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Saturday
Feb192011

Second American Involved in Lahore Shooting Slips Back to US

Photo Courtesy - Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images(LAHORE, Pakistan) -- A Pakistani court has demanded the arrest of a second U.S. official in connection with a deadly shootout in Lahore, Pakistan, last month, but that official, as well as another American official involved in the incident, have already slipped out of the country and are back on American soil, a senior U.S. official told ABC News.

The American sought for arrest, who the State Department only identified as a member of the U.S. embassy's staff in Islamabad, Pakistan, was behind the wheel when he struck and killed a bystander while racing to the aid of U.S. "technical advisor" Raymond Davis, who is currently detained in Lahore. Davis is accused of gunning down two Pakistani men in the street on Jan. 27 in what the State Department said was self-defense during a "botched robbery."

The driver of the vehicle held the same diplomatic visa as Davis, U.S. officials told ABC News. Since his arrest, the U.S. argued that Davis should be afforded diplomatic immunity as a member of the embassy's "technical and administrative staff" and released.

Authorities in Punjab said they sent five letters to the U.S. Embassy asking that the driver and vehicle be handed over, but have reportedly received no response. It is unclear when the driver and his passenger were spirited out of Pakistan, but a senior U.S. official said it happened soon after the shooting incident.

Davis is still in a high-security detention center in Lahore and is expected to stay there until a court hearing next month, despite repeated demands by the U.S. -- including from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- that he be released immediately. In a court hearing Thursday, a representative of the Pakistani central government said Pakistani officials are still trying to determine whether Davis qualifies for diplomatic immunity. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb192011

Loch Ness-like Sea Creature Spotted in England?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BOWNESS-ON-WINDERMERE, England) -- Bownessie, the mythical younger and less famous sea monster of Britain's Lake Windermere, who lives in the shadow of her northern neighbor, the fabled Loch Ness monster, may have been spotted.

Two young Brits told the U.K.'s Daily Mail on Friday that they spotted three or four mysterious humps emerge from the water while they were kayaking on Lake Windermere in Bowness-on-Windermere, near the western coast of northern England.

Tom Pickles, 24, and Sarah Harrington, 23, said they stared at the shape, terrified as it moved through the water at about 10 miles per hour.

"I thought it was a dog," Pickles said. "Then I realized it was much bigger and moving really quickly. Each hump was moving in a rippling motion and it was swimming fast. I could tell it was much bigger underneath from the huge shadow around it."

"Its skin was like a seal's, but its shape was abnormal -- it's not like any animal I've ever seen before. We saw it for about 20 seconds. It was petrifying. We paddled back to the shore straight away," Harrington said.

The couple managed to snap a shot of the baffling figure with a camera phone before it disappeared into the water. Experts who have examined the fuzzy photograph have said that the image is authentic, but that the file size is too small to tell if it was altered.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb192011

US Travel Alert Issued as Bahrain Protests Continue

Photo Courtesy - JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images(MANAMA, Bahrain) -- Americans are being urged to defer from non-essential travel to Bahrain, as political and social unrest continues in the Middle East.

The U.S. State Department issued the travel advisory on Friday, saying that although Westerners are not being threatened or targeted, unnecessary travel to Bahrain should be avoided at least until March 18, when the current travel alert expires.

On Saturday, Bahrain’s Pearl Square was reopened to traffic after security forces vacated the square. This decrease in security led to thousands of euphoric protesters entering the square, singing, chanting, waving flags, and hugging one another.

Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa issued a statement saying that the government was slow to respond to the demands of the people. Representatives from the opposition Democratic Society say it appears that there is a real chance for negotiations, and there is speculation that a negotiated settlement can be achieved.

President Barack Obama spoke with King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain on Friday and reiterated his condemnation of violence being used against peaceful protesters. President Obama said he believed that Bahrain should respect the universal rights of its people, and should show some restraint, while holding those responsible for violence against protesters responsible.

On Saturday, the Crown Prince issued a statement via State TV expressing sorrow for the deaths of protesters, and also asked that journalists follow professional guidelines and refrain from reporting false information.

Hospital officials said on Friday that at least 100 people were injured after soldiers reportedly fired weapons and tear gas into the air amid protests of the government's ban on demonstrations. The violence erupted hours after protesters came together to mourn those who were killed in Pearl Square during a midnight clash with police on Thursday. At least five people were killed in the demonstrations after police stormed and dismantled protest camps set up at Pearl Square Thursday in the kingdom's capital of Manama.

