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Vatican Praises Work of US Nuns After Inquest

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

Getty Images(ROME) — The Vatican has offered an olive branch to American nuns, praising their front line work with the poor and marginalized, at the end of an inquest that many at first viewed as a modern-day witch hunt.

The investigation, launched under Pope Benedict, was widely viewed as a move by the male-dominated church to bring the religious women under tighter control.

Sister Mary Ann Zollman, who authored a book about the inquest, said the experience made American nuns a more unified, powerful group.

Observers say the positive report is a sign of Pope Francis’ appreciation of the kind of frontline work American nuns do.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Crusin In Cruces

American Airlines Flight Diverted to Tokyo After Hitting Turbulence

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

American Airlines(TOKYO) — A Dallas-bound American Airlines flight that took off Tuesday from Seoul, South Korea, was diverted to Narita International Airport in Japan after encountering turbulence, officials said.

At least 10 passengers and four crew members were slightly injured, according to Japan’s NHK News.

“American’s primary concern at this time is for our passengers and crew on board the airplane and our team in Narita is providing assistance,” American Airlines said in a statement.

There were 255 people aboard the plane, including 15 crew members, when it landed at 12:55 a.m. local time, according to officials.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

How One Girl Reportedly Escaped Massacre at Pakistan School

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(PESHAWAR, Pakistan) — At least one student survived Tuesday’s tragic Taliban attack at a Pakistan school by playing dead, the BBC reported.

Shireen Khalid Wadud told the BBC that her friend’s 13-year-old daughter was the only one to escape from her class when the attackers bombarded the military-run school in Peshawar.

She told the network the girl was trying to find her brother — another student — when shots were fired, and there was “bloodshed everywhere.”

“She pretended to be dead because her clothes were washed up in blood,” Wadud said. “And then when they thought that she was dead, they turned away, and that is how she managed to escape from the back door.”

“She is wounded in her leg, but fortunately it is not serious,” Wadud continued. “She is in [the] hospital. She is very panicked and she is frightened.”

At least 141 people died in the attack, a Pakistani official said. Panicked parents have been searching for their children at area hospitals. Most of the victims are students.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Double Your Dollars

Taliban Attack on Pakistan School Leaves 141 Dead

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images(PESHAWAR, Pakistan) — A total of 141 people, most of them children, were killed Tuesday when Taliban attackers opened fire indiscriminately at a military-run school in northwestern Pakistan, a Pakistani military official said.

Seven gunmen — some reportedly wearing suicide vests — killed 132 children and nine staff members when they attacked the school in Peshawar, according to the military official. All seven attackers also died, although the details surrounding their deaths are not clear.

As evening arrived, Pakistani officials declared a military operation to clear the school of attackers to be over.

Throughout the day, terrified parents visited area hospitals, frantically searching for their children.

About 1,100 students in grades 1 to 10 attend classes at the school, including many children of military families. Students in green uniforms could be seen on Pakistani television fleeing the school.

Besides those killed in the attack, numerous people were injured, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province said earlier. Ambulances were seen transporting the injured after the attack started in the early morning.

Pakistan has been on an offensive, dubbed Zarb-e-Azb, against the Tehreek-e-Taliban, a Pakistani militant group trying to overthrow the government.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed credit for Tuesday’s attack as retribution for the government’s military operation in North Waziristan, the most volatile part of the country near the border with Afghanistan.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif rushed to Peshawar to show his support for the victims and vowed the attack on the school would not deter the government’s fight against the group.

“The government together with the army has started Zarb-e-Azb and it will continue until the terrorism is rooted out from our land,” Sharif said. “We also have had discussions with Afghanistan that they and we together fight this terrorism, and this fight will continue. No one should have any doubt about it.”

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistan native who survived a 2012 shooting and won the Nobel Peace prize for her efforts to promote education, denounced the attack in a Facebook post on her Malala Fund nonprofit page.

“I am heartbroken by this senseless and cold blooded act of terror in Peshawar that is unfolding before us,” she wrote in the statement. “Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this.”

The United States joined a host of nations, including neighboring India and Afghanistan, in denouncing the attack on the school.

“By targeting students and teachers in this heinous attack, terrorists have once again shown their depravity,” President Obama said in a statement. “We stand with the people of Pakistan, and reiterate the commitment of the United States to support the government of Pakistan in its efforts to combat terrorism and extremism and to promote peace and stability in the region.”

Even the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan condemned the attack.

“Killing innocent children is against the principals of Afghan Taliban and we condemned,” Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement to the media. “Our thoughts are with the families of those who lost their love ones”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Attacker in Sydney Siege Was ‘Deeply Disturbed,’ Australia PM Tony Abbott Says

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

Jennifer Polixenni Brankin/Getty Images(SYDNEY) — Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the hostage taker in Monday’s siege in Sydney was a “deeply disturbed individual” who was drawn to extremist views during a life marked by mental instability and crime.

Abbott, speaking at a press conference with other authorities Tuesday, said he believes that no one would want to emulate the actions of Man Monis, who took control of a chocolate shop in downtown Sydney, leading to a 16-hour standoff.

Monis and two others were killed during the siege.

“The tragedy of these times is that there are people even in a society such as ours who wish to do us harm. We are not immune to the politically motivated violence which has for so long stalked other countries,” Abbott said. “There was nothing consistent about this individual’s life, except that he was consistently weird.”

Abbott also expressed his belief that Australia will move beyond the tragedy. “We have seen, in the worst of times, the best of people,” he said.

Earlier Tuesday, Abbott and his wife Margie paid respects to the siege victims, laying flowers at a makeshift memorial in Sydney’s business district.

The hostages who died during the siege were identified as Tori Johnson, 34, and Katrina Dawson, 38.

Johnson was the manager of the café, according to Channel 9 News in Australia. Dawson was an attorney and mother of three, according to the new South Wales Bar Association. Three other hostages and a police officer sustained non-life-threatening injuries, authorities said.

Of the 17 total hostages, at least 12 were reportedly able to flee from the store before police stormed the shop.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Hometown Headlines w/ Brad Barrett

UN Spreads Blame for Torture, Indiscriminate Killings in Eastern Ukraine

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

iStock/Thinkstock(UNITED NATIONS) — A blistering United Nations human rights report on the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine alleges both sides have indiscriminately killed civilians and used torture.

The U.N. puts the death toll at over 4,630 but believes the actually number of casualties is much higher. More than 10,230 people have also been wounded in the fighting between government forces and rebel factions backed by Russia.

Adding to the misery, the report says, are more than 5.2 million residents in the east caught in the midst of violence with much of the local infrastructure devastated and Ukraine’s brutal winter having arrived.

The U.N. report contends the most vulnerable are “older persons, children and people in institutional care, many of whom are on the brink of survival.”

Meanwhile, the human rights group spares no punches assigning blame for the crisis, first accusing the government in Kiev for allowing “arbitrary detentions, torture, and enforced disappearances of people suspected of ‘separatism and terrorism.'”

The U.N. then blasts separatist groups for “creating a criminal state in parts of the industrial regions of Lugansk and Donetsk they control with the help of ‘foreign fighters,'” which is taken to mean Russian forces.

Neither side responded to the U.N. report.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

What We Know About the Sydney Siege Victims

Monday, December 15th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

Photo by Andrew Meares/Fairfax Media via Getty Images(SYDNEY) — Police have confirmed that in addition to the self-proclaimed Islamic “sheikh” who took control of a chocolate shop in downtown Sydney, two others were killed during the siege.

Of the 17 total hostages, at least 12 were reportedly able to flee from the store before police stormed the shop.

One of the slain hostages was Tori Johnson, 34, the manager of the cafe, according to Channel 9 News in Australia. Johnson tried to knock the gun out of the hostage taker Man Monis’ hand, Channel 9 reported.

“Tori had been with us at Lindt for just over two years and he was a great ambassador for our company and the store that he managed, which he cared about passionately. He was a dedicated professional who always built a great rapport with his customers and was much loved by the Lindt team,” Lindt Chocolate Cafe Australia said in a statement. “By nature he was a perfectionist and he had a genuine passion for the hospitality industry and people. He was a really important part of our management team in Australia and his loss is absolutely tragic. Our thoughts are with his family and we will do all that we can to provide ongoing support and help for them during this very difficult time.”

