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Netanyahu Stresses Iran’s Nuclear Capabilities Must Be Dismantled

Monday, September 29th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

Uriel Sinai/Getty images(NEW YORK) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said “the world’s hopes for peace are in danger” because of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

“Iran, the world’s most dangerous regime, in the world’s most dangerous region, would obtain the world’s most dangerous weapons. Allowing that to happen would pose the gravest threat to us all,” Netanyahu said, addressing the United Nations General Assembly.

He said Iran must not be allowed to acquire the ability to make atomic bombs.

“Iran’s nuclear military capabilities must be fully dismantled,” the prime minister stressed.

While he acknowledged “ISIS must be defeated,” Netanyahu said having Iran as a nuclear power would be a graver threat than the militant group.

“[T]o defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war,” he said.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Hometown Headlines w/ Brad Barrett

US Mission in Yemen Has ‘Had Success’ Despite Weekend RPG Attack

Monday, September 29th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

Jon Gorr/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SANA’A, Yemen) — State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Monday that even though an al-Qaeda splinter group fired a rocket-propelled grenade near the U.S. embassy in Yemen over the weekend, the American mission there is still “successfully” fighting back against terrorism there.

“We still believe that we’ve had success, and of course going after core al-Qaeda and the elements that have been in Yemen,” Psaki said. “It doesn’t mean that there’s not more concerns about security and stability that we need to continue to address.”

The attack came just days after the U.S. moved much of its staff from the Sana’a embassy.

Ansar al-Sharia, a group affiliated with al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack.

A State Department official told ABC News on Monday that no U.S. personnel were harmed in the attack. Psaki noted that the attack was not targeted at the embassy, and that it simply occurred nearby.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Battle of Kobane: ISIS, Kurdish Fighters Battle Along Turkey-Syria Border

Monday, September 29th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

iStock/ThinkstockREPORTER’S NOTEBOOK By ABC News’ Terry Moran

(KOBANE, Syria) — It was another surreal day on the hills overlooking the Syrian border, watching the battle for city of Kobane, inside Syria.

ISIS is tightening its grip here. Kobane is a Kurdish city and it is nearly surrounded. Tens of thousands of residents have fled across the border, and the Kurdish defenders left behind seem both outgunned and outmanned.

But they are tough. And this place is their home.

This morning, ISIS fighters shelled the city. It was very strange and very sad to stand on a hill less than a mile away and watch the shells fall on the downtown streets and into the neighborhoods of the city. There is no targeting, no military objective here; ISIS is just raining fire on civilians.

This whole campaign — now more than a month old — has shown again how ruthless and efficient is the ISIS playbook for taking territory.

First, a lightning advance seizes roads, villages and key points and shapes the coming battle. Then, ISIS forces move forward slowly and engage on the ground, probing the defenses, looking for opportunities to advance further. Next come the bombardment and that is followed by the final assault — and the slaughter.

In the past few days, the city’s Kurdish defenders have finally gotten some help. The U.S. and it’s allies have carried out air strikes against ISIS — apparently targeting ISIS positions and supply lines. In fact, we saw what seemed to be several air strikes to the west of the city today. Kobane’s defenders say these strikes have not stopped the jihadist advance.

Perhaps that is because ISIS may be getting some help here, too, from Turkey.

Turkey has long been concerned about Kurdish separatists in its southeastern provinces and their allies across the border in Syria — in Kobane. There were reports earlier this year of arms shipments from Turkey crossing the border into ISIS-controlled Syria. The Turkish government called these shipments “humanitarian aid” — and slapped a court order banning any further press coverage of the issue.

The politics are murky. But the progress of the battle is clear.

A few miles west along the border, we watched the Kurdish defenders of Kobane try to hold a key approach to the city. As night fell, the ISIS fighters moved forward, trying to flank the Kurdish positions. The fighting grew fierce, as the crack-and-thump of tracer rounds, the thud of mortar fire and the increasingly desperate snapping and pinging of small-arms exchanges filled the narrow valley. The jihadist fighters just kept pushing ahead.

In the gathering darkness, we could hear the wind carry across the barren hills chorus after chorus of their ancient, piercing cry: “Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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US, Partners Launch 11 Airstrikes Against ISIS in Syria and Iraq

Monday, September 29th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

Stocktrek Images/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) — The U.S. military, with the help of partner nations, conducted 11 new airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) targets in Iraq and Syria, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said Monday.

Eight of the strikes were conducted throughout Syria on Sunday and Monday. According to CENTCOM, two near Dayr ar Zawr destroyed an ISIS armed vehicle and anti-aircraft artillery transport vehicle; two near Aleppo targeted a compound and an ISIS-held airfield; two were conducted on compounds near Ar Raqqah; and two more struck a training camp and vehicles near Manbij.

Fighter and remotely piloted aircraft from the U.S. Air Force, United Arab Emirates and Jordan participated in these eight strikes and all managed to exit the areas safely.

In Iraq, the U.S. military destroyed two ISIS vehicles near Kirkuk in one strike and two armed vehicles near Sinjar in another. CENTCOM said a third strike against an armed vehicle in the northwestern part of the country was unsuccessful.

The attack and remotely piloted aircraft used in these attacks, which were carried out on Sunday and Monday, also managed to exit the areas safely.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Ashraf Ghani Sworn in as New Afghan President

Monday, September 29th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Afghanistan swore in its newly elected president on Monday, marking the first peaceful transition of power since the fall of the Taliban.

Wearing a traditional Afghan turban, Ashraf Ghani took the oath of office inside the presidential palace. The inauguration was attended by more than 1,000 local and international delegates and was kicked off by outgoing President Hamid Karzai, who thanked the international community for its support over the past 13 years.

Ghani is a technocrat who was educated in the United States. He inherits a Taliban insurgency that’s growing and an economy rife with corruption that’s almost entirely dependent on foreign aid.

For his part, the new president says he’ll tackle those problems head on and quickly sign a new military deal allowing foreign troops to stay in the country.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Song of The Day

Why Hong Kong Residents Are Taking to the Streets

Monday, September 29th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Image(HONG KONG) — Hong Kong police on Sunday night fired tear gas into a rowdy but largely peaceful crowd of pro-democracy protesters, which seemingly ballooned and spread across the city only after the moment the tear gas was released from its shell.

The crowds — for which there were no official numbers, although activist groups were estimating them to be in the tens of thousands — effectively brought parts of the international financial hub to a virtual standstill for the second straight day Monday.

The student protests and the Occupy Central movement were initially about electoral reforms. Beijing said in August that it would allow Hong Kong to elect its own leader if the candidates were pre-screened and friendly to Beijing. That did not sit well with some of the electorate.

When the Hong Kong government and its police force decided to respond to protesters with force, some locals who did not initially support the week-long student protest or the plan to disrupt Hong Kong’s financial district seemed to galvanize behind the two movements. A new movement and hashtag arose from the tear gas: the #UmbrellaRevolution, named after the accessory of choice the protesters chose to defend themselves.

In the brief, unexpected violence, moderate Hong Kong residents may see a future that resembled any other mainland Chinese city, where dissent is removed by a show of force.

‘Hong Kong Exceptionalism’

Hong Kong, a self-governed southern Chinese territory, prides itself on its freedom of speech and assembly — a freedom its cousins in mainland China do not share.

There lies the heart of the issue: Call it “Hong Kong exceptionalism,” or, at least, the perception of it — because, after all, Hong Kong is part of China. It was this “Hong Kong identity” that people seemed to be flooding into the streets to defend.

When Hong Kong was handed back over to China from British colonial hands in 1997, the former colony was promised eventual “full democracy” under a “one country, two systems”-type of governance. Authorities also guaranteed the Hong Kong way of life would be preserved until at least 2047.

Despite its freedoms,  full democracy and universal suffrage was something that Hong Kong never enjoyed as a British crown colony and something no Chinese citizen had on the mainland.

Seventeen years on, pro-democracy activists believe China is reneging on its promise.

Public opinion in Hong Kong is divided. Many residents remain politically conservative and opt for stability above all else.

Cantonese Worry About Mandarin-ization

Despite that, relations between Hong Kong and the mainland are at their frostiest since the 1997. Hong Kong has flourished as an international financial hub since the handover but the mostly Cantonese-speaking population is also going through an identity crisis. Their idea of “Hong Kong exceptionalism” is under threat.

Some Hong Kong residents are feeling squeezed out of opportunities by what they believe is a “Mandarin-ization” of the Hong Kong economy, where the highest wages are going to Mandarin-speakers with extensive mainland Chinese connections, creating an increasing wealth gap. They also believe wealthy business elites are pandering to the Chinese government in order to access the mainland market at the expense of everyday Hong Kong residents.

Changing Demographics

In 1984, when it was decided Hong Kong would return to China, the city of Shenzhen, which sits on Hong Kong’s border with the mainland, had roughly 200,000 residents. Shenzhen is now dwarfs Hong Kong’s 7.2 million residents as megacity of 15 million people.

The influx of mainland Chinese investors and tourists into Hong Kong have also raised property prices and a strain on some consumer goods.

When the Hong Kong police, held up as heroes in local films and on TV, fired tear gas at its own people, some may not have recognized the city they called home.

The New York Times quoted a recent university graduate Steve Lee in the thick of the tear gas saying, “Hong Kong has gone crazy. It is no longer the Hong Kong I know, or the world knows.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Home Instead Senior Care

Has the Luster Worn Off Kate Middleton?

Monday, September 29th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Kate Middleton, otherwise known as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is among the most admired women in the world.

However, when polled in a survey by Newsweek Europe, it appears that virtually all the women of Britain are comfortable in their own skin when asked if they wished they could be Kate.

Just one percent said they would while 89 percent of the female respondents admitted they wouldn’t want to be the 32-year-old duchess even for a single day.

Perhaps even more incredibly, just six percent of the men polled in England, Scotland and Wales said they’d like to be married to Kate while six percent wanted to date her.

And while news of Kate’s second pregnancy made international headlines, just two percent of those surveyed cited it as the most important story of the day.

About 2,100 people responded to the survey.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nugget of Knowldege

Two Killed in Monster Truck Accident in Netherlands

Sunday, September 28th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

Tracy Fox/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(AMSTERDAM) — A monster truck crashed into the crowd during a show on Sunday in the Netherlands, killing two and injuring at least 10 more.

Police confirmed the two deaths, but said that they were not certain of how many people were injured. It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the truck to careen into the stands.

The injured onlookers have been taken to local hospitals in unknown condition. Police are expected to hold a press conference later on Sunday.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Metal Depot

Cops Outnumber Marchers in Belgrade Gay Pride Parade

Sunday, September 28th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

Photo by Medin Halilovic/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(BELGRADE, Serbia) — Some things are the same at gay pride parades everywhere — rainbow flags, colorful balloons, music pumping from the sound systems, everyone singing and dancing. In Belgrade, though, the parade on Sunday had an unusual accompaniment.

Thousands of Serbian police officers in full gear with water cannons and armored personnel carriers sealed off capital’s sunny downtown, in a reminder that Belgrade is not quite San Francisco, London or Amsterdam when it comes to gay demonstrations.

Several hundred gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals not only from Serbia but from across the former Yugoslavia, as well as from Italy, Greece, Germany and Canada marched their way trough practically empty streets of Belgrade, for the first time since 2010, calling for greater tolerance, equal rights and the right to civil partnerships.

The event, a culmination of Pride 2014, a week-long festival of parties, films and debates, showed Belgrade to be a place where gays and lesbians aspire the level of acceptance found in the West, yet remain a part of Christian Orthodox society that is still generally opposed to homosexuality and where politicians do not seem ready or willing to change that.

Although there were only several hundred participants, the parade is most likely the largest gathering of its kind in Serbian history, where the event was banned for the last three consecutive years because of threats of violence.

In 2010, the event went forward in Belgrade but opponents attacked armed police with stones and Molotov cocktails, shouting “Death to homosexuals!” Police clashes with rioters trying to disrupt the parade left more than 140 people injured, most of them policemen.

For most part, the parade went smoothly, but many gay men and lesbians say they continue to fear repercussions from coming out of the closet.

“I lived in Amsterdam, there and here are two different worlds,” says Ana, a sociologist from Nis.

About 5,000 police officers were there to control the crowd, five policemen for every participant of the march. A Greek man, who said he was there to show his support, remarked that he had never seen so much security at a gay pride parade in his life.

“Maybe next year this ratio will change,” U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Michael Kirby said as he walked in parade. “It takes time, but hopefully, this will become a new normal.”

In Belgrade, local media live-streamed the day’s events and one of the city’s iconic landmarks, Albania Palace, turned on its rainbow lights to mark Pride 2014.

There were several high-profile ministers and a mayor of Belgrade marching, but even if the ruling parties wanted to send gay legislators to join the march, they couldn’t have — not even one member of Serbian Parliament is openly homosexual.

It’s probably the law of paradox that says that the country to provide the hub for sex-change surgery is Serbia. And transgender surgery is subsidized by Serbia’s national health insurance.

Ivan Djuric, one of the organizers of the Pride, says he sees improvement not just in Belgrade but also outside of the capital in more conservative corners of Serbia.

“Every year there are fewer negative reactions,” Djuric said. “People see that the gay clubs are more friendly, that these are the places where there are no fights and you can have fun.”

Visitors from abroad said they’ve come specifically because they’ve heard the situation for gays in Serbia was bad.

“I wouldn’t go on a gay pride march in Brussels,” a man from Italy who identified himself only as Lorenzzo. “But we’ve been having a great time here.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Pet of the Week

At Least 30 Believed Dead Near Peak of Japanese Volcano

Sunday, September 28th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

seiiiiico/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TOKYO) — At least 30 people are believed dead near the peak of Mount Ontake in Japan.

Thirty-six lifeless bodies were found high up on the volcano after its Saturday eruption. Fire and Disaster Management Agency officials believe as many as 250 people may have been on the volcano at the time, but that most made it down safely. Japan’s national public broadcasting organization NHK reports that officials had been working to confirm the whereabouts of approximately 45 people.

The eruption is the first in seven years. The Japan meteorological agency warned hikers to stay away, issuing a level three out of five warning.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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