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Sunday
Jan232011

World's Highest Restaurant Opens in Dubai

Photo Courtesy - PRNewsFoto/Emaar Hospitality Group(DUBAI, United Arab Emirates) -- What are you doing for dinner tonight? Chances are your plans don’t include drinks at a quarter-mile above the earth’s surface.

In Dubai, patrons began sitting down to dinner Sunday at the world’s highest restaurant, just opened on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower.

The luxury lounge and grill – appropriately named At.mosphere – is surrounded by glass walls, offering diners a spectacular panoramic view of the city and surrounding areas.

The picture-perfect scenery doesn’t come cheap; a reservation will run you at least $122 a head. A private dining area is available for $176.90 per guest. And if you’re just feeling parched, afternoon tea is a mere $100.

Located just over 1,300 feet in the air, At.mosphere sits more than 300 feet higher than the world’s second-highest restaurant located inside Toronto’s CN Tower.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan232011

Report: US to Cut Aid to Lebanon If Hezbollah Seizes Power

Image Courtesy - Getty Images(BEIRUT, Lebanon) – A report in an Arab newspaper cites a U.S. official as saying that the United States will stop giving aid to Lebanon if militant group Hezbollah takes control of the country’s government.

The paper Asharq al-Aswat quoted a United States official on Sunday, who said that Congress would refuse to provide aid to anyone “taking orders from Hezbollah.” American officials maintain that Hezbollah has long held ties with al Qaeda, although Hezbollah has denied such allegations.

That statement by the U.S. official follows the collapse of the Lebanese government earlier this month. Hezbollah recently resigned from the country’s unity government after tensions began to rise over a tribunal which was expected to indict members of the group in the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafic Hariri.

Political leaders from surrounding countries have expressed concern about the future of Lebanon and its leadership.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan232011

Palestinian Official: Israel's Peace Map a 'Joke'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has reportedly drawn up a map with provisional borders for a future Palestinian state. His map leaves all the Jewish settlements in place and transfers almost no additional land to the Palestinians. More land would be transferred through negotiations.

Lieberman reportedly believes that endorsing his map will preempt international recognition of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders.

His push for an interim peace plan contradicts the Israeli government's official commitment to a permanent agreement, and it is drawing criticism from Palestinians. Calling the plan a joke, Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat said the map ignores many of his people's demands.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan232011

Deadly Car Bombs Rip Through Iraqi Capital

File photo. Photo Courtesy - AZHAR SHALLAL/AFP/Getty Images(BAGHDAD) -- At least eight people were killed in a series of bombings in Baghdad on Sunday.

Five car bombs exploded in different neighborhoods and three more were defused.

More than 30 people were injured.

These are the first bombing attacks in Baghdad itself in months.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan232011

Panel Says Israel Flotilla Raid Did Not Violate International Law

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu testifies to a state-appointed inquiry into the Israeli naval raid on a Gaza aid flotilla. Photo Courtesy - RONEN ZVULUN/AFP/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) – The commission that led an investigation into Israel’s naval blockade and subsequent raid of a ship carrying aid materials to Gaza said Israeli forces did not violate the law.

The Turkel Committee, comprised of four Israeli members and observers from Ireland and Canada, concluded that “the actions taken were found to be in legal pursuit to the rules of international law,” according to a report in The Jerusalem Post.

"The naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip – in view of the security circumstances and Israel's efforts to comply with its humanitarian obligations – was legal pursuant to the rules of international law. The actions carried out by Israel to enforce the naval blockade had the regrettable consequences of the loss of human life and physical injuries. Nonetheless, and despite the limited number of uses of force for which we could not reach a conclusion, the actions taken were found to be legal pursuant to the rules of international law,” the group wrote in its 300-page report.

Israeli forces intercepted six ships that were carrying humanitarian aid and other materials on May 31, 2010. Five of the ships did not resist, but one, the MV Mavi Marmara, proved to be the focus of the commission’s investigation. Nine passengers were killed in the incident as they fought against Israeli troops, and many others were injured.

"It is possible to determine that the IDF soldiers acted professionally and with great presence of mind in light of the extreme violence which they hadn't expected...This professionalism was evident in the fact that they continued to exchange their lethal weapons for the less lethal option and visa versa in order to give a response that was appropriate to the nature of the violence directed at them,” the Turkel Commission wrote.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan232011

Pakistan: Two US Drone Attacks Target Suspected Militants

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DATTA KHEL, Pakistan) -- American drone strikes killed at least six people in Pakistan on Sunday.

The two attacks targeted suspected militants in the northwest tribal area of North Waziristan near the Afghan border.

The first of two missiles struck a house and vehicle, killing four people. The second attack killed two militants on a motorcycle.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan232011

Missing American Sailors Found Alive and Well Near Philippines

File photo. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MANILA, Philippines) – After a search that lasted more than 63 hours and covered 122,600 nautical miles, a boat containing five Americans has been located off the coast of the Philippines.

The missing boat, known as The Pineapple, made contact with land late Saturday night. The husband of one of the missing boaters was called by his wife once her cell phone was able to get reception. The boat was unable to make contact before that because after traveling through a storm, the boat lost radio contact and suffered a broken rudder. The Coast Guard says the boat was never in danger of sinking.

Two Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft, two Navy P-3 Orion aircraft, two Air Force C-12 aircraft, and the Coast Guard Cutter Sequoia were involved in the search efforts.

"This was a tremendous international multi-service search effort that covered an expansive area of open ocean," said Capt. Thomas Sparks, U.S. Coast Guard Guam Sector Commander.

"I'm elated for the family and friends of the Pineapple, but compelled to point out that this voyage was made without taking basic, common-sense precautions. The vessel did not have long distance communications or emergency distress equipment, and a comprehensive float plan was not filed," Sparks said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan222011

Bin Laden Threatens French Hostages With Death In New Tape

Photo Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In a newly released audiotape message to the French people, al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden threatens death to French hostages held by an al Qaeda affiliate in Africa unless French troops leave Afghanistan.

In the message, Bin Laden's second to the French people in less than six months, he says that by keeping troops in Afghanistan, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has given the "green light" to "kill your captives immediately." Bin Laden does not name the hostages but is apparently referring to five French citizens who were working for the French nuclear giant Areva in Niger when they were kidnapped in September.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African affiliate of al Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the abduction, and has released pictures of the men in captivity.

French ministry spokesperson Bernard Valero responded to the taped threat, telling reporters the French government would not change their stance on Afghanistan, and that their presence was meant to help the Afghan people.

"We are determined to pursue our action in favor of the Afghan people with our allies," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan222011

European Hackers Steal $40 Million in Carbon Permits

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BRUSSELS) -- A $40 million theft shut down the European Union's carbon trading system this week.

Cyberthieves stole carbon permits, which monitor greenhouse gas emissions, from accounts in the Czech Republic, Austria, Greece, Poland, and Estonia. EU officials shut down the market as they try to beef up security.

The thefts, which the European Commission estimates add up to 2 million permits each valued at 14.48 euros, reportedly took place over the past few weeks.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan222011

Japanese Cargo Rocket Headed to ISS

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TANEGASHIMA, Japan) -- An unmanned Japanese rocket headed for the International Space Station was launched Saturday.

The Konotori 2's cargo includes several tons of food, clothing, and equipment for the ISS's six-person crew. The space station can expect the cargo rocket to arrive on Thursday, before it essentially takes out the trash and self-destructs in the atmosphere to conclude its mission.

It was launched on Tanegashima Island, south of the Japanese island of Kyoshu. The Japanese space agency JAXA intends to increase the number of similar missions in the wake of NASA cutbacks.

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