ABC Digital News
(NEW YORK) -- MLB: New York Yankees 3 (8-6) - Chicago Cubs 0 (4-9) - Game 1
Baltimore Orioles 3 (7-7) - Tampa Bay Rays 0 (7-8)
Cincinnati Reds 4 (6-9) - Pittsburgh Pirates 0 (7-8)
Milwaukee Brewers 4 (11-4) - St. Louis Cardinals 1 (9-6)
Toronto Blue Jays - Minnesota Twins - Postponed
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 21:55:00 PM
(NEW YORK) -- Valerie Harper was excited to share news of her improving health with a magazine this week.
However, the former Dancing with the Stars contestant is clarifying what she is calling an "erroneous quote" in Closer Weekly magazine, in which she reportedly declared herself "absolutely cancer-free."
"I am not 'absolutely cancer-free.' I wish I were," she said in a statement. "Right now what I am is cautiously optimistic about my present condition and I have hope for the future."
Last March, Harper, 74, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. At the time, doctors told her she could have just a few more months to live. However, a few weeks ago, her medical team was astounded by her test results.
"[The oncologist] looked at the scans and said, ‘Oh my God, Valerie, this is very encouraging!'" she said. "I’m now the poster child for not believing everything I’m told."
Harper, who will appear on the Hallmark Channel's new series, Signed, Sealed, Delivered, said that her doctor will not use the term "remission" — "He likes to say, 'I give you a treatment, and it’s either responsive or nonresponsive — and you are having a phenomenal response,'" she said. However, she noted that she feels much better. She's also cutting down her visits to the doctor to just once every eight weeks, and she's taking a "pulse dose" of medication once each week.
"There may come a time when I'm not feeling good," she said. "But then again, that time may never come."'
ABC News has reached out to Closer Weekly for comment but has not yet received a response.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 18:46:09 PM
(NEW YORK) -- What a difference a day makes.
Solid earnings reports and a smaller slowdown in China's growth than many had feared pushed stocks higher for the third day in a row.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 16,424.85 -- a 162-point advance. The Nasdaq Composite added 52 points to close at 4,086.23. The S&P 500 rose 19 points to 1,862.31.
Both the Dow and S&P indices saw their best three-day gains since Feb. 11.
Yahoo rose 6 percent, benefiting from its lucrative investments in Asia.
Meanwhile, airline stocks rose sharply, with Delta gaining 5 percent, JetBlue up 6 percent and American gaining 5 percent.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 18:23:17 PM
(PITTSBURGH) -- It would be a cultural shift, but the Obama administration is hoping to change the perception of two- and four-year universities and what is needed for success.
Through two new skills-training programs, utilizing grant money announced in 2010, the administration is encouraging a competition to foster courses developed by industry at the community college level and an apprentice job scholarship program.
President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden appeared at a community college in Pittsburgh Wednesday to announce $500 million in grant funding for community college job-training programs and $100 million in funding for apprenticeship grants.
Speaking in an auto bay where students at the Community College of Allegheny County learn “mechatronics” -- “It sounds like something Godzilla would be fighting,” Obama said -- the two elaborated on the need for middle-class opportunities and presented a view of a rebounding U.S. economy in which companies are ready to add jobs but are having trouble finding skilled workers to fill them.
“In today’s economy it has never been more important to make sure that our folks are trained for the jobs that are there and the jobs of the future,” he said. “Find out what are the jobs that need to be filled and make sure folks are being trained and matched to those good jobs. We have to move away from a train and pray approach. We train them and we pray that they get a job.
“The problem there is when they go to a community college, when they go to four-year university, they are taking on debt. They are straining their budgets. We have to make sure it pays off for them. So we need to take a job-driven approach.”
Before the event the president and VP received a tour of the school and met with mechatronics students enrolled in a 360-hour program, who showed them a motor-control system, which was set up to simulate a garage door opener.
Obama joked with the students, “We’re lawyers, we barely understand garage door openers.”
The administration cites that 87 percent of apprentices are employed after completing their programs with an average starting salary of $50,000.
The president has mentioned community colleges many times but has fallen short of his initial plans to add over $10 billion in funding to them through grants.
