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Monday
Jan032011

Two US Soldiers Killed in Iraq; First Deaths of 2011

Photo Courtesy - United States Forces - Iraq/Sgt. Phillip Valentine.(BAGHDAD, Iraq) -- Two American troops were killed in Iraq Sunday night, marking the first deaths of U.S. service members in the country since the new year began.

The two soldiers were killed in cental Iraq while in support of Operation New Dawn, according to the U.S. military.

Their identities and cause of death are being withheld until family members are notified of the news.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan022011

Napolitano to Israel to Survey Airport Security

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will travel to Israel Monday to meet with airport security experts.

Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport is considered one of the most secure in the world, but officials there don't rely on the latest digital X-ray machines and they do not make pat downs mandatory. They base their success on something which many consider controversial: human intelligence -- teams of trained security personnel who profile passengers.

From suspicious behavior to a person's nationality, profiling is a method endorsed by Israeli airport officials. Every passenger is questioned in-depth at check-in; some are pulled aside for further questioning and strip searches.

Human rights groups have called Israel's methods discriminatory because they affect non-Jewish and Arab travelers most.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan022011

Iran Claims to Have Shot Down Western Spy Planes

Photo Courtesy - USAF(TEHRAN) -- Iran claims that its military has shot down two Western spy planes.  A senior officer of the country's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps said on Sunday his people shot down two planes over the Persian Gulf but he did not say when it happened.

The official also told state-run media that his forces have shot down several Western aircraft in the past, calling them advanced spy planes that can take pictures, flown by Iran's "enemies."  That could be a reference to the United States, which has, along with the United Nations and other countries, imposed sanctions on Iran for its nuclear activities.

Iran insists its nuclear program is used only for peaceful purposes. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan022011

Clooney Hopes Satellites Will Shed Light on Sudan

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- Actor and activist George Clooney said he hopes that technology can bring public attention to the border region of Sudan and prevent potential violence and even genocide after a critical referendum there next week.

In an exclusive interview with ABC’s This Week, Clooney talked about the goals of the newly-launched Satellite Sentinel Project, a joint effort backed by the U.N., Google and human rights groups to have satellites monitor the border between Sudan’s northern and southern region.

Southern Sudan will vote next Sunday on whether to break away from the northern part of the country, which has been wracked with violence in the past decade. The Satellite Sentinel Project, backed by Clooney and John Prendergast of the Enough Project, will provide high-resolution images of the border region on the project’s website that the public can monitor, in hopes of drawing attention to the region in case of violence after the referendum.

“If you see actual evidence of those kind of attacks, that's something … that the U.N. can actually work with,” Clooney said. “But for the most part, our job is to say that these things have been happening in the dark for a long time … We're going to be able to … not show it afterwards, but show it beforehand, that there were plans, there are tanks lined up, that there are helicopters online, that are going to … that are about to commit atrocities.”

Clooney said the project, which will cost $750,000 to run, is a cost-effective way to prevent violence, instead of “putting Band-Aids on a wound after the wound has been inflicted.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan022011

Flooding Turns Deadly in Australia

Photo Courtesy - Torsten Blackwoodia/AFP/Getty Images(QUEENSLAND, Australia) -- At least one person is dead and two are missing in the violent flooding that has thousands of people evacuated from their homes in Australia.  The dead woman was trying to drive across a flooded river when her vehicle was swept away.  Others in her car were rescued but the 41-year-old driver did not make it.  Two other people are missing in the area and believed dead. 

The flooding in northern Queensland has swamped 22 towns, leaving thousands in evacuation shelters, wondering what their homes will be like when they return.  The Age newspaper reports 200,000 people are affected.  

Aside from the human and financial toll, scientists worry the flood waters will do severe damage to the Great Barrier Reef.  The runoff from the floods contains pesticides and other chemicals that kill coral and will remain in the reef for years. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan012011

North Korea New Year's Message Calls for Peace, Threatens Too

Image Courtesy - Getty Images(PYONGYANG, North Korea) -- Communist North Korea's official New Year's message, carried on state-run media, calls for the two Koreas to work together for the best interests of the peninsula but also warns that war there would "bring nothing but a nuclear holocaust."

