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Tuesday
Feb012011

Canada: 100 Sled Dogs Brutally Murdered, Dumped In Grave

File photo. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WHISTLER, Canada) -- Canadian police are investigating the execution of 100 sled dogs that were reportedly shot and stabbed, then dumped into a mass grave in British Columbia.

Authorities say an employee from Whistler-based Outdoor Adventures killed the dogs last spring, then filed a claim with British Columbia’s Workers’ Compensation Board, citing a case of post-traumatic stress.

The killings came to light after the results of the claim were made public.

The Toronto Sun, which obtained a copy of the report, says the worker was ordered to kill a third of the company’s dogs as a result of a downturn in business.

The employee executed the animals over a two-day period, because, according to the report obtained by the Sun, the worker’s job “included herd control.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb012011

Jordan's King Abdullah Fires Cabinet

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(AMMAN, Jordan) – The ripples of the Egyptian uprising, which began with protests in Tunisia that forced the end of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's 28-year reign, are being felt throughout the Arab world.

Jordan's King Abdullah sacked his government on Tuesday amid protests that were directed mainly at Prime Minister Samir Rifai. The new Jordanian government will be tasked with bolstering democracy and "taking practical, swift, and tangible steps to launch a real political reform process, in line with the King's vision of comprehensive reform, modernization and development," according to Jordanian news agency, Petra.

After Egypt, Jordan is United States' second biggest ally in the region and only the second Arab country to recognize Israel.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb012011

Special Obama Envoy Speaks to Egyptian President Mubarak

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Frank Wisner, the former U.S. ambassador to Egypt whom President Obama dispatched to Cairo to talk to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has spoken to the embattled Egyptian leader, an administration source tells ABC News.

Wisner, known to have a close relationship with Mubarak and top Egyptian government officials, served as U.S. ambassador to Egypt for presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

He was sent by President Obama to deliver a message about how to best prepare for an “orderly transition” from the current government to one that respects democracy, economic and political reforms, and human rights. The White House insists this push for a “transition” does not necessarily mean a transition to a government that Mubarak is not heading – officials say Egyptians will pick their leaders, not the U.S. – but White House officials also refuse to comment on whether Wisner has been tasked with gingerly showing Mubarak the door.

Meanwhile U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Margaret Scobey spoke on the phone Tuesday with Mohamed ElBaradei, the leading opposition figure in Egypt.

A spokesman for the embassy tells ABC News: “Our embassy in Cairo maintains an active outreach to a wide range of political and civil society reps in Cairo, and the mission has been especially busy in the last several days to help convey our strong support for orderly transition.  One such contact was between the ambassador and Mohammad ElBaradei today.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb012011

Egyptian Army Vows Not to Use Force Against Protesters

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CAIRO) -- If the Egyptian army keeps it promise, there should be very little violence Tuesday as an expected one million people gather for a demonstration and general strike in Cairo to demand the end of Hosni Mubarak's presidency.  A similar demonstration was called for in Alexandria.

On Monday, the military issued a statement: "To the great people of Egypt, your armed forces, acknowledging the legitimate rights of the people... have not and will not use force against the Egyptian people."  The government is, however, stopping trains from entering Cairo and cutting off cell phone service.

More than 100 people have died and 2,000 injured since Egyptians tooks the streets one week ago to call for Mubarak's ouster.  They say a major change is needed to end 30 years of political oppression and unrelenting poverty.

The army's announcement could hasten Mubarak's departure if the top generals support the vow because the leader would certainly need the threat of force to regain his diminishing influence in Egypt.

Mubarak is trying everything now to remain in power, including reshuffling his Cabinet and appointing a new vice president, Omar Suleiman, who many consider the new leader-in waiting.

In what appears to be a sign of good faith, Suleiman said he was instructed by Mubarak to hold talks with political opponents on ways of enacting constitutional reform.  Suleiman also called for new parliamentary elections in districts where voting irregularities were alleged last year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb012011

South African President Visits Nelson Mandela

Photo Courtesy - Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images(JOHANNESBURG) -- South Africa's president paid a visit to Nelson Mandela Tuesday, just four days after the Nobel Peace Prize laureate was discharged from the hospital.

President Jacob Zuma, who returned to the country Monday night after attending meetings at the World Economic Forum and the African Union, went to go see Mandela at his home in Johannesburg.  Mandela has been home since last Friday, when he was released from the hospital to receive medical care at home.

The 92-year-old former South African president was admitted to a hospital in Johannesburg on Jan. 26 after developing a persistent cough while vacationing with his wife.  He underwent several specialized medical tests while he was in the hospital.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb012011

Evacuation Flights Continue as Americans Leave Egypt

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CAIRO) -- The evacuation of American citizens from the protest-ridden streets of Egypt is set to continue Tuesday with eight flights expected to depart from Cairo, according to a U.S. Embassy official in Larnaca, Cyprus.

The official, who was not named, told ABC News that two flights may land in Larnaca, while the others will go to Athens, Greece, Istanbul, Turkey and Frankfurt, Germany.  From there, passengers will have to arrange their own way back to the U.S.

The departing planes will be able to transport a total of 1,350 evacuees Tuesday, the official said.

On Monday, an estimated 1,200 Americans were evacuated from Egypt.  The U.S. State Department says there are approximately 52,000 Americans living and working in Egypt, many of whom are expected to leave the country if the situation becomes unbearable.

Political unrest has consumed Egypt for the past week as hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets demanding the removal of President Hosni Mubarak.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb012011

Hiker Sarah Shourd Summoned Back to Iran

Photo Courtesy - Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Iran issued a summons Monday for American hiker Sarah Shourd to return to Tehran for a trial on espionage charges, but people close to Shourd declined to say whether she will obey the summons.

Still in an Iranian jail are her fiance Shane Bauer and friend Josh Fattal.  The trial for the trio is scheduled to begin Sunday, Feb. 6.

The three were arrested as they hiked near the Iraq border in July 2009.  Shourd has said they were hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan and did not intentionally stray over the border with Iran.

Iran has charged the Americans with espionage.

Asked if Shourd, 32, would be returning to Iran, State Department Spokesman PJ Crowley said, '"I'll defer to Sarah Shourd."

A spokesperson for the Shourd family would not comment on her plans.  Neither would family members of the other hikers.

Shourd, who is from Oakland, California, was released from prison Sept. 14 last year on health grounds after discovering a lump in her breast.  Her release was conditional on $500,000 bail.  Iran has already said that if she does not return, she will forfeit the bail.  It remains uncertain who paid the bail.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan312011

Crisis in Egypt: New Elections Announced for Coming Weeks

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Egypt's beleaguered regime announced Monday that it will hold new elections in the coming weeks, a remarkable concession by President Hosni Mubarak after a week of massive protests demanding that he step down.

The announcement was made by Mubarak's newly appointed vice president, Omar Suleiman, who said that he has been authorized to talk to opposition parties.

Suleiman's statement came as protesters are hoping to turn out a million demonstrators on the streets Tuesday in what could be a decisive showdown between Mubarak and the opposition forces.

Hundreds of Americans fled the turbulent country Monday as Egyptians prepared for another day of protests.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan312011

Near-Unanimous Vote for South Sudan Secession

Photo Courtesy - ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images(KHARTOUM, Sudan) -- With 100 percent of polling results in and counted, South Sudan officials have announced that 98.83 percent of votes cast were for secession, making the split of Africa's largest country inevitable.

The official preliminary results announcement will happen on Wednesday. If Khartoum doesn't challenge them in court, the final results of the referendum will be declared Feb. 7. The South, however, will not officially become its own country until July, after issues of citizenship, border demarcation and oil revenue sharing are decided.

Khartoum officials reiterated on Monday that they will peacefully accept Southern independence. They have also agreed to allow former South African President Thabo Mbeki to mediate an agreement on the disputed border region of Abyei.

But officials are also saying publicly that they want Sudan off the U.S. terror sanctions list, which it's been on for more than a decade.

Sudan activists and aid agencies say the U.S. and the international community must continue to pressure Khartoum for peace in Darfur as well or continue to risk instability for the entire region.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan312011

Cairo Protestors Say US Is Hedging Its Bets

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CAIRO) -- Protesters in Cairo are expressing disappointment in the Obama administration, believing the U.S. to be hedging its bets and not backing the forces of democracy in the streets of Egypt.

The U.S. “must tell [President Hosni Mubarak] frankly to go,” Ayman, an Egyptian journalist, told ABC News’ Alex Marquardt in Cairo. “Go at once. The United States should choose between the Egyptian people and Mubarak. Mubarak will leave, today or tomorrow. But the Egyptian people will stay forever. They must be with us, frankly.”

Said Mohammed Makhlouf, an Egyptian-Canadian businessman, “The anger that has always been expressed by us for the last 30 years has been summarily ignored. Unfortunately heavily supported by the United States and Europe to a large measure. Now the world needs to realize they can no longer deal with Egypt through the person of a president, they are dealing with the people of Egypt. And this is indeed a home grown revolution.”

Makhlouf said President Obama is “in a difficult position and I understand that. The United States cannot be seen to be pulling the plug on an ally just like that. I understand. But these people need a firmer position from the United States so the United States can count on this alliance in the long-term. This has no turning back. This is what the world will have to deal with when it comes to Egypt. So the United States had better now align itself with the people. It has the opportunity. Nobody here dislikes the United States per se, just the policy. If Mr. Obama take the advantage now he will gain lots of popularity. Right now. And it is an opportunity.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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