He launched an American Growth Initiative in 2009 that was to inject community colleges with sweeping new funds. Here’s Slate’s Christopher Beam on that push in July 2009:
“Community colleges don’t get a lot of respect. Except, as of this week, from President Obama. In a speech Tuesday in Warren, Mich., he proposed sinking nearly $12 billion into revamping the country’s community-college system. The plan would provide $9 billion in grant money to boost academic programs and raise graduation rates, plus another $2.5 billion to upgrade school facilities. It would also fund open-source online courses so that schools don’t have to build more classrooms to admit more students.”
The $500 million Obama announced Wednesday isn’t new, according to the American Association of Community Colleges (AAOC); it’s the fourth installment of $2 billion in funding Congress passed in 2009, in lieu of Obama’s original proposal.
A congressional aide confirmed that, after the CBO scored Democrats’ 2009 student-loan bill less favorably on a second pass, education funding was less than what the president and Democrats had initially hoped. Community-college funding was one of the programs that felt the axe.
“It had a very bittersweet ending for us,” David Baime, vice president of government relations for AAOC, told ABC News. While the group was “very pleased” to get $2 billion in grant funding for community colleges, Baime said, “unofficially we were very upset.”
Obama, while not necessarily more supportive of community colleges than other presidents, has nonetheless put a valuable spotlight on them, Baime told ABC.
The vice president joined Obama for the tour, introducing the president as “a buddy of mine.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 18:06:30 PM
(NEW YORK) -- The law firm that wrote the Chris Christie-sponsored report clearing the governor of any wrongdoing in the New Jersey bridge scandal made a sizable donation to the Republican Governors Association, which Christie heads, days before the report’s release.
The law firm of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher donated $10,000 to the RGA nine days before it released a report -- paid for by New Jersey taxpayers -- blaming September’s lane closures to the George Washington Bridge solely on aides and allies and pinning no responsibility on the governor, as reported Wednesday in The Record of North Jersey.
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher lawyers were paid $650 per hour for their work examining documents surrounding the lane closure that led to their report released March 24. The law firm made its donation to the RGA March 18, according to tax records.
Christie spoke exclusively with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer the same day the report was released, telling her he was “relieved” to have the facts.
He rejected any suggestion that the outside law firm appointed by his office would “whitewash” its findings to protect him.
“These people have their own professional and personal reputations,” he said. “Six of them were former federal prosecutors. They’re not going to whitewash anything for me and put their reputations at stake.”
The Los Angeles-based law firm defended its actions.
“Gibson Dunn’s annual contributions to the Republican Governors Association long predate our retention by the Office of the Governor and even predate when the current Governor was first elected to office,” Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher spokeswoman Pearl Piatt said in a statement to ABC News Wednesday.
“The firm has donated to the RGA since 2009 at the behest of Bill Kilberg, a partner in the firm’s Washington, DC office who has served on the RGA’s Executive Roundtable since 2009.”
Christie’s office directed ABC News to Gibson, Dunn for comment.
The Record also reported: “The law firm made two donations to the Republican Governors Association in 2012 each for $10,000, one on Feb. 20 and the other on Dec. 31 of that year. The group donated $15,000 in 2011 and $10,000 in 2010 and 2009.”
It has not donated to the Democratic Governors Association this year, nor the previous two years.
The Republican Governors Association announced in early April that it had raised $23.5 million in the first quarter of 2014, doubling the amount raised at the same time in 2010.
Association officials have not responded to ABC News’ request for comment.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 17:50:42 PM
(HOUSTON) -- The Houston Astros called up highly touted outfielding prospect George Springer on Wednesday.
"We've got a Springer in our step! Welcome @gspringer_4 to the Houston Astros!," the team tweeted on Wednesday.
Springer was selected 11th overall by the Astros out of UConn in the 2011 amateur draft and had 37 homers and 108 RBIs with 45 stolen bases while in Double-A and Triple-A last year. Springer continued his hot streak this year and was batting .308 with three homers and eight RBI's.
The Astros are five games back of the Oakland Athletics and 5-9 in their first season in the A.L. West division.
Springer will make his debut Wednesday night against the Kansas City Royals at home.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 16:12:00 PM
(BOSTON) -- The man accused in a hoax on the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon attacks was ordered held on $100,000 bail when he appeared briefly in court Wednesday.
In a blue V-neck prison smock, 25-year-old Kevin Edson stood while prosecutor Susan Terry told the judge Edson left a backpack containing a rice cooker at the finish line of the marathon Tuesday night.
The device Edson had was not an actual explosive, police said.
A doctor said Edson has a history of psychiatric disturbances and was off his medication, while prosecutors said Edson told police he knew what he was doing.
The two suspicious bags -- only one of which police say they believe the man dropped -- were both exploded Tuesday evening after the suspect had been detained for questioning.
"With the marathon coming, we are taking it serious," Boston Police Officer Randall Halstead said. "Our officers are trained in looking for any kind of suspicious activity, and when it is brought to their attention or they notice it, which was in this case, they act upon it."
The race takes place on April 21, but Tuesday was a day of remembrance in Boston, a year after bombings at the finish line killed three and injured 264.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 15:55:43 PM
(WASHINGTON) -- Washington’s cherry blossoms have become an iconic image of springtime in the nation’s capital. And while the trees can be appreciated solely for the ethereal beauty they cast on the shores of the Potomac River, the historical roots of the trees are more complicated.
Ann McClellan, a recognized expert on the trees who has written two books on Washington’s annual festival celebrating the blossoms, told the ABC News/Yahoo! News series Power Players that the first trees given to Washington from Japan in 1910 were a symbol of international friendship.
“When they gave the gift of trees they were really giving something of themselves, because they were grateful to the United States for brokering the treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the Russo-Japanese War,” McClellan said. “It was the first time Japan was treated as a bona fide member of the international community.”
The trees were given in honor of then-first lady Helen Taft, wife of the 27th president William Taft, who had developed an interest in the blossoming trees from her travels to Japan and was working to beautify the park area around today’s tidal basin, which was a swampland at the time.
“Mrs. Taft had seen the trees, not blooming but saw how they were planted and thought Washington, which was just under construction at that time, would be a great place for them, and boy was she right,” McClellan said.
Japan sent thousands of full-grown trees to Washington to beautify the park, but those trees would never be planted on the shores of the Potomac. After the Department of Agriculture inspected the trees, it was determined that the trees had to be destroyed.
“Of course, trees that have been in the ground have bugs, worms and all sorts of pests,” McClellan said. “So the Department of Agriculture inspected them, deemed them impossible, and forced them to be burned.”
The final decision to burn Japan’s gift was made by President Taft himself. But instead of causing a diplomatic crisis, Japan sent 3,000 more trees in 1912 that met the Department of Agriculture’s standards and were the start of the trees that still line the tidal basin today.
The trees, though planted successfully, were planted incorrectly.
“In 1912, when they planted the gift, the gift came with instructions; it was in Japanese, and nobody bothered to read it,” McClellan said. “Instead of planting the trees in groves and alleés as the instructions recommended, we instead planted them close together along the water’s edge of the tidal basin.”
The mistake meant that the growth of the trees was irreversibly stunted, McClellan said: “What that does is it creates this lovely cloudlike effect because the branches intersect but it means that they can't grow to their full height. ...We're all agog, so it's fine, but that is one of the reasons they tend to be a little smaller here.”
Since Mrs. Taft, first ladies have continued to play an instrumental role in maintaining the cherry blossoms.
“The first ladies have been very involved...especially Lady Bird Johnson was involved in them and the Japanese gave a gift of several thousand trees in her honor. Those are planted around the Washington Monument,” McClellan said.
For more about the trees, including McClellan’s cautions about the permanent damage that people cause to the trees by plucking their blossoms, check out this episode of Power Players.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 15:31:32 PM
(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- Miley Cyrus is being forced to cancel another concert because of illness.
The singer, 21, who was hospitalized in Kansas City on Tuesday for a "severe allergic reaction" to antibiotics, is not being discharged, she revealed. The Kansas City show was canceled Tuesday night.
"I can't get a hold of my team because it is so early so I want to be the one to tell my fans especially the ones trekking to get there," she tweeted. "the hospital is sayin i wont b released today?? therefore Im not going 2 make it 2 St Louis. Im so sorry but somethings are outta my control."
Cyrus also hit back at critics who accused her of slacking off during her international Bangerz tour.
"humans can b so selfish. if any1 thinks id rather b layin n a hospital bed than doing what i love on stage theyre f----n LAME," she tweeted. "im miserable."
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 15:22:56 PM
(NEW YORK) -- Google's "Project Ara," an affordable smartphone with swappable and customizable hardware, could be the next big thing to shake up the mobile market.
Details of the phone were unveiled at the first Ara developer's conference on Tuesday, when leader Paul Eremenko announced it would go on sale early next year and retail for about $50.
"It’s about getting exactly what you want in a phone,” Patrick Moorhead, principal technology analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy told ABC News. "For a lot of people, their primary reason for buying a phone could be social media. For another person it could be taking pictures. For other people it may be gaming. It’s all about customization."
According to Google's "Project Ara" module developer's kit, users will be able to build on to a basic structural framework to customize their phone with different modules to design a phone with the look, capability and price that they want.
As new technology comes to market, users won't have to wait for a new phone and can instead just swap in the modules, empowering users to customize their technology.
Essentially, it's an a la carte phone and consumers are allowed to choose the extra bells and whistles they want to use or swap out on any given day.
While the lower price point could make the phone more accessible to the developing world, Moorhead predicts "Project Ara" will have an impact in tech-hungry markets where individuals' smartphones "mean everything to them."
"Some people will want modular and others will go thinner," he said. "I think the market will decide where it goes from there."
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 14:50:57 PM
(SEOUL, South Korea) -- Survivors of the ferry that sank off the coast of South Korea told harrowing tales of confusion and desperation as people slid along the floor of the sharply listing ship, colliding with one another, or found themselves trapped in cabins by a wall of water.
Rescued passengers said that immediately after they heard a booming noise, the ship began listing and they heard an announcement over the ship’s PA system telling the passengers to stay in place.
“The baggage was falling out, and we were saying ‘What’s going on?’ But the announcement told us to stay where we were, so we did,” one rescued student told MBC News, a Korean news agency.
"The ship began tilting all of a sudden, and then people started skidding down from above," rescued passenger Young-Ja Shin told SBS News. "There was a railing, so I held onto it, but I then got hit by one of the falling people and we got pushed down to the bottom."
"It took about 10 seconds to tilt over, and then I began sliding from end to end," rescued passenger Eun-Bok Jang, 50, told SBS News. "I got hit on my side and then I couldn't breathe."
The vessel tipped over completely on its side, and there was mass confusion inside the ferry as refrigerators and other things fell over, Jang said.
When the water started rushing in, many passengers put on life vests and escaped outside. But by the time that announcements told passengers to make their way out, the ship had already submerged significantly, so there were few exits that could be used for escape, rescued passengers said.
Many passengers were gathered in the entertainment center, restaurants and shops on the third floor of the 5-deck ship, but when the ferry capsized, that third floor was fully submerged, authorities told the Yonhap news agency. There was most likely a power outage immediately after the ship capsized, so confused and frantic passengers probably had a hard time finding their way out in the dark and narrow passage ways.
"When we were making our way out, the wall was almost all water, and it was completely submerged up to the third floor," survivor In-Hwan Kang, 58, told MBC.
So-Hyun Kim, a teacher accompanying the more than 300 students from Danwon High School in Ansan, said she initially stayed in her cabin because of the announcements, but had to attempt an escape when water came rushing in.
"I couldn't go anywhere. I didn't have the strength to climb further up," she told SBS News. "There was an open emergency exit, so another teacher and I decided to just fall and swim our way toward it. I fell and hit a railing, and that's when I was rescued."
Of the 475 passengers on board the ferry, 164 were rescued. Another 295 were listed as missing.
Rescuers were seen boarding the vessel, which had tipped to its side, and combing through the top of the ship for survivors. One man boarded the boat and quickly found what appeared to be a crew member still on it.
Bodies could be seen scattered through the water in another video shot from a helicopter. A yellow raft was tossed out of the chopper and survivors in the water swam toward it before they were pulled to safety.
Others were winched in slings to the safety of hovering helicopters.
As darkness fell, the ferry took on more water and only the rudder of the vessel remained visible before the ship sank about 100 feet below the water. Rescuers stopped searching for the 294 people who are still reported missing at about 7 p.m. due to strong currents and poor visibility, but they resumed their mission around 12:30 a.m. local time, taking advantage of a lull in the strong currents.
One rescued passenger said he believed that many people had been trapped inside the ferry when it sank.
The ferry, identified as the Sewol, was sailing to the southern island of Jeju when it sent a distress call as it began leaning to one side. The passengers include more than 300 students from Danwon High School in Ansan, near Seoul, who were on a school trip.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 14:13:22 PM
(BOSTON) -- A federal judge in Boston ruled Wednesday that accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be allowed to view the autopsy photos of his alleged victims, a move that the prosecution had argued would “re-victimize” the families of the dead.
Tsarnaev was not in court when Judge George O’Toole announced the ruling at a pre-trial hearing, shortly before the defense and prosecution began arguments concerning Tsarnaev’s visitation procedures.
In mid-March the prosecution had filed a motion requesting that Tsarnaev be barred from seeing some of the autopsy photos of those killed when two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon a year ago Tuesday. The bombs, allegedly planted by Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan, killed three people, including an 8-year-old boy, and injured some 260 others. Days later the brothers also allegedly murdered MIT police officer Sean Collier.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police hours after Collier was attacked. Dzhokhar was wounded and was later arrested. He has pleaded not guilty to 30 counts against him and could face the death penalty if convicted.
“Allowing photos of the mutilated bodies of the victims to be viewed by the man accused of mutilating them would needlessly re-victimize the family members in the same way that innocent children who are photographed pornographically are re-victimized whenever those photos are seen by others,” Assistant United States Attorney Nadine Pelligrini argued in a court filing last month. The restriction, the government said, would be limited to those images not entered as evidence in the trial.
In an opposition motion filed days later, Dzhokhar’s defense team argued that the prosecutors’ request was “unwarranted and publicly aggravates the very sensibilities and interests in dignity and privacy that the government seeks to protect.”
“In their collective experience, defense counsel are unaware of any case in which access to autopsy photographs has been conditioned on advance agreement not to review them with their client,” the defense wrote. “Decisions about what discovery materials must be shown to the defendant in order to prepare the defense should be left to the sound discretion of defense counsel.”
Dzhokhar’s trial is scheduled to begin in November. Boston will host the marathon again this year on Monday with 36,000 runners competing.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 12:43:03 PM
(SEOUL, South Korea) -- Nearly 300 people are missing after a ferry carrying 462 passengers, many of them students, sank in cold waters off South Korea’s southern coast Wednesday.
So far, four deaths have been reported with 164 people having been rescued. A female crew member and a male student are among the fatalities.
The ferry, identified as the Sewol, was sailing from the port of Incheon in the northwest to the southern island of Jeju when it sent a distress call as it began leaning to one side.
Coast Guard crews tried to break into the ferry, searching for anyone left behind, but they have been unable to do so since the vessel has sunk more than 100 feet below the water's surface.
The reason for the crash is still unknown, but officials are looking into the possibility that it may have hit a reef.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 12:42:29 PM
(NEW YORK) -- In a world of crazy food mash-ups with one chef outdoing the next, Dominos has officially entered the arena.
Let us introduce what the brand calls its new “specialty chicken,” which is fried chicken covered with traditional pie toppings for a new take on “pizza.”
The new chicken comes in four varieties: Crispy Bacon & Tomato, Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple, Classic Hot Buffalo and Sweet BBQ Bacon. The toppings come over 12 pieces of breaded and fried boneless white meat chicken for $5.99.
“The CEO said they sell almost as much chicken as they do pizza -- more than anything else -- so this is a way of combining. They say they already have all the pizza ingredients in the stores,” ABC’s Lara Spencer reported on Good Morning America. “So why not? Starts on Monday and they say if it goes well, they’ll do more.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 11:47:58 AM
(WASHINGTON) -- Unvaccinated kids could spend 25 days at home if someone at their school develops mumps -- a contagious disease making the rounds in Columbus, Ohio.
At least 224 people in Franklin and Delaware counties have contracted the virus, which causes fever, aches and swollen glands.
The outbreak emerged at Ohio State University in January, but has since spread off-campus.
“Clearly we’re seeing a very large number of cases of mumps associated with what was first an outbreak at Ohio State and now is now a community outbreak,” said Jose Rodriguez, a spokesman for Columbus Public Health. “We continue to be concerned about those who are unprotected; those who do not have their two doses of MMR.”
The MMR vaccine guards against measles, mumps and rubella. A single dose, administered around a child’s first birthday, immunizes 95 percent of kids who get it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And a second dose, given before the child starts school, covers virtually all of the remaining 5 percent.
But not all kids are vaccinated, allowing the disease to spread through schools.
“In Columbus and Franklin County, we have at least 17 cases and growing in schools,” Rodriguez said, adding that no one school has seen more than two cases yet. “That’s when we are get really concerned, because then it becomes a cluster.”
To quash mumps clusters in public schools, any child who has not received two doses of the MMR vaccine will have to stay home for 25 days -- the incubation period of mumps -- if someone at their school contracts the virus.
“The incubation period of the disease can be as long as 25 days,” said Rodriguez, explaining that schools were notified Tuesday of the 25-day rule. “We hope that parents will give it some consideration, and if their children aren’t vaccinated, they’re able to protect them before we have an outbreak.”
Ohio requires public school children to be vaccinated, but allows medical and philosophical exemptions.
“Some children have medical conditions that don’t allow them to get vaccines,” Rodriguez said. “In the event of outbreak in a school, we want to make sure we have as many kids protected as we can.”
An estimated 1.3 percent of Ohio kindergartners have non-medical exemptions, according to CDC data.
While most mumps sufferers recover after a week or two, the disease can cause serious complications like inflammation of the testicles, ovaries and brain as well as deafness, according to the CDC.
Rodriguez said he hopes the new 25-day rule will serve as a stark warning to parents about the importance of vaccines.
“We want them to know they can go ahead and get their children vaccinated now if they haven’t,” he said. “That way kids can stay in school and learn.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 11:38:50 AM
(NEW YORK) -- The View co-host Jenny McCarthy is engaged to her boyfriend Donnie Wahlberg. McCarthy announced the news on the ABC daytime program Wednesday morning.
McCarthy recounted how the New Kids on the Block member involved her 11-year-old son Evan in the proposal.
"He went into the other room and out came Evan with a card that said 'Will' and he handed it to me...and then Evan ran away and Evan came in with a card that said 'You,' and then he ran away," she described.
McCarthy quickly figured out what was going on.
"And then Evan came back with a card that said "Marry" -- but spelled wrong. It said M-A-R-Y," she continued, laughing. "And then the last time, Donnie came out with Evan and Donnie's shirt said 'Me' with a question mark."
She added, "Of course, I said 'Yes.' In that moment Evan yelled, 'I have another dad!' and it made all of us cry and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world and he's so wonderful."
The two have been dating since last summer; they're thinking of either getting married in August, or stretching the engagement out until next year, McCarthy said.
View creator Barbara Walters then offered to host the nuptials in her New York City apartment, but quipped that they'd have to find another location for the honeymoon.
McCarthy was previously married to actor/director John Mallory Asher, who is the father of her son. They divorced in 2005; later that year she began dating Jim Carrey. They split in 2010.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 11:23:24 AM
(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- Oscar Pistorius' defense appeared to have suffered a blow Wednesday when a forensic witness who contradicted the prosecution's version of the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp was challenged on his credentials as an expert in forensics and other elements of his testimony.
The witness, Roger Dixon, was forced to admit under questioning by prosecutor Gerrie Nel that he was not an expert in forensics, pathology, ballistics, blood spatter, or sound and optics.
Dixon told the court Tuesday that Steenkamp was close to the door and angling toward the door on her right side as if she was reaching for the doorknob. He also concluded that Pistorius fired four shots through the bathroom door in quick succession.
Dixon's testimony contradicts the prosecution's forensic experts who determined that Steenkamp was facing the door when the first bullet struck her in the hip and knocked her down. Nel had also told the court that she was afraid of Pistorius and was talking to him through the locked door when he shot her.
The prosecution had also argued that Pistorius fired one shot and Steenkamp screamed before Pistorius fired three more rounds.
Pistorius, 27, is charged with murder for shooting Steenkamp, 29, before dawn on Valentine's Day 2013. He could be sentenced to at least 25 years if convicted. Pistorius, a legless paralypian sprinter known as Blade Runner, claims he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.
Dixon's testimony included a bullet-by-bullet account of Steenkamp's wounds, prompting another bout of retching by Pistorius in court.
In addition to giving a different version of how Steenkamp was shot, Dixon told the court that he helped record sounds of a cricket bat hitting against a door to show to the court that the sounds neighbors testified were the sound of gunshots could have been Pistorius breaking down the door to get to his mortally wounded girlfriend.
Nel questioned Dixon's expertise and professional affiliations.
"Are you a sound expert?" Nel asked.
"I would hope I'm a sound expert," he replied.
Nel repeated the question, referring to sound and acoustics specifically, to which Dixon said the test he did of the sound made by a cricket bat hitting a door and a gun firing was to determine whether the two could be confused.
"[The] expertise used was attempting to reconstruct the situation...I was not listening to myself making that sound," he said.
Nel asked Dixon how he conducted tests on how dark it would have been in Pistorius' bedroom when he claims he didn't know Steenkamp had gone into the bathroom.
"The instruments that I used were my eyes," Dixon said.
Dixon's qualifications as a forensics expert were also questioned by Nel, with the prosecutor getting so aggressive that the judge admonished him, "Mr. Nel, please restrain yourself.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 09:51:20 AM
(SYDNEY) -- The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Sydney Wednesday for the second half of their 19-day tour Down Under.
Prince William and Duchess Kate treated local dignitaries to a royal first upon their arrival in Australia’s largest city, introducing them to their 8-month-old son, Prince George.
George -- dressed in a white romper accented by embroidered sailboats -- was alternatively carried by his mother and father as they descended their plane at Sydney Airport and greeted well-wishers and dignitaries that included Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Kate, 32, wore a Roksanda Ilincic Ryedale dress from the London-based designer’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection that retails for around $1,500.
The vibrant yellow color of Kate’s dress paid homage to Australia’s national color but Prince William, 31, reportedly thought the dress reminded him of something else.
“William said I look like a banana,” Kate reportedly told a well-wisher.
The crowds loved William and Kate as they posed in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge while attending a reception at the Sydney Opera House. Even though the new parents left Prince George behind for the event, their son was not far from their minds.
“I suspect George’s first word might be Bilby, only because Koala is harder to say,” Prince William said in a speech, referring to the rabbit-like animals indigenous and iconic to Australia.
It was not a Bilby but a stuffed wombat, another well-known Australian animal, that Prince George was gifted by Australia’s governor-general on Wednesday. George greeted the stuffed animal with a smile, as did his father, Prince William, who was nicknamed ‘wombat’ by his mother, Princess Diana.
Prince William spoke lovingly of his late mother, Diana, who gave her son the nickname when she, Prince William and his father, Prince Charles, traveled to Australia 31 years ago.
“My mother’s deep affection for Australia -- which you were so kind to reciprocate -- needs no reminder,” William said.
Later this week, William and Kate will travel to Ayers Rock, the iconic sandstone monument that Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited as well.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 09:34:35 AM
(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) -- Michigan sophomores Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III announced Tuesday they will leave school and enter the NBA Draft.
Stauskas averaged 17.5 points and shot 44 percent from 3-point range while helping lead the Wolverines to the Elite Eight last season."For as long as I can remember I have had a goal of playing in the NBA, whether it was on my backyard court or winning the Big Ten title at Crisler Center," Stauskas said during a press conference with Robinson and Michigan head coach John Beilein. "Following some heartfelt discussions with my family, Coach Beilein and the rest of the coaching staff, I am ready to pursue my goals and begin my NBA career."Robinson, whose father played 11 seasons in the NBA, averaged 13.1 points and 4.4 rebounds a game last season:
"I have thought a lot about the next step in my career over this past year," Robinson said. "After talking with my mom, my dad, my grandma, Coach Beilein and the coaching staff, I feel the time is right for me to begin my professional career and declare for the NBA Draft. I am confident I have the work ethic, the talent and maturity to pursue this path successfully."Wolverines forward Mitch McGary, who missed most of last season due to back surgery, is still determining if he will stay in school.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 08:48:00 AM
(NEW YORK) -- After the brutal winter weather of January and February, people who use oil to heat their homes saw costs fall a bit in March along with dropping prices at the pump. However, other homeowners weren't so lucky as the price of natural gas and electricity were higher than during the comparable period in 2013.
Meanwhile, the persistent drought in the West also drove up costs of meat, produce and dairy at the supermarket. Renters were also hit harder in March as were people who tried to escape winter by vacationing in a nicer climate. High demand also pushed up hotel room prices.
Nevertheless, inflation remains at about 1.5 percent, a half-percent lower than what's acceptable to the government.
While most people can deal with this inflation rate, it's those who live from paycheck-to-paycheck who were most affected by the various higher prices in March.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 07:35:38 AM
(BOSTON) -- A man was charged Tuesday with possession of a hoax device, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace after two suspicious bags were found near the finish line of the Boston Marathon amid stepped-up security on the anniversary of the bombings that shook the city a year ago.