The other hostage who was killed was identified as attorney and mother of three Katrina Dawson, 38, according to the New South Wales Bar Association.

“Katrina, together with two other members of the NSW Bar, were held as hostages during the incident at the Lindt Café,” Jane Needham, president of the bar association, said in a statement. “Katrina was one of our best and brightest barristers who will be greatly missed by her colleagues and friends at the NSW Bar. She was a devoted mother of three children, and a valued member of her floor and of our bar community. Our thoughts are with her family at this time, including her brother, Sandy Dawson of Banco Chambers.”

Monis was believed to be a self-proclaimed Islamic “sheikh” who is known to Australian police because he was allegedly involved in dozens of counts of sexual assault, according to Australia’s 9News.

He was born in Iran as Manteghi Bourjerdi and migrated to Australia in 1996, according to the network.
During the seige, two people inside the cafe were seen holding up a flag with Arabic writing on it apparently at Monis’ direction. The banner contained a Koranic quote that has been used by extremists in the past.  

The spokeswoman for Royal North Shore Hospital confirmed to ABC News earlier Monday that there were three people there being treated for injuries sustained during the siege. One was a 39-year-old policeman who is in stable condition after being grazed on the cheek by a gunshot, the spokeswoman said.

Police identified the rest of the injured as: a 75-year-old woman with a gunshot wound to the shoulder; a 52-year-old woman with a gunshot wound to the foot; a 43-year-old woman who was shot in the leg; and two pregnant women, one 30 and one 35, both of who were assessed for health and welfare purposes. All were in stable condition, according to police, who declined to give names or hospital information.

Four videos that were reportedly filmed inside the café were released online — and have since been removed. In the videos, several people who appear to be hostages identify themselves and speak on behalf of their captor, stating his demands.

A U.S. State Department official told ABC News that Australian authorities have not confirmed the identities of the hostages but, “at this stage, we are not aware of U.S. citizens having been involved.”

Some of the hostages have been identified through the Australian press, and people claiming to be relatives of the hostages have written about their loved ones on social media, but none of the hostages have spoken out publicly at this point.

Two of the first hostages to emerge from the chocolate shop were wearing the company’s aprons and were believed to be employees at the store.

The Sydney Morning Herald, an Australian newspaper, identified one of the first hostages seen running from the store as Elly Chen, a waitress at the café.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Loyal Listeners Club

Six Arrested on Terror, Fraud Charges in UK

Monday, December 15th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

Raylipscombe/iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — Six people who had been arrested about two weeks ago in the United Kingdom Monday will face terror and fraud charges.

According to The Guardian, of the six men who were arrested on Nov. 30, December 1, and Dec. 4, five of the men are from London.

The six men were scheduled to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court Monday.

The Guardian identified the men as Michael Coe, 33, Simon Keeler, 43, Anthony Small, 33, Zagum Perviaz, 35, and Abdulraouf Eshati, 28. The charges they face include preparation and assisting to others in preparation of acts of terrorism, support of a proscribed organization, conspiracy to possess false identity documents and possession of articles in connection to the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Dept. of Defense Confirms Two US Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan Friday

Monday, December 15th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Two American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on Friday, the Department of Defense announced.

Sgt. 1st Class Ramon Sheldon Morris, 37, and Spec. Wyatt Joseph Martin, 22, both assigned to Fort Hood, were killed when their vehicle was attacked with an improvised explosive device in Parwan Province. No other details about the attack were provided.

Both Morris and Martin had been deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in June.

Morris entered active duty service in February 1996, and had served in Korea and in Operation Iraqi Freedom on three separate deployments.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Song of The Day

Russia’s Ruble Continues Its Collapse; Prices Begin to Increase

Monday, December 15th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

iStock/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) — Russia’s currency on Monday suffered one of its worst — if not the worst — day since Vladimir Putin became president nearly 15 years ago.

The ruble has lost nearly half of its value from a year ago, and with its decline has come rapid inflation.

Over dinner, waiters changed wine prices in the middle of the meal, and some shops have set prices pegged to a stable currency like the dollar or Euro.

The government has reminded busineses that that’s illegal, but the alternative — changing pricetags every minute — is practically impossible.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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