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Tuesday
Jul182017

Navy charges sailor who hid on ship for a week with abandoning watch, dereliction of duty

US Navy(WASHINGTON) -- The missing sailor from the USS Shiloh who triggered a massive man overboard search in the Philippine Sea, but was later found alive on board the ship, has been charged with abandoning watch and dereliction of duty, a U.S. Navy spokesman said Tuesday.

Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) Petty Officer 3rd Class Peter Mims admitted that his disappearance on board the Shiloh was intentional and that he took steps to avoid detection, Lt. Paul Newell, spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet told ABC News.

Mims, 23, disappeared on June 8 while the Shiloh was operating 180 miles east of Okinawa, Japan. The U.S. Navy, Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force and Japanese Coast Guard then spent over 50 hours and covered roughly 5,500 square miles looking for the sailor.

Missing USS Shiloh sailor thought to be lost at sea found alive on board ship

The search was suspended at midnight on June 11 and the Navy released the sailor's name, presumably after he was determined to have been lost at sea. Four days later, Mims was found in the ship's engineering spaces alive.

He attended an "Admiral's mast," a non-judicial punishment within the Navy, "due to the seriousness this had on the strike group and our Japanese allies," Newell said.

The charges violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice's Article 86, abandoning watch, and Article 92, dereliction in the performance of duties.

Newell said the Navy is looking into pursuing additional administrative actions against Mims. He could not speculate on whether other sailors on board the Shiloh were implicated in his disappearance.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Jul182017

Princess Charlotte steps out in Prince Harry's red shoes from 1986

Karwai Tang/WireImage(LONDON) -- Princess Kate may be the queen of recycling her old outfits, but she's also paying homage to royal tradition by dressing her children in hand-me-downs from their father, Prince William, and now their uncle, Prince Harry.

On Monday, Princess Charlotte was color-coordinated with her mother in a red and white floral dress, the colors of Poland's national flag, in a diplomatic nod to their hosts. The shiny, red buckled shoes that Charlotte was wearing are the same pair worn by Prince Harry at the same age in 1986 more than 30 years ago.

Looking through old albums is nothing new for Princess Kate. On their royal tour in Canada, Charlotte was kept warm while attending a children's party at the Government House by wearing the same sweater that George first wore to meet his baby sister at the hospital.

Prince George’s red Rachel Riley shorts set he wore to Princess Charlotte's christening in Sandringham looks nearly identical to a similar outfit Prince William wore when he was taken to see his younger brother, Prince Harry, in the hospital for the first time in 1984.

George also wore the same outfit as his father for his first Buckingham Palace balcony appearance during Trooping the Colour, celebrating the birthday of George's great-grandmother, the queen. In a throwback photo, Prince Charles can be seen holding William in the same romper.

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Tuesday
Jul182017

A look at the Russian compounds nestled in New York suburb and small Maryland town 

Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In a property on Long Island's Gold Coast sits one of several posh homes hidden from eyes of passers-by.

Hundreds of miles away, in Centreville, Maryland, is a 45-acre bucolic retreat, complete with a 33-room house that has a vault for fur and 3,000-bottle wine cellar.

Aside from offering what appeared to be pinnacle of luxury on some of the most desired pieces of land, the estates have another thing in common -- they're complexes owned and used by Russian governmental officials.

On Dec. 29, the White House under the Obama administration announced that both would be shuttered in retaliation for a series of cyberattacks that targeted U.S. political institutions during the election.

Now, the Trump administration faces intense pressure from both Russia and the U.S. Congress over the fate of the two compounds, with Russia threatening retaliation if the “dachas” aren’t returned and Congress urging the administration not to return them. A resolution was not made at a meeting between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon at a meeting Monday in Washington, D.C., where the compounds were a top issue.

"It would be an exaggeration to say that we are on the verge of finding a solution and resolving this situation," Ryabkov told Russian news agency TASS on Tuesday.

The compounds still belong to Russia, but the Trump administration has considered returning them, despite strong opposition from Congress.

Here's a look at the history of each of the dachas.

Pioneer Point in Centreville, Maryland

The Russian-owned compound in Maryland is a 45-acre retreat on Pioneer Point, a peninsula where the Corsica and Chester rivers merge. The luxury retreat was shut down due to alleged Russian espionage, The Washington Post reported.

As of Dec. 30, Google Maps labeled the "Russian Embassy's Country Retreat" as "permanently closed." Google classified the property as an assisted living facility.

Pioneer Point was the estate of former DuPont and General Motors executive John J. Raskob, according to the Hagley Museum and Library. Raskob is best known for building the Empire State Building.

In 1972, the Soviet government paid $1.2 million -- in cash -- for two Raskob mansions to be used as a vacation spot for diplomats, The New York Times reported. At the time, a local newspaper reported "fears of nuclear submarines surfacing in the Chester River to pick up American Secrets and defectors," according to the Washington Post. But, the abundance of dinner parties, caviar and vodka eventually won the locals over.

The property included 33 rooms, 13 fireplaces, a refrigerated storage vault for fur and a 3,000-bottle wine cellar. Also featured on the property were about a mile of sandy beach, a swimming pool, two tennis courts, soccer fields and a goldfish pond, according to the Times.

The Russian occupants later added to the estate by making a deal with the U.S. State Department, which received two properties in Moscow in return, according to the Washington Post.

Property in Upper Brookville, New York

A Russian compound in Upper Brookville, New York, was also shut down, the town’s mayor confirmed to ABC News in December.

Obama expelled 35 Russian nationals and sanctioned five Russian entities and four individuals for the "acting in a manner inconsistent with their diplomatic status," the White House said. The president said the actions "follow repeated private and public warnings" that have been issued to the Russian government, adding that they are a "necessary and appropriate" response to "efforts to harm U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behavior."

Russia had planned to retaliate but Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected a recommendation from his foreign minister to expel 35 U.S. diplomats.

"We will certainly response adequately … and it will be determined in line with decisions adopted by the Russian President," Kremlin spokesman Dimitry Peskov told reporters in December.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story reported that the compound in Glen Cove was being shuttered. New information indicates it is a compound in Upper Brookville instead.

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Tuesday
Jul182017

Trump admin tries to thread its own needle on Iran

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Trump administration has once again kept the Iran deal alive while taking a hard line on the country with a new round of sanctions.

The decision -- the third time the administration has faced a deadline and abided by the accord -- seems to be a new strategy from the White House, apparently resigning itself to sticking with the agreement, but looking for ways to modify it within the current framework or otherwise crack down on Iran.

"This administration will continue to aggressively target Iran's malign activity, including their ongoing state support of terrorism, ballistic missile program, and human rights abuses," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

Here's what you need to know about what they are doing and what could be next.

What the Trump administration said Monday

The Trump administration certified on Monday night that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal, but senior administration officials briefing reporters tried to couch that with a stern warning to the country.

Even as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's signed letters of certification were being sent to Congress, the White House said Iran is "unquestionably in default of the spirit of the JCPOA," or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name of the deal negotiated by former Secretary of State John Kerry under the Obama administration.

Every 90 days, the executive branch is obligated by law to certify to Congress that Iran is complying with the agreement after the International Atomic Energy Agency compiles a report on the matter. This is the second time President Donald Trump faced this deadline, and both times -- despite his condemnation of the deal on the campaign trail -- he has signed off on certification with a loud censure of Iran on other issues.

The senior administration officials also said the U.S. will begin tougher enforcement of the deal and seek to work with partners to "employ a strategy" that deals with Iran's "misbehavior."

What the Trump administration did Tuesday

It wasn't all talk, either.

The administration announced a rash of new sanctions against citizens and entities Tuesday for supporting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the ballistic missile program.

Seven individuals -- five Iranians, one Chinese, and one Turk -- and 11 entities -- six Iranian, four Chinese, and one Turk -- were slapped with sanctions, freezing their assets, severing their ties to the U.S. financial system and preventing Americans from doing business with them. Their work includes helping Iran develop and procure military equipment like drones and fast-attack boats.

The Justice Department also announced indictments for two Iranians employed by one of the sanctioned companies -- accused of hacking a Vermont-based software firm, stealing its products and reselling them.

What the Trump administration may do next

Despite the strong steps taken against Iran, Trump has reportedly wanted to do more, hesitating to certify Iran's compliance the two times the administration faced the issue.

In May, when Tillerson announced that the U.S. would sign a round of sanctions waivers to keep the deal in place, he said the administration would begin a 90-day review of its Iran policy. That deadline is Tuesday, however, and the review is ongoing, it seems.

As time goes by, it becomes increasingly difficult to break out of the agreement, with European allies who helped broker the deal loath to tear it up.

But after bashing the agreement on the campaign trail, Trump still faces a wide swath of his party who want him to do just that. John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush who has met with and advised Trump, called Monday's announcement "the administration’s second unforced error regarding the JCPOA" in an editorial, adding that, "Withdrawing from the JCPOA as soon as possible should be the highest priority."

It's unclear whether or not he would do that over the advice of advisers and allies, but the administration's next move is also dependent on what the Iranians do next.

Iran has accused the U.S. of violating the "spirit" of the agreement, according to IRNA, the state-run news agency, and dismissed the new sanctions as "worthless."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Jul182017

North Korea 'clearly' has missiles that can reach US, general says

traffic_analyzer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The second-highest ranking military officer in the U.S. told Congress on Tuesday that while North Korea "clearly" has missiles with the capability to reach the United States, it does not have the capacity to strike accurately or successfully.

On July 4, North Korea successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which traveled into a high-altitude trajectory of 1,730 miles and flew horizontally about 575 miles into the Sea of Japan.

"I ... am not sanguine that the test on the Fourth of July demonstrates that they have the capacity to strike the United States with any degree of accuracy or reasonable confidence of success," Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"On range, they clearly have the capability," he added.

Despite North Korea's success on July 4, experts assess that the regime does not presently have the re-entry technology needed for a nuclear warhead to reach its target. It's also believed that North Korea lacks the ability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead capable of being mounted on top of an ICBM.

But the test did demonstrate that this new missile -- if fired at the proper trajectory -- was capable of reaching Alaska.

"Testing an ICBM represents a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region, and the world," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement following the test earlier this month.

As with some previous missile tests, the ICBM was fired via a mobile-launcher, making it harder for U.S. intelligence to track the movement of North Korea's weapons, something Selva said concerned him.

"I'm reasonably confident in the ability of our intelligence community to monitor the testing but not the deployment of these missile systems," he said. "Kim Jong-un and his forces are very good at camouflage, concealment and deception."

Despite Tillerson's assertion that the ICBM test represented an "escalation of the threat" to the U.S., the Trump administration has insisted it will use diplomacy first in dealing with this latest provocation.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Jul182017

Prince William, Duchess Kate pay visit to concentration camp in Poland

Samir Hussein/WireImage(LONDON) -- Prince William and Duchess Kate paid a visit to the Stutthof concentration camp near Gdansk, Poland, Tuesday amid heavy security.

William and Kate, both 35, met with five Holocaust survivors at Stutthof, one of the first concentration camps installed outside of Germany, and one of the last to be liberated by the Allies in 1945. More than 110,000 people from 28 countries were imprisoned at Stutthof during World War II and 65,000, including 28,000 Jewish people, died in the gas ovens and by lethal injection.

William and Kate plan to visit Gdansk's central market square following their visit to Stutthof. The royal couple will sample some of the local specialties, including pierogi and a Gdansk liqueur, and see local amber craftsmen, musicians and artists at work at the street party.

William and Kate will later attend a reception at the Gdansk Shakespeare Theater, of which William's father, Prince Charles, is a patron.

Later Tuesday, William and Kate will see the shipyards of Gdansk, the birthplace of Solidarity, which led to the downfall of Communism in Poland. The couple's visit there will include a meeting with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former Polish president Lech Walesa.

Kate, dressed in a floral two-piece Erdem dress, caught the attention of royal observers Monday with her reply to being given a stuffed animal designed for newborns at a tech start-up event in Warsaw.

Upon receiving the gift, Kate turned to William and said while laughing, "We will just have to have more babies."

Speculation has been rampant about if and when William and Kate will add to their family. Their two children, Princess Charlotte, 2, and Prince George, who turns 4 this month, are joining them on their five-day tour of Poland and Germany.

George and Charlotte, who did not join William and Kate on Tuesday, were spotted Monday departing the plane with their parents. Charlotte, on her second royal tour, waved and extended her hand to greet the gathered dignitaries while George, on his third royal tour, appeared shyer and had to be coaxed out of the plane clutching William's hand.

The family will depart Poland for Berlin, Germany, on Wednesday.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Jul182017

POLL: Distrust in Trump deepens North Korea concerns

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Public concern about North Korea is widespread -- alongside skepticism of President Donald Trump’s ability to handle the risks.

Eighty-one percent of Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll see North Korea as a threat to the United States, including 66 percent who see it as a “serious” threat, up 12 points from 2005. Nearly three-quarters are concerned about the possibility of a full-scale war, with half of them “very” concerned.

As part of those worries, just 36 percent express trust in Trump’s ability to handle the situation; 63 percent distrust him, with a large portion, 40 percent, trusting him “not at all.” Among those who distrust Trump to handle the situation, worry about a full-scale war soars to 83 percent.

Distrust in Trump on the issue is highly partisan, ranging from 87 percent among Democrats to 19 percent of Republicans in this survey, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates. Tipping the balance, it’s 66 percent among independents. And Democrats are most apt to fear a full-scale war -- 86 percent, vs. 68 percent of Republicans and independents alike.

Generational differences emerge: Among adults age 40 and older, 87 percent see North Korea as a threat to the United States, and 77 percent see it as a serious threat. Comparable numbers are lower by 17 and 28 points, respectively, among younger adults, who may be less in touch with the nuclear threat of years past. Younger adults also are less apt to trust Trump to deal with the situation -- just 29 percent do, vs. 41 percent of those age 40-plus.

There also are large gender gaps on the issue. Women are much less likely than men to trust Trump to handle the situation, 29 to 44 percent. Conversely, women are much more likely to see North Korea as a serious threat, 73 to 59 percent; to be concerned about the risk of full-scale war, 83 vs. 64 percent; and to be very concerned about it, 51 vs. 27 percent. (Note, women typically are more willing than men to express concern in surveys.)

Methodology

This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone July 10-13, 2017, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,001 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 35-23-35 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, New York, with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt Associates of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Tuesday
Jul182017

Iran legally complying on nuclear deal but defaulting on 'spirit' of agreement: White House

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. has certified with Congress that Iran is legally in compliance on the nuclear deal, but senior Trump administration officials said both Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and President Donald Trump will couch that certification with an accusation that Iran is “unquestionably in default of the spirit of the [agreement].”

The officials pointed to “a range of malign activities” including Iran’s ballistic missile development, support of militant groups in the region and Syria's Assad regime, its hostility to Israel and its continued detention of foreigners including U.S. citizens.

The officials said that moving forward the administration will “employ a strategy” that seeks to address Iran’s aggressive behavior in the region.

They did not specifically outline any measures they would press for but said they expect to implement new sanctions in the near future targeting Iran’s ballistic missile program and other “misbehavior” in the region.

In addition, the officials said they would seek to strengthen their relationships with partners in the region to “identify areas of ambiguity” that Iran has sought to take advantage of to potentially skirt parts of the deal.

The Trump administration's announcement tonight was part of an obligation the U.S. has under the deal to certify every 90 days that Iran is complying with the agreement. The last time the administration announced its certification of Iran's compliance, Secretary Tillerson blasted the country for its behavior in the region and said the Trump administration will address the agreement's failures to contain Iran.

Earlier Monday evening, the Foreign Minister of Iran, Mohammed Javad Zarif, took questions while at the Council on Foreign Relations and defended his country's compliance with the deal.

"I think our compliance is rather straightforward because it’s not for guessing whether we have complied or not," Zarif said. "That is very clear, in black and white in the reports of the [International Atomic Energy Agency] which is hardly a sympathizer of Iran. That’s so you don’t need to ask me whether we’ve complied."

Zarif continued that Iran believes that for the U.S., including under the Obama administration, it is "more important to maintain the sanctions that remain rather than remove the sanctions."

He also argued that U.S. sanctions do not work, saying, "Let me tell you something, the United States should reconsider its approach to sanctions. Sanctions have never been an asset for the United States ... When the U.S. government started to impose nuclear sanctions on Iran we only had 200 centrifuges. When they started negotiating with us in order to remove those sanctions, we had 20,000 centrifuges. So if you want to see the result of sanctions – just 19,800 centrifuges is the net result of sanctions. So sanctions do not produce outcome."

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Tuesday
Jul182017

Couple makes history by being first to marry in British Antarctic Territory

British Antarctic Survey(NEW YORK) -- A couple made history last weekend by being the first people to officially get married in the British Antarctic Territory.

The two polar guides, Tom Sylvester and Julie Baum, got married at the Rothera Research Station on Adelaide Island, located to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula, according to BBC News.

The couple shared their special day with 20 of their colleagues who are all currently working as a team and living in freezing temperatures with limited daylight, according to a British Antarctic Survey press release.

“Over the last 10 years, Tom and I have been working and traveling around the world. Getting married in Antarctica feels like it was meant to be. There is no better place really, I love snowy mountains and spending time in amazing places with awesome people," Baum said in the press release.

The wedding's location wasn't the only thing that set it apart from traditional ceremonies -- both the bride's dress and chapel decorations were unique in their own right.

Baum created her wedding dress with the help of some of her friends at the research station.

The handmade dress included orange fabric from a pyramid tent, which is often used on Arctic expeditions and represented "something old" for her on her wedding day.

Sylvester also created the couple's brass wedding rings using a lathe in the station's metal workshop, according to the British Antarctic Survey.

Prior to tying the knot, the couple had been together for 11 years and were engaged for three years.

Sylvester and Baum met for the first time at an outdoor instructor apprenticeship course at the Plas Y Brenin Outdoor Centre in North Wales, according to the British Antarctic Survey.

They both had similar career paths, which included working as expedition leaders around the world and were both selected to join the British Antarctic Territory research team in 2016, according to the British Antarctic Survey.

Sylvester and Baum have not responded to ABC News' request for comment.

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Monday
Jul172017

Princess Kate jokes about having 'more babies' after receiving newborn gift

Pool/Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage(WARSAW) -- Princess Kate spoke out about having more children when given a gift by a well-wisher during the royal family's first day in Poland.

Kate, 35, was given a stuffed animal designed for newborns at a tech start up event in Warsaw. The stuffed bear mimics the sound a baby hears in the womb. Upon receiving the gift, the mother-of-two turned to Prince William and said while laughing: "We will just have to have more babies."

Prince William, Princess Kate arrive with Prince George and Princess Charlotte in Poland

Speculation has been rampant about if and when William and Kate will add to their family. Their two children, Princess Charlotte, 2, and Prince George, who turns 4 this month, are joining them on their five-day tour of Poland and Germany.

Kate is the oldest of three children and remains extraordinarily close to her sister, Pippa Middleton, and brother, James Middleton, leaving royal watchers anxiously guessing whether she and William will also want a third child.

William is also close to his only brother, Prince Harry, 32, who lives near the family at Kensington Palace.

At the event with tech entrepreneurs, William and Kate also donned virtual reality goggles, leaving Kate giggling at her husband.

When fans at the event asked the Duke of Cambridge for a selfie, he replied, "I'm allergic to selfies but let's take a photograph." The future King also teased his wife, saying, "you don't look as clever as the other three."

William, Kate and their children arrived Monday in Warsaw dressed in red and white, the colors of Poland's national flag. After greeting dignitaries at the airport with George and Charlotte, William and Kate later received a formal welcome to Poland by President Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda at the presidential palace.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also visited the Warsaw Rising Museum and met with members of the Polish Army and Resistance during World War II.

This evening, Kate paid homage to her hosts by wearing a stunning cream silk dress by Polish designer Gosia Baczynska at a reception held to celebrate the Queen's birthday at Orangery, Lazienki Park, Warsaw.

William paid tribute to the resilience of the Polish nation at the event, saying, "We in the United Kingdom value our links with Poland enormously. We admire Poland as a remarkable example of courage, fortitude and resilience. You have survived centuries of assaults on your land, including partitions that were designed to wipe you off the map of Europe."

William and Kate are also scheduled to visit Poland's historical sites during their visit, including the Stutthof Concentration Camp, where more than 65,000 people perished during World War II, and the shipyards in Gdansk, the birthplace of Poland's Solidarity movement.

"In the 20th century, Poland displayed incredible bravery in resisting brutal Nazi occupation, not least the heroic uprising in Warsaw's Jewish ghetto in 1943, and the Warsaw Rising of 1944," Prince William said ahead of Tuesday's visit to Stutthof, which was one of the first concentration camps installed outside of Germany, and one of the last to be liberated by the Allies in 1945.

In Germany, William and Kate are planning to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, visit Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, enjoy a traditional beer garden in Heidelberg, compete in a rowing race and pay a somber visit to Berlin's Holocaust Memorial.

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