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Report Finds Southern Italy Region Poorest in Eurozone

Friday, July 31st, 2015 by

Posted in World News

Frank Lombardi Jr/iStock/ThinkStock(ROME, Italy) — A report by the Association for Industrial Development in southern Italy shows that the region south of Rome are the poorest in the Eurozone.

Employment in southern Italy, long plagued by corruption and organized crime, is lower than in any country in the European Union, at just 40 percent.

Economic growth has been far slower than even that of its troubled neighbor, Greece.

What has saved the south from sinking the rest of country is strong productivity in Italy’s northern regions.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Crusin In Cruces

18-Month-Old Boy Burned to Death in West Bank Laid to Rest

Friday, July 31st, 2015 by

Posted in World News

Pawel Gaul/iStock/ThinkStock(JERUSALEM) — It’s the tiniest grave in the village’s cemetery, just big enough for a bundle nearly two feet long.

Eighteen-month-old Ali Dawabsheh burned to death after Jewish extremists attacked his family today in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Nablus. By Friday night, the Palestinian Justice Ministry autopsy report found soot inside the toddler’s body, confirming he was alive when he caught fire.

Ali’s uncle, Wisam Dawabsheh told ABC News the attackers approached the village in the early hours of Friday and knocked on the windows of the Dawabsheh house. The attackers then hurled molotov cocktails inside, setting fire to the house. Before fleeing, the attackers left the word “Revenge” in Hebrew spray-painted on the house, a so-called “price tag” attack.

Just hours after Ali’s death, villagers were handing out posters plastered with Ali’s face ahead of the funeral. The attack paralleled the killing of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir last July who was burned alive by Jewish extremists. Last year, protesters hit the streets following Abu Khdeir’s murder, chanting “Intifada! Intifada!” Friday, there were reports of light clashes throughout the West Bank but no widespread violence.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah spoke to the funeral Friday, as hundreds of men sat under the midday heat, crying and praying as the tiny body was laid to rest. Ali’s 4-year-old brother, Ahmad and his parents, Saad, 32, and Riham, 27, remain in critical condition at a hospital in Israel.

ABC US News | World News

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Meet Earth’s Closest Rocky Neighbor Outside the Solar System

Friday, July 31st, 2015 by

Posted in World News

Artist’s rendering. NASA/JPL-Caltech(WASHINGTON) — Earth’s closest rocky neighbor outside of the solar system has been confirmed using NASA’s Spitzer telescope.

The alien rocky planet has been named HD 219134b and is 1.6 times the size of Earth, according to NASA. What makes this exoplanet special is it’s 21 light-years away from Earth, while most other exoplanets that have been located are hundreds of light years away.

In fact, it’s so close that the star that the exoplanet orbits is visible to the naked eye, in the constellation Cassiopeia, NASA officials said.

While the exoplanet was first discovered using the Italian Galileo National Telescope in the Canary Islands, Spitzer has taken infrared measurements, allowing scientists to learn more about the exoplanet’s size and confirm its rocky terrain.

The exoplanet is transiting in front of its star, making it an ideal body for scientists to study and a potential gold mine of scientific data, according to NASA scientists.

“Transiting exoplanets are worth their weight in gold because they can be extensively characterized,” Michael Werner, project scientist for the Spitzer mission, said in a statement on Thursday. “This exoplanet will be one of the most studied for decades to come.”

One thing scientists know they won’t find though is alien life. According to NASA, the exoplanet rotates too close to its star, making it unable to sustain life.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Double Your Dollars

Cecil the Lion: New Details Emerge into the Moments Before He Was Shot

Friday, July 31st, 2015 by

Posted in World News

Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The American dentist who acknowledged earlier this week that he shot Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe had “no idea” that he had killed a beloved and famous lion who was wearing a GPS tracking collar, according to the tour guide’s lawyer.

Professional hunter and guide Theo Bronkhorst was with Dr. Walter Palmer when he killed the lion in a national park, which has garnered worldwide outrage.

Bronkhorst’s lawyer shed new details about what the hunters say took place moments before the lion was killed.

“It was a usual hunting trip. And according to my client, nothing was illegal about the hunt,” Givemore Muvhiringi told ABC News in a Skype interview.

Muvhiringi said only after Palmer had killed Cecil did they realize this was a known lion who was wearing a GPS tracking collar.

“My client did not realize this lion was a collared lion until it had been shot. So it wasn’t his intention to kill such a famous lion,” he said.

Palmer responded later Tuesday, saying in a statement that he “deeply” regretted the pursuit of the early July hunt in Zimbabwe that “resulted in the taking of this lion.” He added that he “had no idea” Cecil the lion was a “known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study. 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.”

Pressure is mounting for Palmer to face some sort of justice.

“A lot of people are angry, but I think at this stage, let’s allow justice to take its course,” Muvhiringi added.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has opened its own investigation, but has so far been unable to reach Walter Palmer. Officials are asking Palmer to contact them immediately.

The outrage over Cecil’s death is now being heard loud and clear in Washington. A WhiteHouse. gov petition urging U.S. authorities to extradite Palmer has more than 100,000 signatures, which means the Obama administration will have to respond.

Meanwhile in Zimbabwe, Oppah Muchinguri, the country’s environment, water and climate minister, said he is seeking to extradite Palmer.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Man Describes Finding Piece That Could Unravel MH370 Mystery

Friday, July 31st, 2015 by

Posted in World News

YANNICK PITOU/AFP/Getty Images(PARIS) — Johnny Begue and his friend were out looking for stones earlier this week on Reunion Island when he stumbled upon a piece of an airplane wing washed up on the sand.

“I asked my friend to come help pick it up. First we thought that we’d use it as a piece of decoration and then we thought because it’s a piece of plane, we should probably call the police,” Begue, 46, told ABC News Friday.

The piece was discovered on Wednesday by Begue and may be the first item anyone has seen of the doomed Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared in March 2014 with 293 people on board. Investigators are treating the airplane part, believed to be a “flaperon,” as a major lead into the disappearance of the plane.

Based on a part number that was visible in pictures, Boeing workers believe it came from a 777, the same type of plane as MH370, according to a U.S. official. MH370 is the only missing 777 jet in the world.

Begue is still getting used to the significance of the find.

“I feel like maybe it’s God that sent me, I was just looking for a stone and now I think maybe God sent me so that the people that have lost their loved ones can grieve properly,” he said.

In the wake of the discovery, a tattered piece of luggage was also found on the same beach.

The origin of the piece of luggage has not been determined, but it was seized by local police for examination.

French officials said the plane part will arrive over the weekend in Toulouse, where it will undergo analysis next week.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hometown Headlines w/ Brad Barrett

Arson Attack in West Bank Kills Palestinian Toddler, Injures Four

Friday, July 31st, 2015 by

Posted in World News

iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) — An arson attack in the West Bank killed a Palestinian toddler and injured four other family members on Friday.

The Israel Defense Forces said two houses near the Palestinian city of Nablus were set ablaze and sprayed painted with words in Hebrew.

The perpetrators are believed to have entered the village early Friday morning. The Israeli military is hunting them down.

“This attack against civilians is nothing short of a barbaric act of terrorism,” Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said in a statement. “A comprehensive investigation is underway in order to find the terrorists and bring them to justice.”

“The IDF strongly condemns this deplorable attack and has heightened its efforts in the field to locate those responsible,” Lerner added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also condemned the attack, calling it an “act of terrorism” and a “reprehensible and horrific act.”

“The State of Israel takes a strong line against terrorism regardless of who the perpetrators are. I have ordered the security forces to use all means at their disposal to apprehend the murderers and bring them to justice forthwith,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Taliban Names Mullah Omar’s Successor

Friday, July 31st, 2015 by

Posted in World News

iStock/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) — A day after confirming the death of its leader, Mullah Omar, the Taliban has named his successor.

Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor will serve as the group’s new leader, the Taliban confirmed in a statement Friday. He was appointed by senior religious leaders and Taliban council.

The group also appointed Sirajuddin Haqani and Mawlavi Haibatullah, a senior judge for the Taliban, as deputies.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Loyal Listeners Club

US Intel Assessment Suggested That MH370 Taken Off Course: Source

Friday, July 31st, 2015 by

Posted in World News

YANNICK PITOU/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — U.S. intelligence agencies put together an assessment in the wake of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 indicating that the plane was deliberately taken off course, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

The assessment — made months ago and concerning what most likely happened to the plane, which disappeared in March 2014 — also said that the Boeing 777 was potentially deliberately downed, the source said.

However, according to the source, the assessment “doesn’t matter” and was built on information that intelligence officials could glean about the foreign investigation into the disappearance.

Those foreign investigators “are the ones who ultimately will make the conclusion” of what happened to MH370.

The revelation comes as investigators were trying to piece together whether an airplane part that washed up on the shore of Reunion Island came from the doomed flight.

Based on a part number that was visible in pictures, Boeing workers believe it came from a 777, the same type of plane as MH370, according to a U.S. official.

In the wake of the discovery, a worker found a tattered piece of luggage on the same beach.

The origin of the piece of luggage has not been determined, but it was seized by local police for examination.

Investigators were treating the airplane part, believed to be a “flaperon,” as a major lead into the disappearance of the plane.

Flaperons help to stabilize the plane, especially at low speeds such as takeoff and landing.

“If this wreckage [is] from MH370, it’s an important breakthrough, particularly for families,” said Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss. “The families who have been involved with this long, long, long, long wait, for them to have some degree of closure would be great comfort.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

MH370 Probe: Recovered Airplane Part May Hold Clues About How Jet Went Down, Expert Says

Thursday, July 30th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

(NEW YORK) — The type of damage sustained by a piece of airplane debris that washed ashore on an island near Madagascar suggests that the plane likely did not suffer a high-speed, nose-down impact, one expert tells ABC News.

The debris, which engineers believe probably came from a Boeing 777, has sparked renewed speculation about the plight of MH370, a Boeing 777 that vanished on the way to Beijing in March 2014.

Authorities, who have not yet said definitively whether the debris comes from the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines jet, are nevertheless treating the piece of debris as a major lead in the case.

Based on preliminary observations, Former NTSB Aviation Safety Director Tom Haueter says the part –- identified by Malaysia Airlines as a “flaperon,” a wing component used for balance –- appears to have a pristine leading edge. The rear section, called the trailing edge, appears to be missing.

“To me, it indicates that it was not a high speed, high angle impact, because if that had happened, the leading edge would be crushed,” Haueter, an ABC News contributor, said. “What I don’t see is a severe nose down impact.”

The condition of the debris suggests the flaps were down at the time of the crash, possibly indicating that “somebody’s controlling the aircraft,” when it hit the water, said Haueter.

“The airplane wouldn’t have done that on its own,” he added. But if “you’re trying to land or ditch the airplane – you’d have the flaps folded down.”

Authorities are transporting the recovered debris to France for further examination.

Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappeared on March 8, 2014 with 239 passengers on board, all of whom are presumed dead. Investigators have spent the last year and a half combing the Indian Ocean for the wreckage.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Song of The Day

Mexico City Bans Cages, Restraints at Facilities for People With Disabilities

Thursday, July 30th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

ABC News traveled to Mexico City, Mexico, with Disability Rights International recently as the advocacy group investigated the conditions of state-funded facilities where children, some of them with disabilities, are left to grow up. ABC News(MEXICO CITY) — A Mexico City official said the city would ban the use of restraints and cages on children under its care and work to get many into homes, after a Disability Rights International and ABC News joint investigation uncovered youth, some with disabilities, living in deplorable conditions in government-funded facilities.

“Effective immediately Mexico City will ban the use of restraints and cages,” said Secretary Jose Ramon Amieva of the Ministry for Social Development.

Though the streets of Mexico City teem with signs of the country’s growing wealth — the total net worth of Mexico’s billionaires is now more than $144 billion, according to Forbes — in the shadows, children can be found alone and neglected behind locked doors and windows.

On July 22, advocacy group Disability Rights International, which has worked in Mexico for more than 20 years, released a report — “No Justice: Torture, Trafficking and Segregation in Mexico” — detailing its findings after a yearlong focus on the children, some with disabilities, growing up in state institutions.

In its report, Disability Rights International also said that it had obtained a so-called “black list” — dated November 2013 and created by the Mexican government — of 25 facilities where children continued to be left permanently, despite the Mexican government’s declaring those sites abusive or in very bad condition.

One such facility that ABC News visited along with Disability Rights International recently featured a maze of locked doors. Padlocks on every door and every window. The children that lived there were of varying ages. Some had disabilities, some were dropped off by the government and others had been released from detention centers.

Disability Rights International said that even though the Mexican government had placed the facility on its black list, the government’s funding had kept the building going. Priscila Rodriguez of Disability Rights International said the public was not aware of this list.

“It’s horrible,” Rodriguez said about the children’s living conditions at another site. “This is a terrifying place.”

At a different facility, advocates like nurse Karen Green McGowan found children with disabilities and of different ages locked up in rows and rows of cages.

“They don’t know what they’re doing,” Green McGowan told ABC News. “They don’t have a lot of other tools.”

The directors of the sites, however, told ABC News that the child residents had a good quality of life, that they were clean and fed and that they had a place to live.

“The government is totally abandoning these children” said Eric Rosenthal, the founder of Disability Rights International. “It is total abandonment. Mexico is falling short. These are fundamental human rights violations.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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