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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


Monday
Sep272010

North Korea's Leader Promotes Son to Rank of General

(Kim Jong Il) Photo Courtesy - CCTV 4/ABC News(SEOUL, South Korea) -- North Korea's Supreme Leader Kim Jong Il promoted his young son, Kim Jong Un, on Monday, likely putting him in line to inherit power in the nuclear armed country.  Jong Un, who is believed to be 27 or 28 years old, was given the military title of "dae-jang," which translates to the rank of general, according to the official North Korean news agency.  The newly minted general is the third son of the country's dictator.  It has been speculated in recent months that Kim Jong Il has settled Kim Jong Un to take his place upon his death.  North Korea is notoriously secretive about its hierarchy.  Monday's announcement was the first time that the country's official news agency has mentioned the son.  Kim Jong Il also gave his sister, Kim Kyung Hee, a similar rank. Kim Kyung Hee is believed to be a strong supporter of Jong Un.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep272010

Talking Newspapers Startle Readers in India

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(INDIA) -- The Times of India and The Hindu, two of the largest papers in the world, created quite a stir on Tuesday when they released a special advertisement in their daily papers. When readers opened the paper to the back page, a light-sensitive, voice-activated chip began reading out why you should buy Volkswagen's new sedan, the Vento. The "talking" advertisement was an audio rendering of the print commercial, similar to a radio ad.

Unsuspecting readers bolted upright when the advertisement voice activation began. In many parts of the country, there were unintended consequences from startled readers.  The police in Delhi received numerous calls, particularly from elderly Indians, who were frightened and suspicious of the talking newspaper.  In Mumbai, the bomb squad was called out when passersby became suspicious of noises coming from discarded newspapers in trash bins.  Some readers thought they were hearing the voice of a ghost.  The police commissioner of Mumbai, Sanjeev Dayal, released a statement asking people not to be fearful of the new technology.

The 2.2 million copies soon became a sought-after collector's item. The executive president of the Times Group, Bhaskar Das, called the advertisement an innovation that could change the way print media is viewed.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep272010

Segway Owner Dies In Segway Accident

Photo Courtesy - Segway, Inc.(WEST YORKSHIRE, England) -- The owner of Segway, the company that manufactures two-wheeled personal transportation devices, died Sunday in an accident involving the company's trademark product. Jimi Heselden, 62, was apparently riding an all-terrain Segway model when he and the machine plunged from a cliff and into a river. Heselden, a former miner, bought the company last December and, according to local reports, was using the machine to survey his estate. The company confirmed Heselden’s death on its website.

A study released Monday evaluated the records of injuries obtained while riding the Segway from 44 different Washington, D.C. patients between 2005 and 2008. A quarter of those patients were admitted to the hospital, while almost half were placed in intensive care due to traumatic brain injury. Records show that only seven percent of all patients had worn helmets, which are not required by law in Washington. The number of Segway-related injuries is on the rise, records show, with three in 2006 and at least 25 in 2008.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep272010

U.S. Soldier Describes Thrill Kill of Innocent Afghans

Image Courtesy - ABC News(FORT LEWIS, Wash.) -- Dressed in a T-shirt and Army shorts, a 22-year-old corporal from Wasilla, Alaska casually describes on a videotape made by military investigators how his unit's "crazy" sergeant randomly chose three unarmed, innocent victims to be murdered in Afghanistan.

Corporal Jeremy N. Morlock is one of five GI's charged with pre-meditated murder in a case that includes allegations of widespread drug use, a collection of body parts and photos of the U.S. soldiers holding the Afghan bodies like hunter's trophies.

All five soldiers were part of the 5th Stryker Combat Brigade, of the 2nd Infantry Division, based at Ft. Lewis-McChord, Washington. In charging documents released by the Army, the military alleges that the five -- Staff Sgt. Calvin R. Gibbs, Spec Adam C. Winfield, Spec. Michael S. Wagnon II, Pfc. Andrew H. Holmes and Morlock -- were involved in one or more of three murders that took place between January and May of this year.

