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Louisiana Teen Shot Dead in West Bank Clash With Israelis

Friday, October 24th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

(JERUSALEM) — An American teen from New Orleans was shot and killed during clashes in the West Bank village of Silwad near Ramallah Friday.

Orwa Abd al-Wahhab Hammad, 15, was born in Ramallah and moved with his family to New Orleans, according to his brother Mohammad. His mother and brothers had traveled with him to the West Bank and his father will arrive from the United States on Sunday for the funeral.

The State Department confirms Orwa was a U.S. citizen, and says officials from the Consulate General in Jerusalem are in contact with family and providing all consular assistance.

Orwa is the second American child to die in the region this week. On Wednesday, 3-month old Chaya Zissel Braun was killed in Jerusalem when a Palestinian man drove his car into a crowd of pedestrians at a transit stop. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld described the incident as a “terrorist attack.” Her parents had traveled to Israel from Rockland County, New York, so her father could study in a yeshiva.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Song of The Day

One Killed, 11 Injured in Explosion at Germany Construction Site

Friday, October 24th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(BERLIN) — At least one person was killed and 11 were injured in an explosion at a construction site in western Germany.

A gas pipe suffered damage during construction work in Ludwigshafen, Germany, causing gas to leak and then catch fire.

The main blaze was extinguished quickly, but then crews had to tackle several smaller ones.

Several buildings and cars in the area were also damaged.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Kids Kare PC

Canada’s Top Cop Wants More Terror Arrests, But Needs Evidence

Friday, October 24th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

Getty Images(OTTAWA, Ontario) — Canadian intelligence and law enforcement officers are “reevaluating” some 90 people they suspect are linked to terrorist groups in the wake of the deadly shooting near Canada’s Parliament, but the nation’s top cop said that unfortunately for him, no arrests are on the immediate horizon.

“We’re reevaluating all of our individuals to make sure that those that present the greatest sort of risk are assessed and [officers] have resources attributed to them either to do surveillance, focus on the investigation, to get evidence, to make arrests,” Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Commissioner Bob Paulson told reporters Thursday. “We have not made arrests today. We do not have any intention of making imminent arrests. Generally, I would like to say that I have intentions of making lots of arrests, but in terms of the evidence and as the evidence is collected and the cases are built, we will be making arrests.”

Gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was shot and killed by security forces Wednesday after he opened fire with a small caliber rifle in Canada’s Parliament in Ottawa. Minutes earlier, police say Zehaf-Bibeau had gunned down a uniformed soldier, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, at a nearby national war monument.

Though Zehaf-Bibeau, was not one of the nearly 100 suspects that the northern nation had been watching — and police say the only known link between him and other jihadis is an email found on another accused terrorist’s hard drive — the case prompted Paulson and other top Canadian officials to question the nation’s current domestic anti-terrorism posture.

“…[W]e live in a dangerous world. Terrorism has been here with us for a while, and dangerously close on a number of occasions…We will not be intimidated. We will be vigilant, but we will not run scared. We will be prudent, but we will not panic,” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told Parliament Thursday, a day after he and other lawmakers had been within feet of the rifle-wielding gunman. “As members know, in recent weeks I have been saying that our laws and police powers need to be strengthened in the area of surveillance, detention, and arrest. They need to be much strengthened.”

Paulson wondered aloud about legally lowering the bar for taking law enforcement action against suspects.

“I understand that sort of we need to look at all options in terms of trying to deal with this sort of difficult and hard to understand threat and balance that against what we’ve seen in previous engagements with this threat, that we are able to act, you know, decisively, quickly, preventatively, and perhaps on a threshold that is somewhat lower,” he said during his press conference. “You know, without throwing somebody in jail forever, but being able to act decisively at a point where the suspicion is realized.”

Speaking next to Paulson, Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau said he has seen a “gap evolve over law enforcement’s ability to maintain control over these individuals that are being radicalized.”

