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Russia Says Sanctions Will Also Affect US

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

iStock/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) — The U.S. and its European allies have slapped yet another round of sanctions on Russia — punishment, they say, for Russia’s continued meddling in Ukraine.

But Russia says the sanctions will also hurt the U.S. and do a little more than harm relations between the two countries.

Russian officials, meanwhile, are defiant, declaring that Russia will make up the difference on its own. Russia’s Central Bank said it would help financial institutions that were hit by sanctions, including the giant VTB.

But privately, economists and businesses reportedly worry these latest sanctions will push the fragile Russian economy towards recession, even as the latest independent poll finds nearly two thirds of Russians think sanctions won’t affect them.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Double Your Dollars

Michelle Obama Rallies for Women’s Rights in Africa

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon(WASHINGTON) — First lady Michelle Obama rallied for equality for women and girls in Africa at a summit of the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders on Wednesday.

The first lady emphasized the importance of leadership.

“Leadership is about empowering all of our people, men, women, boys and girls to fulfill every last bit of their god-given potential,” she said.

“We all know that girls who are educated earn higher wages. They are more likely to stand up to discrimination and abuse. They have healthier children who are more likely to attend school themselves,” Obama added.

The three-day flagship program comes ahead of the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit being held in Washington next week.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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ABC News Goes Inside Gaza with an Israeli Armored Unit

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

File photo. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesReporter’s Notebook by ABC News’ Terry Moran

(GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip) — “The Cruel Lady” rolled along.

That’s the nickname the Israeli soldiers use to describe their armored personnel carrier, or APC — it’s basically an oven on wheels. ABC News traveled into Gaza on an APC with troops from the Israeli Defense Forces’ 188 Armored Brigade today, witnessing a rarely-seen side of Israel’s conflict with Hamas, now in its third week.

The soldiers in “The Cruel Lady” were accompanied by two tanks, all under the command of Col. Tomer Ifrah.

Ifrah says he’s proud of the work he and his troops are doing.

The mounting civilian casualties in Gaza, especially the children, affect him, he said.

“I see my own kids,” he said. “A child is a child is a child. We do everything we can to avoid hurting innocents. It is the first thing we brief every day. But sometimes, it happens.”

The squad was commanded by Barak Lanes, 29, a veteran of Operation Cast Lead. Lanes said he was scared to go into Gaza today. He has a 1-year-old boy at home, and Lanes hopes his son never has to enter the army.

The unit traveled from Kissufim Crossing, where incoming mortar fire sent us scrambling for shelter. The unit’s destination today was a newly-discovered tunnel on the outskirts of Gaza City.

On the way, we stopped. One of the tanks had spotted what they feared was a Hamas militant team with an anti-tank missile. The tank took cover. Ifrah assessed the situation. A school housing refuges was located nearby — too close to engage the threat, Ifrah decided — so another route was taken.

The tunnel the soldiers visited was uncovered the day before when an armored vehicle sank into the sandy ground under what were once greenhouses, but now were sandy ruins. The IDF dug it out this morning.

The tunnel stretched into darkness, sided in concrete and narrow.

Two Israeli soldiers stood with their guns pointed down the shaft, scanning for potential threats. Hamas militants have been using the tunnels for sneak attacks, a main focus for the Israeli forces.

The soldiers decided against entering the tunnel — booby-traps are always a possibility. The Israelis believe there may be other entrances, too.

Entrances to the tunnel had already been found at a nearby house. But at the moment, that location was too difficult to reach.

As the soldiers stood at the tunnel’s entrance, sniper fire peppered down. The Israelis countered with suppressing fire and a smokescreen. We hustled back to our vehicles, and back to Israel.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Hometown Headlines w/ Brad Barrett

How Zac Efron Knew He Needed to Go to Rehab

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 by

Posted in Entertainment News

ABC/Rick Rowell(LOS ANGELES) — Last year Zac Efron quietly checked into rehab, though he didn’t specify why. Now he’s opening up a bit about the experience.

“The challenging part was never the work. That was never it,” he told Bear Grylls in a clip for the show, Running Wild with Bear Grylls. “It was sort of the in-between work.”

Efron, 26, who said in April that he now attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, explained that as an actor, he felt pressure everywhere he went because of the constant glare of the press. Calling it a “confusing” situation, he said he needed a “social lubricant” to be social and eventually, to go anywhere at all.

“It was getting to the point where I was caring less about the work and waiting more for the weekend,” he said. “I couldn’t wait to go out and sort of let loose and have fun, but then when Monday and Tuesday were difficult to get through, then I was like, ‘This is bad.’”

Now sober, Efron said that he doesn’t ever want to rely on an artificial substance to feel comfortable again. Now, he meditates as often as possible in an attempt to calm his mind.

“You don’t realize when you’re out here, when we’re in it, but I haven’t thought about one thing today apart from what [we're] doing,” he noted of being outdoors with Grylls. “I think that’s one of the most beautiful things about nature.”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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How Zac Efron Knew He Needed to Go to Rehab

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 by

Posted in Entertainment News

ABC/Rick Rowell(LOS ANGELES) — Last year Zac Efron quietly checked into rehab, though he didn’t specify why. Now he’s opening up a bit about the experience.

“The challenging part was never the work. That was never it,” he told Bear Grylls in a clip for the show, Running Wild with Bear Grylls. “It was sort of the in-between work.”

Efron, 26, who said in April that he now attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, explained that as an actor, he felt pressure everywhere he went because of the constant glare of the press. Calling it a “confusing” situation, he said he needed a “social lubricant” to be social and eventually, to go anywhere at all.

“It was getting to the point where I was caring less about the work and waiting more for the weekend,” he said. “I couldn’t wait to go out and sort of let loose and have fun, but then when Monday and Tuesday were difficult to get through, then I was like, ‘This is bad.’”

Now sober, Efron said that he doesn’t ever want to rely on an artificial substance to feel comfortable again. Now, he meditates as often as possible in an attempt to calm his mind.

“You don’t realize when you’re out here, when we’re in it, but I haven’t thought about one thing today apart from what [we're] doing,” he noted of being outdoors with Grylls. “I think that’s one of the most beautiful things about nature.”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Loyal Listeners Club

Ax Flies into Windshield, Startles Motorists

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Massachusetts State Police/Facebook(TOPSFIELD, Mass.) — Motorists driving down a Massachusetts highway on Wednesday were rattled when an ax came flying through the windshield.

The ax, which had not been properly secured by the dump truck in front of the vehicle, went halfway through the window, according the Massachusetts State Police. The ax blade rested on the dashboard on the passenger side of the car while much of the handle stuck out of the windshield.

The frightening incident occurred shortly before 11 a.m. Wednesday as the car traveled on Route 95 in Topsfield, Massachusetts. The passenger in the car, who was not identified, “was shaken up,” but not injured, a police statement said.

Trooper Joseph Risteen of the Newbury Barracks responded to the accident and the truck driver, who was identified only as being from Peabody, Massachusetts, was fined $200 for failure to secure cargo.

Officers with the Massachusetts State Police hope that the incident serves as a tale of caution to drivers to properly secure items they are carrying, like tools, bicycles, canoes and furniture.

It was also a reminder, police said, to follow the speed limit. The driver in the incident had been going a legal 65 mph, and officers noted that if the car had been traveling above the limit, it would have increased the ax’s impact and been a possibly fatal situation.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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Investigator to Interview Bowe Bergdahl on 2009 Disappearance Next Week

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

File photo. Credit: US Army(SAN ANTONIO) — Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s attorney tells ABC News that he expects his client will be interviewed next week by Maj. General Kenneth Dahl, the two star general investigating his 2009 disappearance.
 
Military attorney Eugene Fidell says it’s his “assumption” that Bergdahl will be interviewed by Dahl next week in San Antonio, where the former Taliban captive is currently assigned at the U.S. Army North headquarters.

Fidell will be on hand for the meeting when it takes place, though he did not provide a specific date for the interview. It’s also unclear whether the Dahl’s questioning will last more than one day.
 
Fidell, who teaches military law at Yale, adds that Bergdahl has already participated in a “very introductory” meeting with Maj. Gen. Dahl and that “nothing substantive” was discussed. An Army official says that meeting took place in San Antonio the week of July 14.
 
Dahl’s full investigation is supposed to last 60 days, which means he’s slated to present a report by Aug.15. He could, however, request an extension for his investigation.  Fidell referred questions to the Army when asked if an extension was likely.
 
As for what happens after the interview next week Fidell says the “ball will be in the Army’s court as Maj. Gen. Dahl prepares his report and it’s reviewed by the commands he’ll present it to.”

Dahl’s report is meant to uncover the facts surrounding the circumstances of Bergdahl’s disappearance from an Afghan outpost and his capture by the Taliban in 2009 that will be presented to the director of the Army staff.  If the report reveals findings that could require disciplinary action, it will be up to Bergdahl’s current command to follow through with those actions.
 
Fidell hopes the matter “will be resolved sooner rather than later so Sgt. Bergdahl can go back to his life.”
 
The attorney would not answer whether Bergdahl has spoken or met with his parents.          


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Song of The Day

Satanists Use Hobby Lobby Decision to Play Devil’s Advocate

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A group of Satanists are using the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision to promote their own political initiatives — which are the polar opposite of the Christian craft store giant.

The Supreme Court ruling allows Hobby Lobby to opt out of providing contraceptives to their employees on the basis of their religious beliefs. Now, The Satanic Temple plans to cite the verdict as justification for the protection of their own beliefs.

The Satanic Temple, a religious group based in New York but with followers across the country, is using the ruling to fight informed consent laws which mandate that women considering abortions must be given state-approved literature about the procedure.

Where they exist, informed consent laws differ by state, with some requiring women to watch videos or read information of varying amounts of time before scheduling their procedures.

“We should only have to review medical or scientific information based solely on fact and not politicized,” said Jex Blackmore, the head of the Detroit chapter of The Satanic Temple. “Some of that state-drafted information is medical in nature [but] it’s just that it’s written in a very biased format.”

The group announced the initiative last week and have provided a form letter intended to enable women to opt-out of receiving the pamphlets distributed under the informed consent laws. They contend that the informed consent pamphlets run counter to their religious beliefs.

Women are able to print out the opt-out form, fill it out and hand it to their doctor. If the doctor still gives them the state-mandated forms in spite of the letter, The Satanic Temple says it will file a lawsuit on their behalf.

Blackmore said they have not filed any such suits since the initiative was launched.

“It’s an opening statement, as it were,” W. James MacNaughton, The Satanic Temple’s attorney, told ABC. “It’s a statement from the patient to the physician and to the world at large that ‘here’s my position, here’s what i believe’. actually going to court and picking the test case actually depends on the facts. At this stage, we don’t know who that will be.”

The Satanic Temple remains a mystery to many but their spokesman Lucien Greaves told ABC News that they have gained 10,000 members in the past year and a half. They gained notoriety earlier this year when they successfully pushed for a 7-foot Satanic statue to be approved to stand alongside a 10 Commandments monument at the Oklahoma State Capital.

Cardozo School of Law professor Marci Hamilton, who has written extensively about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), said that The Satanic Temple’s plan to use the Hobby Lobby ruling as the basis for their initiative could be effective if and when they bring a lawsuit to the courts.

“This was inevitable,” Hamilton told ABC News. “This is following exactly on that line of thinking that a regulation that impedes the ability of the believer to practice that religion is going to be challenged.”

She said that an important distinction to keep in mind is that both the Hobby Lobby decision and The Satanic Temple’s initiative both rely on RFRA, which helps individuals fight laws that counter their religious beliefs, as opposed to the First Amendment of the Constitution.

RFRA was passed in 1993 and adds more protections than the Constitution lays out for religious freedom.

A number of legal experts, including Hamilton, believe RFRA is unconstitutional. In her view, Hamilton believes RFRA caused “this wave of extreme religious liberty that is untethered from the constitution.”

“For those of us who have been working on RFRA issues for two decades…inevitably it was going to be groups that raised claims that made either ordinary Americans or the far right find uncomfortable,” Hamilton said.

When it comes to fighting any lawsuits that The Satanic Temple brings forward regarding informed consent laws, it appears that the devil is truly in the details.

“It really puts the conservative Christians and the anti-contraceptive Catholics in a bind: They’re going to have to argue that a religious group should lose a RFRA claim that is on par with the Hobby Lobby claim,” Hamilton said.

“The courts cant pick and choose between beliefs,” she added.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Home Instead Senior Care

Drew Barrymore’s Half-Sister Jessica Found Dead

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 by

Posted in Entertainment News

Drew Barrymore pictured. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)(SAN DIEGO) — Drew Barrymore’s half-sister has died.

Jessica Barrymore, who, like the actress, was the daughter of actor John Barrymore, would have turned 48 on Thursday.

“Although I only met her briefly, I wish her and her loved ones as much peace as possible,” Drew Barrymore told ABC News. “I’m so incredibly sorry for their loss.”

Drew Barrymore is the daughter of John Barrymore and his third wife, Jaid Barrymore.  Jessica was born to Barrymore and actress Nina Wayne.

According to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, Barrymore was found Tuesday in her car on the 900 block of Hoover Avenue in  National City, CA.  The fire department shortly thereafter confirmed she was dead.

A cause of death has not yet been determined.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Nugget of Knowldege

Richard Belzer’s Brother Dead of Apparent Suicide

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 by

Posted in Entertainment News

Richard Belzer pictured. (Art Streiber/NBC)(NEW YORK) — Leonard Belzer, the brother of comic and longtime Law & Order: SVU actor Richard Belzer, died of an apparent suicide Wednesday morning in New York City.

Belzer, 73, the older brother of 69-year-old Richard, jumped to his death from his apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side at around 6:45 a.m. ET, though there are reports he may have leaped from the roof. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

ABC News has learned that Belzer had been dealing with health problems, and reportedly left notes behind.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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