South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak said he is confident peace can be achieved and that South Korea's "sustained economic growth" will continue.

Tensions between the North and South have been running high throughout recent months, highlighted by North Korea's sinking of a South Korean naval vessel and the North's shelling of a small island in response to South Korean military training exercises.  Saturday's conciliatory messages run counter to recent rhetoric from both sides.

Both governments say they believe the two Koreas should be unified but North Korea's vision insists that it direct any new government.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan012011

Russian Jet Catches Fire, Explodes on Runway

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- A Russian plane exploded Saturday just before it was scheduled to take off from an airport in Siberia. At least one person was killed.

Most of the 128 passengers and crew made it off the Russian jet after one of the engines apparently caught fire as the plane taxied for takeoff.

The plane, a Tu-154, has been blamed for a number of crashes. The Russian airline Aeroflot pulled the model from its fleet of aircraft last year amid safety concerns.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec312010

UPDATE: Toll Rises in Blast at Egyptian Coptic Christian Church

Photo Courtesy - STR/AFP/Getty Images(ALEXANDRIA, Egypt) -- At least 21 people have now been confirmed dead in a Friday car-bombing outside a Coptic Christian church in the north Egyptian city of Alexandria.  Many more people have been rushed to a hospital.  The people were emerging from a New Year's service when it happened. 

Security has also been put on high alert across churches in Alexandria after the blast, which devastated many citizens on Khalil Hamada Street, where the church stood.  Muslim and Copts continue to clash in the area. 

Christians from the Coptic Orthodox Church make up about 10 percent of Egypt's predominantly Muslim population.

Alexandria is Egypt's second-largest city with a population of about four million.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec312010

Rehab for Terrorists? Pakistan Works With Extremist Teens

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SWAT, Pakistan) -- Once a terrorist always a terrorist? Not so, says Pakistani military officials who are using psychiatry, education and religion to rehabilitate more than 150 teenage extremists.

Opinions on whether terrorists can be rehabilitated are still mixed. Saudi Arabia has tried to re-educate known jihadists for the past few years with limited success. But the Pakistani military believes its program can teach the young men -- ages 14 to 17 -- how to think for themselves and become productive members of society.

The teenagers are housed in a compound in Pakistan's Swat valley, an area that just a few years ago was a Taliban stronghold, where beatings and beheadings were constant. Today, Taliban headquarters is gone, destroyed by the Pakistan army, and the area is home to reopened schools and shops. But the half-million people who live there vividly recall the days of Taliban rule -- hundreds of them sided with the terrorists, many, the army says, out of fear.

The young men undergoing rehabilitation are kept in their compound 24 hours a day, meeting with psychologists, teachers and religious instructors. Security is a constant presence. Some of the young men have killed or tortured their countrymen and were ready to carry out suicide bombings. One of them told ABC News that the Taliban told him fighting the Pakistani army "was the right thing to do."

A student in the reintegration program told ABC News that he thinks differently now and would never go back to the Taliban.

Only 11 of the 152 young men going through the program are considered ready for reintegration. In Pakistan, the army and the community will help to monitor the young men for a year or more and help them to get jobs.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec312010

U.S. Security Secretary Napolitano Makes Surprise Visit to Afghanistan

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano made a surprise visit to Afghanistan Friday as law enforcement officials across the country remain at a heightened state of alert over potential attacks on the New Year's Eve holiday.

Napolitano met with top U.S. and Afghan officials in Kabul to assess progress on Department of Homeland Security efforts to train local security forces. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers have been helping the Afghans secure the country's borders and combat drug and weapons smuggling.

She is expected to spend New Year's Eve with military service members whose continued efforts and sacrifices, she said, are making "the American homeland safer and more secure."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio