks.  The discussions have been described by officials as preliminary, but an important step towards a possible negotiated settlement. 

The U.S. is not involved, although ABC News has learned that the Obama administration has shifted its position on talks and has recently been quietly encouraging discussions.

"There is a red line," according to a Western diplomat.  The Taliban would have to stop military operations, work with the Afghan government and renounce Al Qaeda in order for a settlement to be reached.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Toxic Sludge Continues to Flow in Hungary

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News(HUNGARY) -- Hungary is experiencing an "ecological catastrophe" as toxic sludge containing a unique combination of deadly toxins flows from an aluminum plant toward the Raba and Danube Rivers. 

The incident was set off when a dam burst at a local metal processing plant.

"When I heard the rumble of the flood," said one resident, "I only had time to jump out of the window and run to higher ground."

Four people are known to have died while between 80 and 90 people were taken to the hospital Tuesday night with chemical burns.

Additionally, almost 500 police officers and soldiers, including six emergency detection teams, have been deployed. 

To prevent further flooding, plaster has been poured into the Marcal River in an effort to bind the sludge.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


FIFA Suspends Nigerian Football Association

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(ZURICH) -- On Monday, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) decided to suspend the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) with immediate effect due to government interference.

FIFA has strict rules about the role government can play in determining or undermining leadership or coaches for football associations. 

"This decision follows the latest events linked to the NFF, such as the court actions against elected members of the NFF Executive Committee preventing them from exercising their functions and duties, the stepping down of the acting NFF General Secretary on the instructions of the National Sports Commission, the decision of the Minister of Sports to have the Nigerian League start without relegation from the previous season, and the fact that the NFF Executive Committee cannot work properly due to this interference," FIFA said in a written release."

The suspension will be maintained until the court actions have ceased and the duly elected NFF Executive Committee is able to work without any interference.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Rescue Nears For Miners Trapped Underground In Chile

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(COPIAPO, Chile) -- The 33 Chilean miners who have been trapped 2,300 feet underground in the Atacama desert since Aug. 5 may be rescued in a complex mission involving more than 100 workers by mid-October or sooner, according to government officials. 

"I hope we can rescue them before mid-October," said Chile President Sebastian Pinera.

The next milestone will be the “breakthrough” -- when one of the three huge drills reaches the depth at which the miners have been trapped.  ABC News has learned that this could come as soon as Thursday.  However, it is more likely to happen by the weekend.

Next, the shaft -- or parts of it -- will be lined with steel tubes to protect the men.  Then the shaft will be scanned with cameras to evaluate its stability.  Consequently, it could still be at least a couple of days after “breakthrough” before the specially-designed, 500 pound rescue capsule, known as the Pheonix, is lowered, and the actual rescues begun.

In the meantime, the miners have been exercising with Chilean Military Adviser Jean Christophe Romagnoli by remote control to avoid circulation troubles, improve lung capacity and avoid thorax damage.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


French Police Arrest 12 in Separate Anti-Terror Operations

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(PARIS) -- French police have arrested three men on suspicions of aiding would-be terrorists and for an alleged link to an individual thought to be connected to al Qaeda.

According to local reports, the men are believed to be part of a logistical cell that offers accommodation and fake identification to those attempting to enter the country after training in the areas of Afghanistan or Pakistan.

A man police believe to be the cell's leader was arrested this week in Italy.

In a separate operation, French police arrested a woman and eight men on suspicions of arms and explosives trafficking. The arrests follow a nine-month investigation by French anti-terrorism police.

The two sweeps are not believed to be connected. All 12 arrests were confirmed to ABC News by the French prosecutor’s office.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Video Shows Israeli Soldier Dancing Around Blindfolded Palestinian Woman

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(JERUSALEM) -- The Israeli army is investigating a video posted on YouTube featuring a male soldier performing a belly dancing routine beside a blindfolded female Palestinian prisoner.

The clip has apparently been on the site for two years, but was aired on Israeli Television Monday night.

It is the latest embarrassing clip of this kind to cause controversy and force the army onto the defensive, but this would be the first to target a Palestinian woman, a particularly inflammatory issue in Arab society.

The Israeli Defense Force said Tuesday it had launched an investigation into the incident.

"The IDF condemns this kind of activity and has worked and is working to eradicate it via briefings to soldiers....The clips do not depict the norm, but rather are anomalies," said an IDF statement.

The Palestinian Authority condemned the video.

"This is a disgusting illustration of the sick mentality of the occupier. This is not an isolated incident. With the advent of easy-to-use media like YouTube, the truth is coming to light of a culture of humiliation of the Palestinians," the Palestinian Authority statement said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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