Canada is hardly the only Western nation struggling with what to do about a number of citizens in country linked to terror groups abroad — including a growing number of Westerners who have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join in the fight for or against the terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). ABC News reported back in January that the FBI was already watching dozens of people who had fought in Syria and returned to the U.S.

British intelligence suspects that hundreds of its citizens have traveled to Syria to fight and last week law enforcement there announced terrorism charges against four men that had been arrested in London in the two weeks previous. The men, police alleged, had conducted “hostile reconnaissance” on an English police station and military base, had purchased a firearm and silencer and had reams of “jihadi material” on their computers.

The same day as that announcement, Metropolitan Police’s National Policing Lead for Counter Terrorism Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley wrote separately on the MET website that the MET has made over 200 arrests this year alone and is running “exceptionally high numbers of counter-terrorism investigations, the likes of which we have not seen for several years.”

Rowley too spoke about the delicate balance between disrupting potentially deadly plots and gathering enough evidence against the suspects.

“Public safety is our number one priority and we will always focus our disruption activity against those posing the greatest and most imminent threat. Sometimes this means intervening very early — essential to prevent attacks, but presenting enormous challenges in securing sufficient evidence to charge,” he wrote.

In the U.S., reports of the rise in domestic terrorism investigations came on the heels of startling revelations about the National Security Agency’s pervasive foreign and domestic surveillance programs, adding fuel to an already raging debate about the balance between civil liberties and national security — a debate not restricted by America’s northern border, as Canada was already considering conservative legislation to strengthen its security forces.

Thomas Mulcair, leader of Canada’s opposition New Democratic party, spoke immediately after the Prime Minister Thursday.

“[The attack] has only strengthened our commitment to each other and to a peaceful world. Let us not become more suspicious of our neighbors. Let us not be driven by fear because in Canada, love always triumphs over hate,” he said.

Then Justin Trudeau, head of the Liberty Party, added, “We are a proud democracy, a welcoming and peaceful nation. We are a country of open arms, open minds, and open hearts. We are a nation of fairness, justice and the rule of law.”

“We will not be intimidated into changing that, by anybody. These are instead the very values and ideals upon which we must rely in the days ahead…[Those who perpetrate attacks] are criminals, and criminals will not dictate how we act as a nation, how we govern ourselves, or how we treat each other. They will not dictate our values,” he said.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nugget of Knowldege

US Military Launches 18 Airstrikes Against ISIS in Syria, Iraq

Friday, October 24th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

iStock/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) — The U.S. military continued its attack against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) targets in Syria and Iraq, launching 18 airstrikes on Thursday and Friday.

According to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), six of the strikes were in Syria, near Kobani. They hit three ISIS units and destroyed a vehicle.

The remaining 12 airstrikes in Iraq destroyed two vehicles and a mortar position near Mosul Dam; hit two small units and destroyed a vehicle south of the Bayji Oil Refinery; struck a training camp near Bayji; hit two small units and destroyed three vehicles near Fallujah; and destroyed five ISIS buildings near Zumar.

CENTCOM said all the aircraft used in the attacks managed to exit the areas safely.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

2014 First American Bank - Personal Loans

Ebola Outbreak Taking Its Toll on Doctors Without Borders

Friday, October 24th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

P.K. Lee/MSF(GENEVA) — Doctors Without Borders is paying a heavy price in treating Ebola.

The Geneva-based group tells ABC News that since the outbreak began in March, it has sent over 700 staff to the affected countries, working alongside roughly 3,000 nationals. Of all of those, two dozen have been infected and 13 have died.

In every staff infection case, Doctors Without Borders conducts a thorough investigation. It has found that most of those who contracted Ebola did so while away from work.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Pet of the Week

Kerry: Relationship Between US, North Korea Unchanged

Friday, October 24th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

State Dept photo(WASHINGTON) — In case you were wondering, Secretary of State John Kerry isn’t planning on traveling to North Korea anytime soon.

Responding to a reporter Thursday who asked whether he would pay North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un a visit, Kerry joked, “Do you know something about an invitation I don’t?”

North Korea has reportedly closed its borders to foreign travelers due to Ebola concerns. Kerry didn’t seem to know whether that was true or not when asked whether that news could affect the two Americans still trapped in North Korea.

“I can’t tell you how their decision will or won’t affect anything with respect to the other Americans who are being held,” he said during an availability with the South Korean foreign minister.

On American Jeffrey Fowle, Kerry said the U.S. is “delighted” that North Korea released him but stressed that the U.S. is still “deeply concerned” about the other two.

Kerry also mentioned the agreement between the U.S. and South Korea — reached Thursday — that would delay the transfer of wartime control of the Korean military back to Seoul until the South is better equipped to handle threats from the North.

Currently, if South Korea became involved in a war, the United States would have to command combined U.S.-Korean forces. That’s an arrangement that goes back to the Korean War.

The transfer of “operational control” was supposed to happen first in 2012, then in 2015. Now, there’s no set date — just whenever South Korea achieves “critical defensive capabilities against an intensifying North Korean threat,” per statements from the U.S. and South Korea.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

2014 First American Bank - Checking

Queen Elizabeth II Sends Her First Tweet

Friday, October 24th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

Chris Jackson/Getty Images(LONDON) — She’s a woman of the times!

Queen Elizabeth II took to Twitter for the first time ever Friday morning, sending the message before an audience of 600 guests from the science and technology fields at the opening of a new exhibit at London’s Science Museum.

“It is a pleasure to open the Information Age exhibition today at the @ScienceMuseum, and I hope people will enjoy visiting. Elizabeth R,” she wrote.





The Queen, 88, is the latest in her family to tweet from the @BritishMonarchy account. Earlier this year, Prince Harry sent his first tweet to promote the @InvictusGames, after which he posted his first selfie. (He even got his brother, the Duke of Cambridge, in on that one!)

However, that wasn’t Prince William’s first brush with social media. He and his wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, used his family’s @clarencehouse account to announce the birth of Prince George in 2013 and last month, when they announced that they’re expecting again.



Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Crusin In Cruces

ISIS Hit Hard, But Iraq Offensive Could Be Year Away

Friday, October 24th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

iStock/Thinkstock(MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Florida) — The combination of American airstrikes and Iraqi and Kurdish military operations are beginning to undermine ISIS’s confidence on the battlefield but an Iraqi offensive to take back territory is a long way off, U.S. military officials believe.

It could be as long as a year before Iraq’s military is capable of launching a major offensive operation to retake Mosul and maybe just as long before a force of U.S. trained Syrian rebels can begin their own offensive operations against ISIS, the militant Islamic group also known as ISIL or the Islamic State.

Officials at U.S. Central Command told reporters Thursday that it’s still too soon to determine the strategic impacts in the fight against ISIS, but they are encouraged by improved Iraqi military operations and the resistance of Syrian Kurdish fighters in Kobani.

The officials said ISIS wants to maintain its freedom of movement across the non-existent border between Iraqi and Syria, so it has focused its operations on establishing two major west-to-east supply routes between Iraq and Syria. A southern route links eastern Syria with Fallujah in Iraq’s Anbar Province. The Iraqi Army has continued to fight ISIS to prevent them from establishing full control of the highway to Fallujah, but their operations have been limited in scope.

A second northern route for ISIS extends from northeastern Syria past the Mount Sinjar area and into the Iraqi city of Mosul. Kurdish Peshmerga forces have taken back the Mosul Dam from ISIS and checked the group’s offensives east of Mosul.

One U.S. official said the Iraqi Army currently has “an ability to conduct localized counterattacks” to contest ISIS advances in Iraq, but he would not say they are in the midst of a counteroffensive.

“We need to help the Iraqi Army take the counteroffensive and that’s going to require a more sustained effort,” the official said noting it will need U.S. help in rebuilding its intelligence-gathering, logistics and military planning efforts.

While the official predicted it might be a matter of months before a sustained counteroffensive could be launched he also said it could still be “months, maybe a year” before Iraqi security forces attempt to retake Mosul. The official said that before that Iraq’s security forces have to overcome the neglect in recent years to their intelligence gathering, logistics and military planning.

The officials said ISIS has stopped moving in large ground formations because doing so makes them vulnerable to targeting by airstrikes. That happened earlier this week when a dozen airstrikes helped repel an ISIS offensive against Kurdish forces at the Mosul Dam.

While ISIS continues to attack outside of Baghdad, one official said the tactical change also means ISIS can no longer mount a large scale threat to Baghdad.

Meanwhile ISIS has decided to make the battle for Kobani a focal point of their ground campaign in Syria. One official said ISIS had “double-downed” on their attempt to take over the city by continuing to send reinforcements to take over the city.

While cautioning that Kobani could still fall into the hands of ISIS, the officials said that possibility has lessened as Kurdish fighters have held on to the western part of the city during a weeks-long assault.

One of the officials speculated that the resistance by the Kurdish fighters has challenged ISIS’ narrative of “inevitable victory” that is heavily promoted online by the group’s “information campaign” to attract new followers and garner international support

The officials also provided reporters with new details on the formation of a force of 5,000 Syrian moderate opposition forces to be trained by the U.S. in Saudi Arabia.

The actual vetting of potential recruits is still months away and officials have said the first trained teams might not return to Syria until the late spring.

According to one official, the goal of the training program is to train units of 100 to 300 men who will initially provide “local defense” for their towns and villages, partly as a means of ending refugee flows.

But it could be quite some time before they morph into a force that could conduct offensive operations against ISIS. “We see this kind of as a long-term thing,” said the official. “It could be a year to 18 months, what have you, to be able to see an effect on the battlefield, we’re talking about an offensive effect.”

Another official suggested that if the American strategy’s initial focus to degrade ISIS inside Iraq is successful, the trained moderate Syrian rebels might be facing a different kind of ISIS when they return to Syria.

“They’re going to be looking at a lot less mobile ISIL, a lot less capable ISIL, a lot more hunkered down and possibly insurgent ISIL,” said the official.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

2014 First American Bank - Our Business

Germany to Provide Arms, Possibly Training to Kurds Fighting ISIS

Friday, October 24th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

Aziz Karimov/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Add Germany to the list of those countries taking a bolder stand against the Islamic State.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced Thursday that his government would begin providing weapons to Kurdish groups in northern Iraq that are battling ISIS fighters.

In addition, Steinmeier suggested that Germany might also avail military advisers to assist in training armed Kurds.

“We have an exploratory mission which is examining what and whether something could work” in the northern city of Ebril, he said.

This assistance is an expansion of humanitarian aid that Germany is also providing to those in the region at war with ISIS.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Double Your Dollars

Canadian Muslim Groups Condemn Deadly Attacks

Friday, October 24th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

iStock/Thinkstock(OTTAWA, Ontario) — This week’s deadly attacks in Canada were condemned Thursday by Muslim groups who claimed that “violent extremist ideologies…have nothing to do with Islam.”

Ihsaan Gardee, the executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, added that an attack on one Canadian is an attack on all those who denounce terrorism.

Muslims in the country are hoping there is no backlash against them following Wednesday’s shooting death of a guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a recent convert to Islam.  Zehaf-Bibeau was gunned down after trying to shoot up Parliament.

Earlier this week, Martin Couture-Rouleau, who also converted to Islam, killed a Canadian Forces member with a vehicle in a small Quebec town.  He was chased down by local police and then shot dead.

Despite the conversion of these individuals, mainstream Muslims contend the killers’ acts have no basis in their religion.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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