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Tuesday
Jul092019

Missing American scientist Suzanne Eaton found dead in abandoned WWII bunker in Greece

Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden(LONDON) -- Greek emergency workers believe they have found the body of an American scientist on the island of Crete, almost a week after she went missing.

Greek authorities recovered the body of U.S. citizen Suzanne Eaton on Monday evening, according to the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, where Eaton was a research group leader.

Searchers on Tuesday said they had found Eaton's body in an abandoned World War II bunker around 7 miles from where she had been staying. Vangelis Zacharioudakis, who led the search effort by the Hellenic Rescue Team, told ABC News on Tuesday that the body was Eaton's.

"The road leading to the place where the woman was found is accessible, covered with cement and in the area there are many villas in which tourists stay. There are many people going out there and especially tourists who go either by hiking or to go to the villas where they have rented rooms. It is an amphitheatrical area where many tourists pass by daily," Konstantinos Beblidakis, the vice mayor of the local Platanias municipality, said in a statement.

The 59 year-old was a molecular biologist and had been visiting Crete for a conference when she disappeared. She is survived by two sons and her husband.

"It is with enormous sadness and regret that we announce the tragic demise of our dearest friend and colleague, Suzanne Eaton," the institute said in a statement Tuesday. "We are deeply shocked and disturbed by this tragic event. Suzanne was an outstanding and inspiring scientist, a loving spouse and mother, an athlete as well as a truly wonderful person beloved to us all. Her loss is unbearable."

Eaton, a native of Oakland, California, was last seen on Crete on the afternoon of July 2 near the port city of Chania where she was attending the conference organized by the Orthodox Academy of Crete. Greek authorities had launched a large-scale search for her in the area, using dogs and helicopters and joined by members of her family and volunteers.

Eaton's running shoes were missing from her room and all of her other belongings remained there, leading her family and colleagues to believe she may have gone for a run. Before her body was found, Eaton's family said they worried she might have got overheated in the baking temperatures on Crete or fallen in the rugged terrain there.

Police have not commented on what might have caused Eaton's death, and her institute said they had been informed the investigation was still underway to establish what had happened. Detectives from Athens were traveling to Crete to assist, The Associated Press reported. Her body has been sent to the town of Rethymno on Crete for an autopsy.

An official with the U.S. State Department told ABC News on Monday they were aware of reports that an American citizen was missing in Greece and were working closely with local authorities.

Eaton was also a professor at the Biotechnology Center of the Technical University of Dresden in Germany, known as TU Dresden. Her colleagues there described her as "an immensely renowned scientist" and "a remarkable person."

"We were shocked to learn of the death of our dear colleague and friend, Prof. Suzanne Eaton," Hans Muller-Steinhagen, rector of the TU Dresden, said in a statement Tuesday. "We have lost an immensely renowned scientist and a truly outstanding human being."

A call for help in assisting with the search for Eaton by her family and friends prompted a remarkable response, with a page set up to receive donations gathering over $40,000 in roughly 24 hours.

"We have come to know Suzanne as a lively and committed woman who made a decisive contribution to the development of our institute. Her sudden and untimely death is devastating for us all," Michael Schroeder, director of the TU Dresden Biotechnology Center, said in a statement Tuesday. "We will remember Suzanne as a remarkable person. We are profoundly saddened and speechless."

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Tuesday
Jul092019

Trump ramps up attacks on UK ambassador, calls him 'wacky,' foreign minister calls his comments 'disrespectful' 

Alex Wong/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump on Tuesday dialed up his criticism of the U.K. Ambassador to the U.S. Kim Darroch, calling him "wacky" and "a very stupid guy."

The president's latest criticism, which came in a series of tweets, followed the president's declaration on Monday that the U.S. "will no longer deal with" Darroch after diplomatic cables leaked to the Daily Mail in which Darroch called Trump's administration "inept" and "incompetent."

The president also offered additional criticism for outgoing U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May for failing to achieve a Brexit deal after she "went her own foolish way" instead of listening to his advice

In a sign of just how far tensions have increased, U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted back at Trump that his comments were "disrespectful."

Darroch's future relationship with the U.S. was unclear. He was also disinvited from a dinner Monday night with the president at the Treasury Department in honor of the Amir of Qatar, according to a U.S. official. White House officials said this is an example of the kind of treatment Darroch will likely receive in the aftermath of the leak.