Protesters in Bahrain are demanding not just jobs but also the release of political prisoners and broad constitutional reforms. They are calling for the end to the monarchy that has ruled Bahrain for 200 years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb192011

Dozens Killed in Libya Protests

Photo Courtesy - SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Dozens of people are reported dead as protests continue in Libya.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets on Saturday calling for an end to Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year tenure as ruler. At least 84 people have been killed, according to the Human Rights Watch group, while numerous others have been injured.

Protesters were out in numbers in Benghazi and al-Badai, where chaos erupted. One doctor compared the atmosphere in the city to that of a scene from hell, according to a report by BBC News. Saturday’s demonstrations marked the sixth day of protest.

The social unrest in Libya is part of a wave of demonstrations that have swept through the Middle East, and follows the recent uprising in Egypt which led to that country’s 30-year ruler, Hosni Mubarak, stepping down from his post as president.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb192011

Hillary Clinton: Israeli Settlements 'Illegitimate'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Israeli settlements "illegitimate" shortly before the United States vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning continued Israeli settlement expansion as illegal.

In an exclusive ABC News interview with Christiane Amanpour on Friday, Clinton said, "I think it is absolutely clear to say, number one, that it's been American policy for many years that settlements were illegitimate and it is the continuing goal and highest priority of the Obama administration to keep working toward a two-state solution with both Israelis and Palestinians."

The U.N. resolution failed as a result of the United States' veto. The Security Council vote was 14 countries in favor of the resolution and one country, the United States, opposed. Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said that the resolution risked harming the peace process.

"It is the Israelis' and Palestinians' conflict, and even the best-intentioned outsiders cannot resolve it for them," Rice said after the vote at U.N. headquarters in New York City. "Therefore, every potential action must be measured against one overriding standard: Will it move the parties closer to negotiations and an agreement?

"Unfortunately," she added, "this draft resolution risks hardening the positions of both sides. It could encourage the parties to stay out of negotiations and, if and when they did resume, to return to the Security Council whenever they reach an impasse."

In December 2010, Clinton took a similarly harsh line against continued Israeli settlements.

"We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity," she said in a speech at the Brookings Institution. "We believe their continued expansion is corrosive not only to peace efforts and two-state solution, but to Israel's future itself."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Friday
Feb182011

Australian Teens Play 60-Plus Hours of Video Games for Charity

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ADELAIDE, Australia) -- Toby Zerner, Brodie Syrus and two of their friends are playing 60-plus hours of video games in the name of charity.

Their goal is to raise $10,000 for the non-profit organization "charity: water," which brings clean and safe drinking water to developing nations, by broadcasting their "struggle through some of the worst games released in history."

"They are mostly old games. One of the most well-known ones is Superman on Nintendo 64," said Zerner. "It's a really, really good cause. About one in eight people in the world don't have access to clean and safe drinking water, which is something we take for granted."

The four teenagers had about 15 hours to go and had raised $6,400 as of Friday evening. On their website gametoaid.org, supporters can participate in a continuous chat, watch a live-stream of the games being played, see how much money has been raised, how much time is left, and donate to the cause.

"One-hundred percent of public donations go directly towards water projects and all the administrative costs and credit card fees and things like that are covered by private donors," said Zerner. "We can assure all of our viewers that all of their money is going to where it is needed the most."

Zerner and Syrus are no strangers to this strenuous test of endurance and finger agility. Last year in a 72-hour gaming marathon they raised $4,186 for World Youth International.

They say they were inspired by other marathons like extralives.org and Mario Marathon so they created their own. On their website they encourage anyone interested in doing the same to contact them.

Copyright 2011 ABC news Radio

Friday
Feb182011

Bahrain Protesters Continue to Call for Ouster of Monarchy 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MANAMA, Bahrain) -- Tensions remained high Friday in the Middle East kingdom of Bahrain after authorities banned all pro-democracy protests amid funerals for those killed in the crackdown and calls for the ouster of their ruling monarchy.

Soldiers reportedly fired weapons and tear gas canisters into the air Friday morning as thousands once again gathered to march toward Pearl Square in protest of the government's ban on demonstrations. At least 100 people were injured, some with gunshot wounds, hospital officials said.

The violence erupted hours after protesters came together to mourn those who were killed in Pearl Square during a midnight clash with police Thursday.

Crown Prince Salman al Khalifa appeared on state television to express his condolences to the families of those who died Thursday, and appealed for calm and unity. He also said that the government was willing to negotiate but that the protesters must agree to stand down first.

