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Rally in Rome to Support Pope Francis’ Stance on Climate Change

Sunday, June 28th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

neneos/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(ROME) — Pope Francis’ recent call for the world to act against climate change sparked a rally of thanks in Rome on Sunday.

Multi-faith leaders strolled alongside scientists and environmental activists on their way to St. Peter’s Square to celebrate the Pope’s tough stance against climate change.

A recent paper by Pope Francis on the issue calls for the world to wane itself off fossil fuels and chastised leaders for creating a system that serves wealthy countries at the expense of the poor.

The paper on climate change comes ahead of a UN conference in Paris later this year.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Double Your Dollars

Turkish Authorities Break Up Gay Pride March in Taksim Square

Sunday, June 28th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

graffio77/iStock/Thinkstock(ISTANBUL) — Turkish authorities broke up a gay pride march by firing rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas on Sunday.

Demonstrators say authorities banned the planned gathering at the last minute using the Ramadan holiday.

However, thousands had already congregated in the city’s Taksim Square. There were no immediate reports of injuries and just a few arrests.

The protesters waving signs and rainbow flags were forced by riot police to other parts of the city. Shortly after that, police began using crowd-displacement tactics.

The actions by Turkish authorities drew global condemnation on social media.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

American Al Qaeda to ISIS: No Paradise for You

Sunday, June 28th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

zabelin/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The atrocities committed by the terror group ISIS are so horrific that a high-profile al Qaeda member, an American citizen, purportedly addressed the group directly in a new al Qaeda publication and lectured them that if they keep it up, Allah will not grant them paradise in the afterlife.

“My dear brothers: While no one can deny the considerable strength and prowess of the Islamic State group [ISIS] in military terms, at the same time, the crimes it has committed against Muslims cannot simply be overlooked or forgotten with time, because in Islam there is no statute of limitations,” the late Adam Gadahn said, according to an al Qaeda magazine published recently online. “And if these wrongs are not brought to an end and rectified here in this world, then a severe punishment has been promised both for those who committed them as well as those who encouraged, condoned or justified them, even if from behind a computer or mobile phone thousands of miles away.”

“Oppression of any kind is wrong, and [there] will be darkness for its perpetrator on the Day of Judgment. The Ummah’s [Muslim community’s] Jihad is not a video game; it is real life, with real consequences, in this world and the next,” he said.

Gadahn, born Adam Pearlman, was killed accidentally in an American counter-terrorism operation in January, according to the White House. Apparently the U.S. forces who conducted the mission didn’t know Gadahn was at the target location. Another al Qaeda member said in the magazine that it was an airstrike that killed Gadahn.

The interview with Gadahn, in which he discusses his background as a California boy in an unorthodox home and his bizarre journey into the ranks of al Qaeda, appears to have been conducted last fall. A majority of the 80-plus page interview is dedicated to sharp criticism of ISIS, the terror group that split from al Qaeda in recent years and one that Gadahn says “is already known to be responsible for the murder and killing of a large number of Muslims on the flimsiest of pretexts.”

“Does anyone think [Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda figures] were calling on them to bring the wrath of the entire world down on Iraq and Syria by attacking and displacing largely powerless and defenseless minorities and slaughtering their men and enslaving their women and children?… Of course not!” he said. “Frankly, all of us used to be sympathetic to varying degrees towards the Islamic State of Iraq [ISIS] — despite its mistakes –- when it was seen as a weak and oppressed force valiantly fighting brutal tyrannies. But now that it has become clear that it has – unfortunately – adopted some of the traits, methods and tactics of those same tyrannies, it no longer holds the same place in our hearts that it did once upon a time.”

Early last week ISIS released its most gruesome video yet -– one showing the execution of a dozen fighters, some purportedly members of al Qaeda’s Syria faction. Different groups of the men are drowned, blown up by a rocket-propelled grenade or decapitated with explosives. Friday an ISIS affiliate claimed responsibility for the bombing of a mosque in Kuwait, which killed 27 Muslim worshippers.

In addition to the mass killing of Muslims, Gadahn also took issue with ISIS’s on-camera murder of Alan Henning, a British humanitarian. Henning was one of a string of Western hostages, including three Americans, to be executed by ISIS. Gadahn claimed that al Qaeda went as far as demanding ISIS release Henning because he was an aid worker.

“…[T]he brothers in An-Nusra [al Qaeda’s faction in Syria] sought the release of Henning soon after his kidnapping, but regrettably, their appeals – like the rest – fell on deaf ears,” Gadahn said. “Alan Henning didn’t go to Syria as a soldier or a spy. He went to Syria as a member of a Muslim aid convoy to distribute relief supplies to displaced and needy Syrians. But rather than thank him, some interlopers rewarded him first by kidnapping him and then by slaughtering him on camera.”

But Gadahn’s sympathetic words are out of place compared to other parts of the interview, where the American celebrated the attacks on Canadian soldiers and the Canadian Parliament, and later described his jubilant reaction to the 9/11 attacks in which his organization killed 3,000 innocent Americans.

“It was a mix of surprise, amazement and exhilaration as well as some apprehension, at least in the beginning,” he said. Gadahn said he was in Kandahar, Afghanistan when it happened and that night “there was a celebratory atmosphere… People were congratulating each other on this incredible and historic victory with which Allah had favored us.”

And like ISIS, Gadahn also called for attacks in Western countries.

“We in al Qaeda have been consistent in calling for attacks on America and its Crusader allies,” he said.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hometown Headlines w/ Brad Barrett

Iran Nuclear Talks to Slip Past Deadline

Sunday, June 28th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

Photo by Getty Images(VIENNA) — The continued nuclear talks between Iran and the U.S. are now expected to go past Tuesday’s deadline.

Iran’s Foreign Minister is returning to Tehran on Sunday for a day of consultations, but is expected to return to Vienna this week.

U.S. officials continue to insist that progress has already been made in the last few days, but are still very cautious about the prospects of a deal.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

One Killed After Bus Carrying British School Children in Belgium Crashes

Sunday, June 28th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

Jeroen Peys/iStock/Thinkstock(MIDDELKERKE, Belgium) — At least one person was killed on Sunday after a bus carrying school children from the United Kingdom crashed in Belgium.

The bus was carrying 34 children from the Brentwood School in Essex, England, a spokesman for the school told the British Press Association.

The bus driver was killed, and his assistant was seriously injured.

Eyewitness said the bus crashed into a bridge pillar on the highway, BBC News reports.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Loyal Listeners Club

Greece’s Parliament Votes on Referendum on Creditor Reforms

Sunday, June 28th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(ATHENS, Greece) — Greece’s parliament voted on Sunday to approve a referendum in July that will decide whether or not the country will pay back nearly $2 billion in European debt

The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Legarde, however wants Greek negotiators to return to debt talks before the current bailout expires.

Legarde told the BBC that country would be voting on a proposal that expires after Tuesday.

“The referendum will relate to proposals and arrangements which are no longer valid. Now that’s a legal issue,” she said.

European creditors have already rejected hopes of a bailout extension, and if Greece misses its Tuesday deadline, then the country may face a default.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

More Than 200 Injured in Fire at Taiwan Water Park

Saturday, June 27th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

-/AFP/Getty Images(TAIPEI, Taiwan) — More than 200 people were injured when a colored powder being sprayed on a crowd in Taiwan’s capital city ignited on Saturday.

BBC News reports that more than 1,000 people were in attendance and near the stage at the Formosa Water Park Saturday evening when the incident occurred. It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the fire, though the BBC News quotes the Taipei Fire Department as saying that heat from the lights could have sparked the powder spray.

Of the 215 injured, 83 suffered serious burns, BBC News reports.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Song of The Day

At Least 15 Britons Killed in Attack at Tunisia Beach Resort

Saturday, June 27th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

ABC News(SOUSSE, Tunisia) — At least 15 British people were among those killed when a gunman opened fire on a beach in Tunisia, Britain’s foreign minister said Saturday.

Tobias Ellwood said the beachfront massacre was “the most significant terrorist attack on the British people” since suicide bombers struck the London transport network in 2005, killing 52 and wounding hundreds. The gunman killed 39 people Friday at the Hotel Imperial Marhaba in Sousse, a popular resort town on the northeast coast of Africa.

Ellwood added the number of British people killed Friday “may well rise.”

The gunman hid his rifle under an umbrella before he opened fire, security official Rafik Chelli told Tunisia radio station Mosaique FM. He then entered the hotel through the pool and began firing.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement circulated on social media.

Sousse is one of Tunisia’s most popular vacation spots and draws visitors from across Europe, particularly France. The nationalities of the victims were still being determined, officials said Friday, but a security official told Mosaique FM that many of those killed were foreigners.

The hotel had 565 guests at the time of the attack, mostly from the United Kingdom and central Europe, RIU Hotels & Resorts said in a statement on its website.

ABC US News | World News

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Everything You Need to Know About the Iran Nuclear Negotiations

Saturday, June 27th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — What’s next for the Iran nuclear negotiations? Here’s some background on the deal and possible plans for the future.

A Brief History

This deal has been in the works since November 2013. That’s when Iran and the so-called P5+1 (U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China and Germany) agreed on a Joint Plan of Action, an interim agreement that paved the way for talks by temporarily halting Iran’s nuclear enrichment program and subjecting it to daily inspections in exchange for the loosening of some economic sanctions. In November 2014, Secretary Kerry announced an extension of the deadline for an interim agreement until March 31. And on April 2, after eight straight days of high-level diplomatic talks, an interim deal was reached.

What was the interim deal?

A U.S. fact sheet provided at the time said Iran’s nuclear breakout time — the time it would take the country to build a bomb — would be shifted from 2-3 months to a year. It said Iran’s deep buried nuclear facility will be converted from a nuclear site into a peaceful physics and technology center. No fissile material would remain there. Iran agreed not to enrich uranium over 3.67 percent (20 percent is considered weapons grade) for the next 15 years and to dilute or sell its existing stockpile of enriched uranium, reducing that stockpile by a total of 98 percent. Upon verification of these steps many United Nations and European financial sanctions would be lifted. Other sanctions, including those approved by Congress, will be lifted in a phased approach. A final agreement would have to be reached by June 30.

Iran Nuclear Deal: Tentative Agreement Reached

As Kerry put it last Thursday, “I’m hopeful, but I’m not declaring optimism.” Despite televised comments this week where the Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, appeared to pull away from the most basic principles of the interim agreement, State Department officials insist that behind closed doors those matters are resolved. They say at this point it’s a very technical discussion. On Wednesday, Kerry dismissed the Ayatollah’s comments as bluster made for domestic political consumption. He also said plainly that if those were Iran’s actual negotiating terms there would be no deal. At this point completion of a deal hinges on a few very difficult stumbling blocks.

What are the stumbling blocks?

The negotiations are intensely focused right now on the pace and scope of sanctions relief for the Iranians. All that the West wants is to stop Iran’s pathway to a bomb; and all Iran wants is economic relief. What the Iranians care about most is lifting the United Nations sanctions. Those sanctions prevent Iran from doing business with the US, but also from most of the industrialized world. Publicly the Iranians are saying they will not allow inspection of military sites. But for the U.S. that is a non-starter; and officials say indeed the Iranians will concede this point. The negotiating parties are stuck on which sanctions to lift and when, and by what verification process. Also critical in this debate is the issue of snapping back sanctions.

What is snap back?

The U.S. wants to make sure it can snap UN sanctions back into place if something goes wrong. The problem is that they don’t want the U.N. Security Council (of which China and Russia are members) to be able to influence that process. So they are trying to develop a new mechanism, independent of the Security Council, to snap sanctions back into place if needed. At the same time, the Iranians want some measure of snap back too. They want to be able to ramp up nuclear production again if they feel the terms of the agreement are violated, just the same as the US would be able to do. Snap back essentially serves as a mutual deterrent and a mechanism used to make sure each side keeps up its end of the bargain.

Could the deadline slide back?

It’s very possible the deadline could slide back yet again, but likely by only a matter of days. The State Department has held firm in public statements that it is focused on getting a deal done by June 30, but other foreign ministers involved in the talks, as well as U.S. officials who have spoken privately, acknowledge the real possibility that the date could move beyond that.

What would a final deal look like?

Similar to the interim deal, officials say nothing is going to be signed on the dotted line. You won’t see that photo op with Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Zarif seated at a table, signing a leather bound document and shaking hands for the cameras. But there will be a document, perhaps as long as a 100 pages, a state department official said, detailing the agreement. “It’s never been about signatures,” one official said. “It’s always been about actions and verification.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Nugget of Knowldege

At Least 18 Hurt in Turkey Balloon Accident

Friday, June 26th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

Hemera Technologies/ — Turkish officials said on Friday at least 18 tourist were injured in a hot-air balloon accident.

The balloon reportedly made a hard landing after a stiff wind pushed it into some electrical wires.

Two Americans are said to be among those hurt, while 14 of those injured were reportedly from China.

The tourists were taken to an area hospital in the Caapadocia region of central Turkey, but none of them sustained critical injuries.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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