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Minnesota Dentist Acknowledges Killing Zimbabwe Lion Named Cecil

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

Cecil, Zimbabwe’s famous lion, has reportedly been killed by a hunter. (Brent Stapelkamp)(NEW YORK) — An American dentist acknowledged Tuesday that he killed a beloved lion named Cecil during a recent hunting trip to Zimbabwe.

Dr. Walter Palmer, 55, in a statement, said, “In early July, I was in Zimbabwe on a bow hunting trip for big game. I hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits. To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted.

“I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt. I have not been contacted by authorities in Zimbabwe or in the U.S. about this situation, but will assist them in any inquiries they may have.

“Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion.”

The 13-year-old lion was found skinned and headless earlier this month outside a national park.

A professional hunter and another man, a landowner, are facing criminal poaching charges in connection with Cecil’s death.

ABC US News | World News

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Nugget of Knowldege

Cassini: What It Saw on Saturn’s Moon Tethys

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute(NEW YORK) — NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has spotted a huge impact basin on Tethys, one of Saturn’s 62 known moons, shining brightly and spiking curiosity about the landscape of the icy world.

While the rest of the moon appears dark, the photo shows a 280-mile impact region called Odysseus, spanning near half the width of the entire moon.

“With the expanded range of colors visible to Cassini’s cameras, differences in materials and their textures become apparent that are subtle or unseen in natural color views,” NASA said.

Scientists believe the different coloration on Tethys could indicate differences in the composition or structure of the area exposed by the impact crater. While Tethys is believed to be largely water and ice, Odysseus isn’t the first standout characteristic of the moon to be pique the interest of scientists.

The satellite also has a long canyon called Ithaca Chasma, which is believed to have formed when the water inside Tethys froze and cracked the moon’s outer crust, according to NASA.

Launched in 1997, the Cassini mission arrived in the Saturn system in 2004 where it has been working ever since to study the gas giant and its dozens of moons. The probe’s mission is scheduled to end in September 2017 when it will make a fatal plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Algae Invasion Turns Yellow Sea Green

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

iStock/Thinkstock(QINGDAO, China) — It’s beach time as usual for people on vacation in eastern China — despite a thick layer of green algae appearing at popular resorts.

More than 13,500 square miles of water along the Qingdao coast have been affected by the phenomenon, Chinese media reported, and it’s been a recurring event since 2007.

Scientists say the plant does not pose an immediate risk to humans, but according to Algae World News, a professional web-based online news directory for algal business and information, it can prove dangerous as it decomposes and produced toxic hydrogen sulfide gas.

The Center for Disease Control writes on its website that algae is formed in response to changes in levels of chemicals, such as nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer, in the water.

“Algae are vitally important to marine and fresh-water ecosystems, and most species of algae are not harmful,” the CDC says, but “algal blooms can deplete the oxygen and block the sunlight that other organisms need to live, and some can produce toxins that are harmful to the health of the environment, plants, animals and people.”

Some scientists believe an increase in seaweed farming may be at the root of the problem, while others point towards coastal pollution as a possible cause.

According to China’s national news agency Xinhua, the clean-up work at Qingdao is already underway.

It is worth noting that in 2008, Chinese authorities spent millions of dollars to clean up the beaches ahead of sailing events at the Beijing Olympic Games.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Pet of the Week

John Kerry Names New US Special Envoy for Syria

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Michael Ratney will replace Daniel Rubinstein as the third U.S. special envoy for Syria since the war there began in 2011, Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Tuesday.

In a statement, Kerry said Ratney is “a Senior Foreign Service officer who is fluent in Arabic and whose distinguished career has spanned Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, and beyond.”

“I am confident he will continue the important work led by his predecessor, Daniel Rubinstein, to shape our response to the complex and devastating conflict in Syria,” he added.

Kerry said Ratney “will soon travel to the region to begin consultations with Syrians and other stakeholders” still seeking a peaceful resolution to the conflict which has devastated the country.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

NATO Gathers to Discuss Violence Along Turkey-Syria Border

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

iStock/Thinkstock(BRUSSELS) — An emergency gathering of NATO countries is taking place in Brussels Tuesday morning to discuss the increasingly volatile situation in Turkey.

In recent days, trouble in neighboring Syria has spilled over the border. Those troubles include bombings and shootings that killed police, soldiers and civilians.

Turkey has responded by launching airstrikes into Syria and Iraq.

Officials in Turkey blame ISIS for some of the violence. However, other attacks are attributed to a Kurdish rebel group.

Turkey has a long, contentious history with the Kurds, fighting a decades-long war that cost 40,000 lives. A cease-fire brokered with the Kurds in 2013 now appears to be falling apart.

The Kurds say until recently Turkey turned a blind eye to the Islamic State, who Kurdish rebels are fighting in both Syria and Iraq.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Crusin In Cruces

Thousands of Students Perform Haka Dance for Beloved Teacher

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

iStock/Thinkstock(PALMERSTON NORTH, New Zealand) — Thousands of high school students in New Zealand performed a traditional haka dance as a send-off for a beloved teacher who died.

Video shows at least 1,700 students from Palmerston North Boys’ High School on the country’s North Island performing the dance last Friday at the funeral service of Dawson Tamatea, who died on July 20. He was a physical education and mathematics teacher at the school for almost 30 years, a spokeswoman told ABC News.

“We are extremely proud of our boys’ performance and we know that Mr. Tamatea would be, too,” the school wrote on its website.

Haka is an ancestral war dance performed by the Maori people of New Zealand. The rugby team “All Blacks” are famous for performing the dance before their games.

“This complex dance is an expression of the passion, vigour and identity of the race,” according to a description on the All Blacks’s website, and “a custom of high social importance in the welcoming and entertainment of visitors.”

According to the school, Tamatea was also involved in many extra curricular activities and sports, including tennis, basketball and softball teams at the school.

“He is very well known amongst our school community, and amongst the wider Palmerston North community,” rector D.M. Bovey wrote in a statement. “We are very conscious that Mr. Tamatea’s passing will be difficult for many young men with whom he has had a close association as either a teacher, coach, manager or camp leader, as well as for many of our teachers who have known him for a long period of time.”

Messages of condolences have been pouring in online. In an online book dedicated to him, Tracey McKinnon, from Palmerston North, wrote: “He took my son under his wing and nurtured him like he was one of his own.”

“I could see you really loved your job as an awesome teacher,” Te Aroha Te Kura wrote on the school’s Facebook page. “We’re all gonna miss you.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

American Airlines Dreamliner Damaged by Weather During Flight from Beijing to DFW

Monday, July 27th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

iStock/Thinkstock(BEIJING) — An American Airlines Dreamliner suffered damage Monday during its flight from Beijing to Dallas due to weather.

“American Airlines Flight 88, a flight from Beijing Capital International Airport to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, returned to Beijing due to damage sustained by weather in flight,” American Airlines said in a statement to ABC News.

The aircraft was in flight for 44 minutes before it had to turn around. There were 209 passengers and a crew of 13 on board.

The nature and extent of the damage is unclear; American Airlines said the plane is currently being evaluated by their maintenance team.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Double Your Dollars

Obama Assembles Meeting with Regional Leaders on South Sudan

Monday, July 27th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia) — President Obama met with regional leaders in Ethiopia Monday to discuss the crisis in South Sudan and counterterrorism efforts in Somalia.
According to senior administration officials, the assembled leaders, which included the president of Uganda, president of Kenya, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, chairman of the African Union and the foreign minister of Sudan, agreed the two parties in South Sudan must reach an agreement to a peace plan by Aug. 17.  But if they fail to reach an agreement, the parties differed in what the next approach should be.
Some of the options under consideration include “substantially increased sanctions and pressure to the possibility of a regional intervention force,” according to one official.   The “regional intervention force” was not proposed by the U.S. and the official wouldn’t characterize what the U.S. stance is on that option.
The officials said all parties expressed a “resounding and collective loss of patience” in the situation in South Sudan.
On Sunday, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said the U.S. has a “special responsibility” to ensure South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, succeeds.
“Yes, that’s absolutely the case.  And look, the United States of America, broadly, I think has a special responsibility.  The Bush administration did very good work in terms of developing a comprehensive agreement between North and South Sudan that led to the scheduling of a referendum.  We did extraordinary amounts of work in the early years of the administration to make sure that that referendum could go off peacefully and that you could have South Sudanese choosing an independent course.  And the fact that this has now spiraled into a civil conflict, I think, does call upon the United States to play a unique role,” Rhodes said.
“Look, you can’t fix everything in a country that has been so torn by conflict for so many decades, but I think we have an obligation to try to bring the parties to a better place and to give the people of South Sudan an opportunity for peace,” he said.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Baby “AirForceOne” Named in President Obama’s Honor

Monday, July 27th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

Pete Souza/The White House(KISUMU, Kenya) — Obamamania may have seized Kenya over the weekend, but for some, the frenzy will now be life-long.

A handful of children born during the President’s visit to his father’s homeland have been named after him, his family — and even his airplane.

That’s right: Baby AirForceOne.

The boy’s full name is “AirForceOne Barack Obama,” and he’s one of three babies born Friday in the city Kisumu with Barack Obama variations in their name.

“I have been told that it is the best aeroplane because it carries a very powerful leader of America who is also a Kenyan,” one mother told the AFP.

Naming people, places and things after the first African American — and first Kenyan American — president is nothing new to the country. There are two schools named “Senator Obama” after the then-freshman senator visited his father’s village in 2006.

Several children born at that time share the name as well — and they’re now 7-year old students at Senator Obama Kogelo Primary School.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hometown Headlines w/ Brad Barrett

State Department Releases Annual Report on Human Trafficking

Monday, July 27th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

State Department photo(WASHINGTON) — Secretary of State John Kerry formally released the State Department’s annual report on human trafficking Monday with a message of thanks to those who are fighting the issue abroad and in the U.S.

The 384-page report, titled “Trafficking in Persons,” calls attention to the $150 billion illicit trafficking industry.

“It’s a battle against money. It’s a battle against evil,” Kerry said Monday. “It’s quite remarkable that in the year 2015, we face a modern version of slavery.”

The State Department is facing criticism about the report this year, however, for upgrading Cuba and Malaysia on the list. This year’s report boosted the two countries from the worst-ranked of those categorically failing to respond.

Anti-trafficking groups are calling it a transparent political move that puts the report’s impartiality in question.

[Click here to view the State Department’s full report]

Meanwhile, Kerry said the U.S. is not only pointing the finger at nations abroad.

“Like every nation, we have a responsibility to do better — a better job of protecting those who live within our own borders, whose passports are taken away from them, who are imprisoned for labor purposes or for sex trafficking,” he said.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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