Meanwhile, President Obama has called on the governments of Bahrain, Libya and Yemen to show restraint as reports of violence come pouring out of the Middle East. On board Air Force One, Obama said the countries should respect the rights of the citizens demonstrating peacefully and expressed condolences to the families of those who were killed.

At least five people were killed in the demonstrations after police stormed and dismantled protest camps set up at Pearl Square Thursday in the kingdom's capital of Manama. Riot police had responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. That same square had been scrubbed clean Friday by the government.

Bahrain is a crucial U.S. ally and the island nation is host to the U.S. Navy's Fifth fleet and about 6,000 U.S. troops.

Protesters in Bahrain are demanding not just jobs but also the release of political prisoners and broad constitutional reforms. They are calling for the end to the monarchy that has ruled Bahrain for 200 years.

Elsewhere, protesters will be back on the streets after Friday prayers in Cairo Friday.

This time, however, they'll be celebrating the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb182011

Dead Newborn Found at Oprah's South Africa School

Photo Courtesy - Oprah Winfrey/ABC News(JOHANNESBURG) -- Oprah Winfrey's school for girls in South Africa is being rocked by a fresh scandal as police investigate the body of a newborn found in one of the student's bags, police said Friday.

The baby's body was found last Wednesday in a bag the 17-year-old girl brought to a hospital where she was being treated for excessive bleeding, police Lt. Col. Lungelo Dlamini told ABC News in a statement.

It is believed that the girl, who has not been identified, gave birth at her school, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, which is located outside Johannesburg.

No charges have been filed against the girl and police will discuss the case with the Director for Public Prosecutions once the investigation has been finalized.

Winfrey's leadership academy has had problems in the past. Shortly after the all-girls high school opened in 2007, a school matron, Virginia Tiny Makopo, was charged with sexually molesting several girls. At the time Winfrey flew to South Africa to offer a personal apology to the students and their parents, citing her own experience with sexual abuse.

She also fired the school's headmistress, Lerato Nomvuyo Mzamane.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb182011

Jordan: Eight Injured As Anti-Government Protests Turn Violent

Photo Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images(AMMAN, Jordan) -- Uprisings in Egypt have triggered similar protests across the Mideast. In Jordan, Friday marked the seventh straight day of protests between government supporters and anti-government demonstrators.

At least eight people were reported injured in Friday’s demonstrations. Protesters are calling for greater freedoms and lower prices on items such as food.

“High prices,” one protester said, “we wish that the government will do something about it.”

Another demonstrator said the time has come for Jordanians to demand what, he says, they deserve.

“We are, as Jordanians are, calling for our rights.”

The U.S. is appealing to the government of Bahrain to show restraint and usher in political reform after security forces used violence to break up pro-democracy protests, leaving at least five people dead.

The Obama administration is keeping a watchful eye on the fluid situation in Bahrain, which is the home of the U.S. Fifth Fleet and a strong ally of Saudi Arabia, another Arab nation that may soon experience anti-government protests that have spread rapidly throughout the Middle East over the past month.

In Bahrain, opposition forces are calling for the prime minister to step down, as well as demanding improvements in quality of life issues such as wages and housing.

As in Egypt and Tunisia, the protesters have been spurred on by bloggers using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which are more difficult for the government to suppress.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb182011

US Calls for Restraint Following Violence in Bahrain

Photo Courtesy - Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. is appealing to the government of Bahrain to show restraint and usher in political reform after security forces used violence to break up pro-democracy protests, leaving at least five people dead.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the appeal to the Bahraini foreign minister Thursday, hours after military police roused sleeping protesters in the middle of Manama's main square by firing tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets.

Clinton, who spoke directly with Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa, cautioned the Bahraini government against disrupting funerals of the slain demonstrators planned for Friday.

The Obama administration is keeping a watchful eye on the fluid situation in Bahrain, which is the home of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet and a strong ally of Saudi Arabia, another Arab nation that may soon experience the anti-government protests that have spread rapidly throughout the Middle East over the past month.

President Obama has taken an even more measured approach to the situation in Bahrain than he did with Egypt, being careful not to overtly criticize its ruling monarchy.

The president's message thus far to Middle East allies is for these autocratic regimes to begin instituting democratic reforms before they're forced to do so.

In Bahrain, opposition forces are calling for the prime minister to step down, as well as demanding improvements in quality of life issues such as wages and housing.  As in Egypt and Tunisia, the protesters have been spurred on by bloggers using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which are more difficult for the government to suppress.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio