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Wednesday
Sep292010

15 Children Kidnapped in Nigeria

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News Radio(NIGERIA) -- The hunt continues in Nigeria for the 15 elementary and pre-school children kidnapped on Monday after their school bus was hijacked by gunmen. There are reports that the abductors are in ransom negotiations with the school principal and are now asking for an amount close to $130,000. Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan has called the act “utterly callous and cruel” and has vowed that government will do all it can to help free the children. Kidnapping in the oil-rich Niger Delta region is commonplace, and the Nigerian parliament is considering a bill that would make the act punishable by death, hoping the sentence will curb the problem.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep292010

Amid Jitters of New Terror Threat, Two American Jihad Leaders Resurface

Image Courtesy - FBI via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Two radical Islamic clerics with American roots have resurfaced Wednesday, even as officials in Europe and the US are already on high alert because of a "credible but not specific" threat of commando-style terror attacks by militants with Western passports.

American-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, whom authorities have linked to both the Fort Hood shooting and the attempted Christmas Day bombing of Northwest flight 253, will soon be releasing a new video. Authorities consider Awlaki an Al Qaeda recruiter, and his online videos inspire young Westerners to jihad. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemeni affiliate of Al Qaeda, posted images from the forthcoming video on the internet overnight.

At the same time Adam Gadahn, the Orange County metalhead turned Al Qaeda spokesman, has released a new internet video about the Pakistan floods.

Authorities say the Yemen-based AQAP is currently the most serious threat to American cities.

But US and European authorities are already searching for a team of commandos allegedly planning attacks in Britain, France, and Germany, all based on the interrogation of a German jihadi who was captured over the summer and is now being held at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.

US 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.

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.

Officials consider the threat credible, although not specific, and said that an attack in Europe seemed more likely that one in the US.

Among those being sought are a group of radicalized Germans who have been training at terror camps in Pakistan, producing videos in German to gain more recruits. Some of the German-speaking militants may have come from the same Hamburg mosque where Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 hijackers gathered.

Guido Steinberg, a counter-terrorism analyst at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, said German jihadis have been recruited from mosques in Berlin, Bonn and Hamburg, including the former Al Quds mosque, where Ramzi Binalshibh, Atta, hijacker Marwan al-Shehhi and other conspirators joined forces.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep292010

Europeans Jumping into Mideast Peace Effort

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio(WASHINGTON) -- The European Union will be joining the US effort to broker Mideast peace, its high representative Catherine Ashton told reporters today. Ashton will be cutting a trip to the US short in order to travel to the region overnight, joining U.S. envoy George Mitchell in his meetings there.

It’s no secret that European countries have wanted to be part of this latest effort, and felt left out after not being invited to the White House for the launch of talks in early September. The EU is one of the biggest funders of the Palestinian Authority and has complained that they’re only being used for their money while not being allowed a role in the peace process.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quick to credit the EU for its support of the Palestinians. Clinton was asked about reports that the U.S. is offering assurances to both sides, including a beefed-up arms package to Israel, as an incentive to remain in talks. She didn’t address the matter in her response.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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








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