At the same time, May's government has made it clear it's backing him.

"We have made clear to the U.S. how unfortunate this leak is. The selective extracts leaked do not reflect the closeness of, and the esteem in which we hold, the relationship. At the same time we have also underlined the importance of Ambassadors being able to provide honest, unvarnished assessments of the politics in their country. Sir Kim Darroch continues to have the Prime Minister’s full support," a May spokesman said in a statement.

Despite President Trump's tweet that "we will no longer deal with" Darroch, the State Department said Tuesday it will and has not been given any instructions not to.

"We will continue to deal with all accredited individuals until we get any further guidance from the White House or the president, which we will of course abide by the president's direction," said spokesperson Morgan Ortagus.

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Tuesday
Jul092019

Duchess Meghan faces backlash for Wimbledon security, empty seats

GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- A visit to Wimbledon to support her friend, Serena Williams, has turned into a controversy for the Duchess of Sussex.

Duchess Meghan is facing backlash for the tight security that appeared to surround her as she watched Williams play in the second round last Thursday at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

Meghan was accompanied at Wimbledon by two of her close friends from the U.S. -- Genevieve Hillis and Lindsay Roth. The trio sat in the members' section of Court 1.

Rows of empty seats surrounded Meghan and her friends, leaving some to speculate the duchess, or her security, requested the extra layer of privacy.

It is not clear whether the empty seats were a request from Buckingham Palace, a demand from Meghan's security detail or if there were enough empty seats already in the members' box to accommodate the arrangement.

A representative for the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club told ABC News they "did not know" whether seats in the members' enclosure were deliberately kept free around the Duchess of Sussex.

They did however explain that reports that members were blocked from entering the members seating while Meghan was there are completely untrue.

Meghan’s seating arrangement is drawing negative comparisons to her sister-in-law, Duchess Kate, who also attended Wimbledon last week but sat among fans on an outside court to watch a British player and visited Wimbledon’s practice courts and warm-up area. Kate is patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

Meghan's security detail also reportedly stopped fans who they thought were taking photos of the duchess, even though the match was televised and attended by thousands of people.

One attendee, Sally Jones, told the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph that as she took photos of Williams during the match, a Royal Protection Officer tapped her on the shoulder.

Jones claims the officer asked her, "Would you not take photographs of the Duchess? She’s here in a private capacity.”

Another Wimbledon guest was photographed being spoken to by one of Meghan's security guards, although it appeared he was taking a selfie and not a photo of Duchess Meghan.

"It’s not unusual for people accompanying members of the royal family at private or public engagements to ask members of the public not to take photographs," a royal source told ABC News. "This is to enable members of the royal family to properly engage with people and events."

The backlash over Meghan's Wimbledon appearance comes as she and Prince Harry are also facing criticism for their decision to keep details of their son Archie's July 6 christening private.

No coverage was allowed of guests entering the christening ceremony and Harry and Meghan also did not publicly reveal the names of Archie's godparents. Just two photos from the christening were shared via Harry and Meghan's Instagram account.

The couple's seeming quest for privacy is being criticized because of the role British taxpayers pay in financing parts of their lifestyle.

The renovations undertaken by Harry and Meghan to turn Frogmore Cottage in Windsor into their family home came at a price of 2.4 million pounds, or about $3 million, for British taxpayers, according to figures released last month by the Royal Household.

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Tuesday
Jul092019

Hong Kong leader says extradition bill is 'dead' but doesn't formally withdraw it

pawel.gaul/iStock(HONG KONG) -- Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said Tuesday that a highly contentious extradition bill that sparked weeks of mass protests is "dead," but she fell short of protesters' demands to fully withdraw it.

Lam tried to reassure the public that lawmakers wouldn't seek to bring the draft legislation back for a vote.

"There are still lingering doubts about the government's sincerity or worries whether the government will restart the process in the Legislative Council," Lam said at a press conference Tuesday. "So I reiterate here, there is no such plan. The bill is dead."

The proposed amendment would allow any country, including mainland China, to request the extradition of an individual to their home country from Hong Kong for trial. Many who oppose the bill fear China could use it to pursue political dissidents.

Protest leaders on Tuesday continued their calls for the bill to be formally withdrawn from the legislative agenda and for an independent investigation into clashes between police and demonstrators.

Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong said Lam's reassurance that the "bill is dead" is just "another ridiculous lie."

"The bill still exists in the 'legislative programme' until July next year," Wong wrote in a series of posts on Twitter. "The proper way for Mrs Lam to "kill" the bill is to invoke article 64 of the Rules and Procedures, to FORMALLY WITHDRAW the bill. However, she fully IGNORE this procedure in her speech."

Millions of protesters have taken to the streets of Hong Kong over the past month amid growing anger over the proposed bill as well as general dissatisfaction with local politicians. The demonstrations have been largely peaceful but turned violent at times.

Last week, protesters smashed through thick glass panels to break into the Legislative Council building and swarmed a chamber, where they spray painted slogans on the walls and took down portraits of city leaders.

On June 12, police officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse throngs of protesters blocking major streets. Dozens were injured.

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Monday
Jul082019

Trump says US 'will no longer deal with' UK ambassador who called him 'inept' in leaked cables 

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump in a tweet on Monday said that the United States "will no longer deal with" U.K. Ambassador to the U.S. Kim Darroch after his blunt criticism of the president and administration in diplomatic cables was leaked.

In the trove of leaked memos published in the Daily Mail, Darroch called Trump "inept" and "incompetent" and described the White House as wildly dysfunctional.

On Sunday, Trump said Darroch "has not served the U.K. well, I can tell you that."

"We are not big fans of that man," he added.

In tweets on Monday afternoon, Trump also slammed the U.K. and outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May's handling of Brexit and claimed that he offered May advice that was never taken. The leak raised questions about whether the cables were released in order to embarrass Darroch by Brexit supporters from within the British government. Trump has been in favor of Brexit, and while in London last month met with Brexit leader and friend Nigel Farage at the U.S. ambassador's residence.

"The good news for the wonderful United Kingdom is that they will soon have a new Prime Minister," Trump tweeted after slamming May.

"While I thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent State Visit last month, it was the Queen who I was most impressed with!"

May's spokesperson did not criticize the diplomat and said he continues "to have the Prime Minister's full support."

"We have made clear to the US how unfortunate this leak is. The selective extracts leaked do not reflect the closeness of, and the esteem in which we hold, the relationship. At the same time we have also underlined the importance of Ambassadors being able to provide honest, unvarnished assessments of the politics in their country," a spokesperson said in a statement. "Sir Kim Darroch continues to have the Prime Minister's full support. The UK has a special and enduring relationship with the US based on our long history and commitment to shared values and that will continue to be the case."

The White House did not respond for a request for comment.

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Monday
Jul082019

American scientist vanishes on Greek island of Crete

arkanto/iStock(LONDON) — An American scientist has disappeared on the Greek island of Crete.

U.S. citizen Suzanne Eaton, a 59-year-old research group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, was last seen on the afternoon of July 2 near the port city of Chania, where she was attending a conference. Greek authorities have launched a search for Eaton, according to the research institute.

"Our thoughts and wishes goes to the family and friends whose commitment, dedication and bravery underscore the extraordinary love and affection all of us feel towards Suzanne," the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics said in a statement Monday.

The Hellenic Police, the national police service of Greece, did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Eaton's running shoes are also missing, leading colleagues to suspect she may have gone for a run in the area.

"Understanding this is speculative, since Suzanne is a keen runner and her running shoes have not been found, a ‘more likely’ scenario is that she may have gone for a run," the institute said Friday in an earlier statement. "There are many observations that challenge such a theory including the heat of the day suggesting that a swim would have been more attractive. As well as being a leading scientist in her field, Suzanne is a strong athlete, runner and senior black belt in Tae Kwon Do. If anyone can find her way out of a difficult situation it is Suzanne."

Eaton, who is also a professor at Biotechnology Center of TU Dresden, is from Oakland, Calif. She is married with two children, according to her biography on the institute's website.

The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics released a statement on Monday from members of Eaton's family, who are appealing for the public's help in finding her.

“We are enormously grateful to the Greek police, fire service, coastguard and volunteers for the dedication they have brought to the search for Suzanne. We are determined to keep searching until we find her," Eaton's family said in the statement. "As in all cases when someone goes missing, the most important information can come from local residents and other holidaymakers or conference attendees who may have observed something on Tuesday afternoon that could assist the search. We are interested in anyone who has seen running shoes on or by the local beaches or road, and anyone who was at the beach outside the Orthodox Academy of Crete (OAC) on Tuesday afternoon.”

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Monday
Jul082019

Thai police charge South Korean actress with catching endangered species

The Chosunilbo JNS/Multi-Bits via Getty Images(BANGKOK) -- South Korean actress Lee Yeol-eum has been charged by police in Thailand for catching and killing an endangered marine species while starring in a reality television show.

Lee, 23, was filmed catching three giant clams from a Thai marine reserve in the southern province of Trang as part of a June 30 episode of a popular South Korean television show Law of the Jungle, which assigns celebrities different missions to survive in the wilderness.

The company that produces the reality show, Seoul Broadcasting System, said in an statement last week that it “deeply apologizes for filming the episode without fully understanding the local wildlife regulations regarding the hunting of Thai giant clams,” and that it will pay particular attention to those regulations during future productions.

Representatives for Lee were not immediately available for comment.

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Monday
Jul082019

South African headed for space dies in motorcycle accident

iStock(NEW YORK) -- A South African man who was expected to become the first black African in space was killed when his motorcycle was struck by a car on Saturday.

Mandla Maseko beat out a million people in 2013 to win a sub-orbital trip sponsored by the Axe Apollo Space Academy.

The 30-year-old Maseko, popularly known as “Spaceboy” and “Afronaut,” was one of 23 people who won a seat on the trip to space.

“It is with deep sadness that the Maseko family confirms that Mandla Maseko tragically passed away in a bike accident last night, July 6 2019,” his business manager and close friend Sthembile Shabangu said in a media release.

“Maseko will be sorely missed." Shabangu said. "May Mandla Maseko’s kind and beautiful soul rest in eternal peace.”

The space flight was scheduled to be an hour-long sub-orbital trip on the Lynx Mark II spaceship. However it had not yet happened at the time of Maseko's passing.

Maseko’s death was met with an outpouring of grief on social media.

Shabangu said that even though Maseko did not end up going into space, he would have wanted his hope to spread.

"There were still rocket tests happening before they could go up," Shabangu said. "He really thought that if he went up to space he could inspire young African children that they could do anything. He used to always say that the sky was no longer the limit."

Details for Maseko’s memorial service are expected to be announced later this week.

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Monday
Jul082019

Whirlwind year for Wild Boars soccer team after rescue from flooded Thai cave

JITTRAPON KAICOME/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A year after an international team of divers pulled off one of the most dramatic rescues that the world has ever seen, the beneficiaries of the life-saving mission -- 12 members of the Wild Boars youth soccer team and their coach -- have yet to escape the spotlight focused on them since they were safely extracted from a flooded cave in the jungles of Thailand.

The players and their coach have traveled the world as ambassadors of the global feel-good story, inked a TV miniseries deal, and even jetted to Los Angeles to make an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

"I got so many experiences after I got out of the cave," one of the boys, Pornchai Kamluang, told reporters last month. "I learned everything about the Thai people, especially our unity. It's indescribable. My life has changed a lot."

Monday marks the one-year anniversary when rescuers emerged from the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in northern Thailand with the first four boys. Two days later, on July 10, 2018, all 12 youngsters and their coach were out of the cave, setting off jubilation for people around the world who had closely followed the search for the team and the challenging quest to save them.

The ordeal began on June 23, 2018, when assistant coach Ekapol Chantawong led the players on a post-soccer practice expedition into the subterranean maze with little food or supplies. The adventure was supposed to last just a few hours, but as the team turned around to go home, they found that monsoon rains had suddenly hit and flooded their only path out of the labyrinth.

Word of the lost team quickly spread and rescuers from around the world, including the U.S. Air Force 353rd Special Operations unit in Okinawa, and dive teams from Great Britain, Australia, Japan, China and elsewhere, converged on Thailand's Chiang Rai province with the goal of finding the boys and their coach, and safely extracting them from the bowels of the cave.

On July 2, 2018, 10 days after the group went missing, two divers from the British Cave Rescue Council, John Volanthen and Richard Stanton, were stringing a safety rope through a flooded area of the cave when they popped up in a cavern and, to their surprise, saw all 12 boys and their coach huddled on a small beach in the darkness.

Since their rescue, the boys and their coach have become celebrities and traveled the world to express gratitude to all those who answered the call to save them.

Here are eight things the group has done since getting out of the cave:

July 18, 2018: The boys and their coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, 25, were released from a hospital where they had been quarantined since their rescue, and held a news conference to detail how they survived. They also thanked the rescuers for saving them, and expressed condolences to the family of Lt. Col. Saman Gunan, the retired Thai Navy SEAL diver who died during the rescue mission.

Aug. 8, 2018: Chanthawong and three of the soccer players -- Adul Samon, Mongkol Boonpiam and Pornchai Kamluang -- who had all been born stateless, were granted citizenship in Thailand during a special government ceremony in their home district of Mae Sai.

Oct. 6, 2018: The team flew to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where they participated in the opening ceremony of the Youth Olympic Games. Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, called the boys “brave” and said they “showed us all the importance of sports values.”

Oct. 14, 2018: The Wild Boars soccer team traveled to Los Angeles and made an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where DeGeneres presented them with special soccer jerseys and introduced them to one of their favorite soccer players, Zlatan Ibrahimovic of the Los Angeles Galaxy. “This team is more brave than me. And they show their collective teamwork. … This is probably the best team in the world,” Ibrahimovic told the players and their coach.

Oct. 30, 2018: The players and their coach appeared on the ITV news program This Morning in Great Britain and were reunited with three of the British divers who helped rescue them -- Jason Mallison, Joshua Bratchley and Connor Roe. Mallison recalled giving the team two alternatives while still in the cave: "We told them you've got two options here: it's dive out and this is how we're going to do it, or ... stay in here but it's very likely you're not going to survive."

May 1: Streaming giant Netflix announced it had reached a deal with the players and their coach to create a miniseries of their rescue to be directed by Jon M. Chu, the filmmaker behind the hit movie Crazy Rich Asians.

May 26: One of the boys, Adul Samon, was invited to attend commencement ceremonies at Middlebury College in Vermont, where he was presented with the college’s first-ever Global Citizen’s Award. Laurie Patton, president of the college, said Adul was honored for showing a leadership role by using the little English he knew to help interpret for his coach and teammates what rescuers were telling them during the cave ordeal. “Our intention is to recognize a person who, through their communication skills and compassion, are able to change the world with no expectation of being in the limelight," Patton said.

June 23: The team returned to the mouth of the Tham Luang Nang Non cave, where they honored Saman Gunan during a Buddhist ceremony. Gunan's widow, Valepon Gunan, told the boys she believes her husband "is still looking over all of them."

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Monday
Jul082019

American couple's jet ski recovered after going missing in Barbados

Barbados Coast Guard(NEW YORK) -- Authorities recovered a jet ski over the weekend bearing the same registration number as the one an American couple was riding before they went missing in Barbados last month.

French Navy officers found the missing jet ski hundreds of miles away in Guadeloupe on Saturday, nearly two weeks after Magdalena Devil and Oscar Suarez, of New Jersey, vanished at sea, authorities said.

There were no signs of the missing couple.

The pair disappeared on June 24 after renting after a jet ski at Holetown Beach on the western coast of Barbados, authorities said.

The jet ski operator became concerned about 30 minutes later and asked other operators to be on the lookout for them, according to the Royal Barbados Police Force. They notified police later, telling officers that the couple appeared to be lost at sea.

Authorities suspended an intensive search for the couple on June 30 after the U.S. withdrew its assisting aircraft, according to local news outlets.

Local authorities said the couple's families would be informed of the discovery soon.

Mia Mottley, the island's prime minister, said she met with the pair's families last week and offered to fly them to Barbados, her office said in a statement Sunday.

"Last Monday Prime Minister Mottley met with the families of the missing couple at Ilaro Court and expressed regret at the unfortunate events and invited them to return to this island anytime over the next year at Government’s expense, if it would assist them in bringing closure to the matter," the statement said. "Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Minister of Tourism Kerrie Symmonds have been informed of the discovery and local authorities will make immediate contact with the families to inform them of the development."

Investigators said Suarez and Devil checked into their shared room at Discovery Bay Hotel in St. James on June 22 and were scheduled to depart the following week, according to the hotel.

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