Lawyers and family members of the soldiers say they all intend to fight the charges.

An Article 32 hearing for Morlock, the military equivalent of a grand jury, is scheduled Monday at Fort Lewis-McChord, Washington.

On the tape, obtained by ABC News, Morlock admits his role in the deaths of three Afghans, but claims the plan was organized by his unit's sergeant, Calvin Gibbs, who is also charged with pre-meditated murder.

"He just really doesn't have any problems with [bleeping] killing these people," Morlock said on tape as he laid out the scenario he said the sergeant used to make it seem the civilians were killed in action.

"And so we identify a guy. Gibbs makes a comment, like, you know, you guys wanna wax this guy or what?" Morlock told military investigators during an interview videotaped in May at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

The corporal said Gibbs gave orders to open fire on the civilian at the same time Gibbs threw a hand grenade at the victim.

"He pulled out one of his grenades, an American grenade, you know, popped it, throws it, tells me where to go to whack this guy, kill this guy, kill this guy," Morlock told the investigators.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep242010

Rare Video Shows Taliban Allegedly Stoning Woman to Death

Photo Courtesy - Al Aan/ABC News(UNITED ARAB EMIRATES) -- A rare video, reportedly smuggled out of northwest Pakistan, allegedly shows a woman being stoned to death by Taliban militants in the upper region of Orakzai.

Al Aan, a Dubai-based pan-Arab television channel that focuses on women's issues, claims it had obtained cell phone footage that it says shows a woman being executed because she was seen out with a man. The killing reportedly took place two months ago and was smuggled out by a Taliban member who attended the stoning, according to Al Aan. ABC News could not independently confirm the cellphone video's authenticity.

The video seems to show a woman tethered to the ground as a group of men throw stones at her.

"It's difficult to know where and when it was shot," says Gayle Lemmon, deputy director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council of Foreign Relations, in an interview with Brian Ross. "It is consistent with videos that have been coming from Taliban-controlled areas since the '90s," he added.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep242010

Jordanian King Warns of War if Israel Resumes Building Settlements

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- As the end of this United Nations week approaches, the world seems closer to a war in the Middle East, not farther away.

As previously reported, Israel’s 10-month moratorium on housing settlements in disputed territories is set to expire next week. If Israel resumes development, it seems likely that the Palestinians will leave the direct talks.

"If we fail on the 30th [of September], expect another war by the end of the year,” Jordan’s King Abdullah warned on Comedy Central's The Daily Show Thursday night. “And more wars that I foresee in the region over the coming years.”  That’s because, Abdullah said, “if the issue of settlements are still at the table on [the] 30th, then everybody walks away. And if they do, how are we going to get people back to the table? I don't see that happening in the near future.”

This, combined with President Obama’s plea at the U.N. for Arab countries to step up to the plate and help the process move forward, and his new language that the talks should continue regardless of what happens to the housing freeze, all seems to spell bad news for peace in the region.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep242010

Singers From Around the World Compete for Record Deal

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(MOSCOW) -- The eighth annual Karaoke World Championships kicked off Thursday in Moscow.  The first night of the competition featured 31 talented singers, stemming from Kazakhstan to the Faroe Islands, vying for two record deals, a shot at stardom and one million Russian dumplings, courtesy of the event's sponsor.

"You have to be like the artist, but you have to put your two cents in," said 30 year-old Edward Pimentel of Albuquerque, New Mexico, trying to explain how the competition is like the karaoke most of us know. Except here, if you look at the lyrics on the stage monitor, you get points deducted.

"This is more like the Olympics of Karaoke," said Team USA's self-described mentor Brian Scott when asked how the competition differs from other amateur singing contests like American Idol. "It's a lot different, karaoke, than those types of reality shows. This is more like an Olympic event for all the countries of the world."

The contestants have one more night to impress the judges before the finalists are chosen for Saturday night's final round.  One man and one woman will be awarded a record contract in Finland, the home of the Championships, and, of course, a million dumplings. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio