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Tensions Begin to Ease as National Guard Ordered to Leave Ferguson

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(FERGUSON, Mo.) — The streets of Ferguson were mostly peaceful Wednesday night, as the tensions are beginning to let up in the St. Louis suburb where unrest has ruled since the police shooting death of an unarmed black teen earlier this month.

Protesters gathered Thursday night with signs near the spot where Michael Brown, 18, was shot Aug. 9.

Authorities arrested seven people overnight, including five for failing to disperse, Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said at an early-morning news conference.

The peaceful night comes as Gov. Jay Nixon ordered the Missouri National Guard, which arrived Monday, to leave the town.

With Brown’s funeral scheduled for Monday, Johnson would not speculate on a possible uptick of violence.

A decision on whether the officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, would be indicted will not come quickly, St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch said Wednesday. McCullough predicted that it could take until the middle of October for the grand jury to decide whether to charge Wilson.

Grand juries typically meet one day a week.

Federal authorities are investigating independently.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Nugget of Knowldege

Steven Sotloff’s Family Waits While Son Is Held by ISIS

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Obtained by ABC News(MIAMI) — As the world waits to see what the terrorist group ISIS will do to American journalist Steven Sotloff, held under threat of death unless the U.S. stops intervening in Iraq, Sotloff’s family awaits his fate from their Florida home.

Sotloff’s parents have declined any media interviews and asked for privacy after it was revealed on Tuesday that Sotloff was being held by ISIS.

In a disturbing video that surfaced online Tuesday, Sotloff appeared on his knees in an orange jumpsuit as an armed black-clad figure stood behind him, gripping him by the shirt. Moments before in the video, the same figure had brutally murdered American journalist James Foley, saying his death was in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes on ISIS targets in Iraq and Sotloff could be next.

“The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision,” the masked man says in what appears to be a British accent, referring to a stoic Sotloff.

At the time of his capture, Sotloff had been covering the Middle East for years as a freelance reporter, including stints in Yemen and Egypt. He wrote for Time magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, the Daily Caller, Foreign Policy, and most recently for World Affairs Journal.

The 31-year-old reporter studied journalism at the University of Central Florida, according to the Orlando Sentinel. His articles online show heartfelt reporting about the brutality of the Syrian war.

His parents live in Miami, and Sotloff’s last Tweet, from August 2013, is about the Miami Heat NBA team.

His Twitter feed, which is his major online presence beyond his reported stories, shows a mix of humor and seriousness about his reporting.

Friends of Sotloff and his family have started a White House petition urging the government to do all it can to rescue the freelance reporter.

“Steven Sotloff is an American citizen and reporter with Time magazine who is believed to have gone missing in August of 2013,” the petition reads. “Today, on August 19, 2014 it was revealed that Steven is a captive of the Islamist terrorist organization ISIS.”

“We, the undersigned call upon you, President Obama, to take immediate action to save Steven’s life by any means necessary,” it says. The petition has 7,336 signatures.

Matthew Van Dyke, a documentary filmmaker, self-described “revolutionary” and friend of Sotloff’s, told ABC News that the two last saw each other in Washington, D.C., just a few weeks before Sotloff’s disappearance. Van Dyke has reported from the Middle East, and joined the fighting during the Libyan revolution, and was held as a prisoner of war.

“We were talking about his upcoming trip to Syria,” Van Dyke said. “I feel horrible for what he’s going through, I can’t really imagine. I mean I thought I had a tough time in Libya but to be held by ISIS for this long, Steven’s been there for a year now and who knows what kind of conditions they’re in. It’s absolutely horrifying. I can’t imagine it.”

World Affairs, the journal that had most recently employed Sotloff, described him as “an honest and thoughtful journalist who strives to understand the story from local perspectives and report his findings straightforwardly. He is certainly courageous.”

“He was not on assignment from World Affairs when captured. It is our hope and prayer that Steven is returned home to his family and loved ones safely,” James Denton, publisher and editor of the magazine said in a statement.

A day after the video emerged in which the ISIS militant threatened Sotloff’s life, President Obama addressed the nation, saying the whole world was “appalled” at what ISIS had done. Hours later, the U.S. military announced it was continuing its bombing campaign targeting ISIS.


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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


2014 First American Bank - Personal Loans

Storm Blasts Dust, Sand Through the California Skies

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 by

Posted in National News

File photo. iStock/Thinkstock(COACHELLA, Calif.) — Strong winds blasted dust and sand through the Southern California skies, part of a storm system known as a haboob.

Scott Pam was driving in the area Thursday when the storm hit, and the wind ripped the door straps off of his car.

 

 

 

 

The dust, whipped around by 40-mph winds, left drivers with low visibility. The name “haboob” comes from the Arabic word habb, meaning “wind.”

The storm also bent trees across California’s Coachella Valley, but there were no reports of serious injuries.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Pet of the Week

Stolen Brooklyn Bridge Flags Returned to US Officials — In Germany

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The flags taken off the Brooklyn Bridge and swapped for white surrender flags have been handed over to U.S. officials, a law enforcement official told ABC News Thursday.

The handover took place far from the iconic landmark, however: it happened in Germany. The flags were given to the U.S. embassy a week after Mischa Leinkauf and Mattias Wermke, artists in that country, identified themselves as having perpetrated the stunt that became a national news sensation.

“They returned the flags to the embassy. There has been no determination on charges,” the law enforcement official said.

 The artists said last week that the Brooklyn Bridge stunt was intended as a celebration of public art and not as any political statement.

The Berlin-based duo said that the flags that they put on top of the bridge were not bleached white but were made of white material and then hand-stitched so that it was done in “Old Glory” style with white stars and stripes. They said that they followed U.S. Flag Code in their handling of the American flags that they took down.

Prosecutors in New York could still pursue felony burglary charges against the duo, which could lead to the issuing of an international arrest warrant. Authorities also “have some significant leads” as to the people who assisted the Germans in their stunt in the U.S. The American accomplices are still being pursued.

New York Police Department officials are taking the flag return as a sign of “good faith” that the stunt was, “some sort of artistic thing or stunt,” as opposed to a serious threat or attempt to scare American citizens, the law enforcement official said.

It is believed that the artists realized how serious this was and how much trouble they were in when NY Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced on WABC’s Sunday show Up Close with Diana Williams that investigators knew who the perpetrators were.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


2014 First American Bank - Checking

A Different Look at Ferguson’s Michael Brown Just Days Before His Death

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(FERGUSON, Mo.) — A different view of Michael Brown emerged Thursday in a video that is starkly different from the images previously seen of the unarmed teenager who shot dead by police in Ferguson, Missouri.

Brown, 18, is seen waiting to join the procession of graduates for Normandy High School in early August, just days before his controversial death on Aug. 9. He is wearing the traditional black cap and gown with a red sash around his neck and the tassel hanging jauntily off the back of his mortarboard.

Brown’s family said that he was going to attend college in the fall.

The only other video images of Brown, who was 6-foot-4, to surface since the shooting has been in sharp contrast. Police released a surveillance video last week that showed a large man apparently stealing cigars from a convenience store.

The theft occurred shortly before Brown was shot at least six times following a confrontation with Officer Darren Wilson that left him with serious facial injuries. A Ferguson police report said that the officer who viewed the store surveillance video and saw Brown’s body identified him as the prime suspect in the store robbery.


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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Crusin In Cruces

Kentucky Firefighters Shocked in Electrical Mishap During Ice Bucket Challenge

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky.) — The popular ice bucket challenge has left four firefighters injured in Kentucky.

The marching band at Campbellsville University joined in on the ice bucket challenge, but instead of getting a bucket of water dumped on their heads, firefighters sprayed water on them from a ladder.  

Police Chief Tim Hazlette says the ladder got too close to a power line and the electrical current injured four firefighters.

Two of the firefighters’ injuries are serious.

The ice bucket challenge has spread across the country this summer as participants dump a bucket of ice water on their heads to raise awareness — and donations — for ALS.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


2014 First American Bank - Our Business

Parents Attach Camera to Son to Capture First Day of School

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) — For the parents of a first-grader in Florida, simply asking their son what he did on his first day of school this year was not enough.

“We wanted to see what it was like to be a first-grader on the first day of school,” May Weber told ABC News.

Weber and her husband, Tim Weber, of Tampa, strapped a camera onto the chest of their 6-year-old son, Andrew, Tuesday for his first day at McFarlane Park Elementary in Tampa.

“I have that challenge every day when I pick my children up from school, I say, ‘How was school? Tell me about your favorite part of school,’ and I always get that one word answer,” May Weber said. “Now I know maybe different kinds of questions to ask about their friends.”

The video shows Andrew walking down a shrub-lined street on his way to McFarlane Park, walking into the school’s decorated hallways and getting a hug from his new teacher, all from his own chest-level perspective.

“I was impressed by what the perspective was of a three-foot something child,” Tim Weber said. “How big everything was, the furniture, how big adults were, how big some of the other kids at school.”

“I think we sort of forget that perspective,” he said.

Andrew himself says he had no qualms about meeting his classmates while wearing the video camera, claiming that it was the object of envy in his first-grade classroom.

“My friends wanted to wear it,” he said.

Both Andrew’s teacher, Arianne DeClue, and the school’s principal, Denyse Riveiro, say they are using the video footage as a learning tool.

“On the first day of school everyone has nerves and jitters and it was exciting to see what the kids felt,” DeClue told ABC News.

“I thought about from the child’s perspective, what it looked like, what they were experiencing, the social skills, the developmental skills,” principal Riveiro said.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Double Your Dollars

Umbrella Sparks Lockdown at Cal State San Marcos

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO, Calif.) — It rains so infrequently in California that a simple umbrella caused a college campus to go on lockdown.

On Wednesday, armed police moved into Cal State San Marcos, outside of San Diego, on reports of a man with gun.

Students were told to shelter in place and authorities held the man at gunpoint.

But it turned out it wasn’t a gun– it was simply an employee walking with a black umbrella.

The employee, identified as Bill Craig, has been a staff member at the school for 17 years.

After the scare, Craig said the police were just doing their jobs.

“What could you do but find the humor in it,” he said.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Home Instead Senior Care

National Guard Ordered to Leave Ferguson

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(FERGUSON, Mo.) — The Missouri National Guard has been ordered to leave the strife-torn town of Ferguson.

Gov. Jay Nixon, who ordered the guard into Ferguson earlier this week, said on Thursday he was withdrawing them because “we continue to see improvement” in safety conditions in the town.

“I greatly appreciate the men and women of the Missouri National Guard for successfully carrying out the specific, limited mission of protecting the Unified Command Center so that law enforcement officers could focus on the important work of increasing communication within the community, restoring trust, and protecting the people and property of Ferguson,” Nixon said in a statement.

The governor said the guard would begin withdrawing after a relatively calm Wednesday night which resulted in only six arrests.

“Tonight was a very good night,” said Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

On Tuesday night, 43 were arrested and nearly 80 arrests were made on Monday night.

The National Guard did not patrol Ferguson’s streets, standing guard instead at the police command center.

Johnson said the city would continue to have a strong police presence.

The St. Louis suburb has been roiled with angry protests since the police officer shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, 18, on Aug. 9. At times, those protests erupted into looting, Molotov cocktails and rock throwing. Police have responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

On Monday, when Nixon called out the National Guard, President Obama appeared to express skepticism over the tactic.

“I spoke to Jay Nixon about this and expressed interest that if it was used, it would be in a limited and appropriate way,” Obama said Monday. He added that, “I’ll be watching to see that it’s helping, not hindering, progress.”

Nixon visited Ferguson Wednesday, as did U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Protesters have been demanding that the police officer, Darren Wilson, be arrested for shooting Brown. But St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch said Wednesday that a grand jury investigation into the shooting would likely last until mid-October.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Hometown Headlines w/ Brad Barrett

Police Officer Suspended After Allegedly Threatening Protester in Ferguson

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ST. LOUIS) — The Saint Louis County Police Department announced on Wednesday that a St. Ann Police Officer was suspended indefinitely after a video circulated showing him threatening peaceful protesters on Tuesday night.

The SLCPD said in a press release that the officer was seen pointing a semi-automatic assault rifle at a peaceful protester. The incident followed a “verbal exchange.” In the video, someone is heard asking the officer for his name, to which the officer replies “Go f*** yourself.” The officer then appears to threaten to kill the civilian.

The police department noted that a St. Louis County Police Sergeant de-escalated the tension of the situation by forcing the officer to lower his weapon and escorting him from the area.

The SLCPD release notes that the officer was relieved of duty and suspended.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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