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Sunday
Jan162011

Roadside Bombs Kill Civilians in Afghanistan

Image Courtesy - ABC News(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- U.S. troops and other westerners were most likely the targets, but insurgents in Afghanistan have killed more than a dozen civilians with roadside bombs over a 24-hour period.

A child was among the nine people killed Sunday when a bomb exploded beneath the vehicle the group was riding to a wedding in Baghlan Province, north of Kabul.  The six women, two men and the child were all members of the same family.  Seventeen civilians were reported dead between Saturday and early Sunday.

Experts say the northern region of Afghanistan is growing ever more dangerous as the Taliban, feeling pressure from international forces, moves away from its more traditional stronghold in the south and east.

Six civilians died Saturday in a roadside bombing in Helmand Province and two others died in Uruzgan Province when an improvised explosive device, or IED, went off.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan162011

Australia: Cleanup Underway After Devastating Floods

Photo Courtesy - TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images(QUEENSLAND, Australia) -- The cleanup from massive flooding in some areas of Australia's storm-battered northeast is beginning even as some communities remain isolated by high water.

At least 27 people have died during three weeks of flooding. Fourteen remain unaccounted for.

Dealing with all the mud left behind is expected to take months. Reconstruction could take years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan162011

Iran Says Spy Planes It Claims to Have Downed Were US Aircraft

File photo. Photo Courtesy - United States Navy(TEHRAN) -- Iran's Revolutionary Guard claims to have in its custody two U.S. spy planes that earlier this month Iran said it had shot down.  Iranian officials say they will display the aircraft.

When the claims were first made, Iran offered no proof, but the country now says it can do so "at an appropriate time."  Iran said the high-tech, pilotless planes had violated its airspace.  At the time, the U.S. Navy said it had no record of any missing planes.

It is possible that if two U.S. aircraft were shot down, Iran would delay talking about it to avoid increasing tension with the United States.

The U.S. and other western countries are in a long-running dispute with Tehran over Iran's nuclear program.  Iran claims it is for energy production, not war, but other countries are skeptical.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan162011

Plans for New Apartments in Disputed East Jerusalem

Israeli Settlement in E. Jerusalem. Photo Courtesy - Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Israeli officials are defending plans for 1,400 new apartments in the settlement of Gilo, part of disputed East Jerusalem which Israel seized from Jordan during the Six-Day War in 1967.  Palestinians reacted with outrage to the plan, which could scuttle the rocky U.S.-sponsored peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis.

Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the site of their future capital and say Israel would be in violation of international law in building the apartments.  But Jerusalem Councilman Elisha Peleg told Voice of America that Israel has every right to do what it wants in that part of the city.

"The Jews have the right to build in all parts of Jerusalem, including East Jerusalem," he said.

Some Israeli politicians disagree.  The left wing Peace Now movement's Hagit Ofran told VOA that Israel would destroy the peace process through such moves.  The Palestinians refuse to return to the negotiations until Israel halts all construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The apartment plan could be approved as soon as next week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan162011

Investigators Looking Into India Temple Stampede, 104 Dead

Image Courtesy - ABC News(NEW DELHI) -- Investigators are looking in to what caused a stampede that left at least 104 people dead and 60 injured at a shrine in India.  Authorities deny claims of inadequate security at the Hindu shrine of Sabarimala, in the southern province of Kerala.

The stampede happened Friday at the end of a two-month-long ritual, where officials estimate 200,000 people were gathered.  Initial reports show a vehicle ran out of control and into the crowd, starting the panic.

In 1999, 50 people died in a similar panic at the same festival.  Inadequate security was found to be the cause then, but state and local authorities deny that is the case now.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan162011

Queen Offers Prince William, Kate Middleton Keys to Buckingham Palace

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LONDON) -- Queen Elizabeth has reportedly offered to share Buckingham Palace with Prince William and Kate Middleton after they are married. But will they take her up on the offer?

Think of it as a type of house share. Grandma and grandpa will use the palace from Monday to Thursday, and – though space is of no concern in the 775 room complex – William and Kate would have the whole place to themselves on weekends.

“They will have the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh as their neighbor,” said Katie Nicholl, author of William and Harry. “Perhaps as a married couple that’s not what they want.”

At least for their first year of marriage, the couple will reside in a secluded Wales cottage.

“My bet [for William and Kate's more permanent residence] is on Kensington Palace,” Nicholl said, where Diana lived with William and Harry after separating from Prince Charles.

The Prince says the couple wants to live as normal a lifestyle as possible – no servants and no butlers – so they can enjoy a closer, more intimate relationship.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan152011

Brazil Flooding: Death Toll Continues to Rise

Photo Courtesy - Vanderlei Almeida/ AFP/Getty Images(TERESOPOLIS, Brazil) -- Heavy rains have triggered flooding and mudslides in Brazil, killing hundreds of people in the southeastern part of the country.

At least 600 have died and many more are missing.

Rescue crews continue to search for survivors, but Rio de Janeiro Deputy-Governor Luiz Fernando Pezao said this week that greater resources would be needed in the region.

More rain was forecast to fall through the weekend.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan152011

Defense Dept. Investigating Soldier Deaths in Northern Iraq

File photo. Photo Courtesy - United States Army(BAGHDAD) -- The Defense Department confirms two U.S. soldiers were killed Saturday and a third wounded when an Iraqi soldier opened fire on them in northern Iraq.  The Iraqi soldier responsible for the U.S. deaths was killed as well. 

It happened during training exercises conducted by U.S. Forces as part of the Advise and Assist effort.  The attack on the U.S. troops at Ghazlani Training Camp south of Mosul is the second such incident on record.  The Pentagon said there was one last year in Saladin Province in which an Iraqi soldier opened fire on U.S. troops. 

The condition of the wounded soldier is "not releasable," according to the Pentagon.  That soldier was evacuated to Joint Base Balad for medical treatment.  The identities of the dead soldiers is not being released until family members have been told of their loss.

Another soldier died Saturday while conducting operations in central Iraq.

These deaths bring the toll for January to five.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan152011

Tunisia Wildly Unstable After President Flees to Saudi Arabia

Photo Courtesy - GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images(TUNIS, Tunisia) -- Weeks of street violence that drove the Tunisian president from power raged on Saturday, despite President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's Friday flight to Saudi Arabia.

The street protests erupted four weeks ago over allegations of government corruption and unemployment.  The violence escalated in recent days until Friday's wild turn of events.  The president made a desperate attempt to remain in office by declaring he was dismissing his government and legislative elections would be held in six months, but it was too late.  He was forced out by ever-widening protests and street violence, and the country's prime minister tried to assume power.  Protesters then demanded he, Mohamed Ghannouchi, be removed from government.

The highest legal authority in Tunisia, the Constitutional Council, has now declared Parliament Speaker Fouad Mebazaa in control, with elections to be held within 60 days.

The streets are smoke-filled and bloody, with reports of roving gangs of men firing shots as they drive through Tunis.  They are believed to be forces still loyal to the ousted president, Ben Ali, hoping to further destabilize the already shaky and high-speed transition of power.   A prison was burned Friday night and dozens of prisoners were killed.   

The Arab country has a population of 10 million people.  Ben Ali has been president for 23 years.  Experts say this rapid change may be a new beginning for a people long robbed of free speech and self-determination.  That depends on whether stability can be quickly established and deep reforms agreed upon.  The next few days will be crucial.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan142011

Obama Administration Continues to Loosen Rules Regarding Cuba

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House announced Friday afternoon that it would further ease travel and other restrictions regarding Cuba.

President Obama directed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to ease travel to Cuba for religious groups and students.  He also wants to allow more remittances -- up to $2,000 a year -- to flow to non-Communists in Cuba and allow all U.S. international airports to offer charter flights.  Currently only airports in Los Angeles, New York, and Miami offer such charter flights.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said in a statement that the “changes undermine U.S. foreign policy and security objectives and will bring economic benefits to the Cuban regime.”

Said Ros-Lehtinen, “Loosening these regulations will not help foster a pro-democracy environment in Cuba. These changes will not aid in ushering in respect for human rights. And they certainly will not help the Cuban people free themselves from the tyranny that engulfs them.”

But Francisco "Pepe" Hernandez, President of Cuban American National Foundation, applauded the move, saying the changes “will help to break the chains of dependency that the Castro regime has traditionally used to oppress those inside Cuba….These measures do not represent a concession to the Castro regime, but rather form part of a continuing series of unilateral measures that the US is taking which demonstrate a concern for the well-being of ordinary folks.

President Obama began easing restrictions regarding Cuba in April 2009, reversing the course set by President George W. Bush.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll from April 2009 found 55 percent support ending all travel restrictions to Cuba,  57 percent support ending the trade embargo, and 66 percent support establishing diplomatic relations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 







ABC News Radio