The device the suspect -- identified as Kayvon Edson -- had was a rice cooker, not an actual explosive device, police said.
The two suspicious bags -- only one of which police say they believe the man dropped -- were both exploded Tuesday evening after the suspect had been detained for questioning.
"With the marathon coming, we are taking it serious," Boston Police Officer Randall Halstead said. "Our officers are trained in looking for any kind of suspicious activity, and when it is brought to their attention or they notice it, which was in this case, they act upon it."
The race takes place on April 21, but Tuesday was a day of remembrance in Boston, a year after bombings at the finish line killed three and injured 264.
Police said the bags were left in the area of Boylston St. and Exeter St., and the road was closed. Both bags were exploded by Boston Police as a precaution.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 07:34:10 AM
(NEW YORK) -- Some people might want to rethink their views about marijuana being relatively harmless, a new study from medical school researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests.
Anne Blood, a senior study co-author, said, "There is this general perspective out there that using marijuana recreationally is not a problem -- that it is a safe drug. We are seeing that this is not the case."
For the study, the researchers examined the parts of the brain that control emotion and motivation of people ages 18-25 who don't smoke pot and those who use it casually.
What they found was abnormalities in two neural regions of the brains of the marijuana smokers, even those who use as little as the equivalent of one joint a week.
More studies will be necessary to determine how this reshaping of the brain might affect pot smokers over the long-term but for now the researchers say the findings indicate that those who believe marijuana isn't harmful may be in for a rude awakening.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 06:12:44 AM
(NEW YORK) -- It’s that time of year when people adorn their homes with the flowers of the holiday season, such as Easter lilies.
But while these flowers might look great on your coffee table, they can be murder on your cats -– literally.
Health officials at the Federal Drug Administration warn cat owners to keep Easter lilies -- and in fact, all flowers in the lily family -- out of the reach of cats because the animals can become deathly ill if they happen to chew on the petals or leaves.
FDA veterinarian Melanie McLean says toxins in lilies cause kidney failure in cats, which may start as vomiting, followed by frequent urination and then failure to urinate. Death can result within four-to-seven days after ingesting the toxins.
At the first sign of illness, cat owners should bring their pet to the vet, who will treat it with intravenous liquids to keep the kidneys functioning.
While dogs aren’t as susceptible to getting sick from Easter lilies, a Lily of the Valley is dangerous as well to canines. Other plants pets should stay away from are aloe vera, Daphne, Kalanchoe, foxglove and yew bushes.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 06:08:44 AM
(NEW YORK) -- The religious drama Heaven Is For Real opens nationwide on Wednesday.
Greg Kinnear plays a pastor, Todd Burpo, whose young son amazes him when he claims he visited heaven during a near-death experience.
British actress Kelly Reilly co-stars as the pastor's wife, while newcomer Connor Corum takes on the role of the son, Colton. Margo Martindale and Thomas Haden Church also star in Heaven Is For Real, which is based on the best-selling book by the real-life Todd Burpo.
The film is rated PG.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 05:37:14 AM
(WASHINGTON) -- “A marathon is a celebration of life and endurance and the human spirit,” Rep. Kyrsten Sinema says. “Runners are such a tight-knit community. Even if we don’t know each other, we treat each other like friends.”
Next week, Sinema, a freshman Democrat from Arizona, will be one of two members of Congress running in the 118th Boston Marathon, joining Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass.
“Boston is like the Holy Grail of running events,” she told ABC News. “I never thought I would ever find my toe at the starting line at Boston.”
Sinema, 37, is running in honor of Martin Richard, the eight-year-old boy killed by the first blast in last year’s twin bombing. She says she has raised $20,000 for Team MR8, a charity established in memory of Martin by his parents.
Of the 36,000 racing bibs available for the historic occasion, 5,500 slots are reserved for charity runners like Sinema, a self-described “endurance runner” who would not qualify based on speed. She said Martin’s parents chose her and a friend to run in honor of their son.
“I’m so privileged to be running in honor of Martin Richard and for the other victims and survivors,” she said. “That is a big responsibility to carry to that start line and to carry those 26.2 miles across that finish line, so I’m going to spend those four-plus hours with Martin and the other victims and survivors in my heart.”
While most members of Congress would probably struggle to run even one mile, Sinema says she has completed eight marathons as well as an Iron Man triathlon.
“This is going to be by far the most emotional marathon I’ve ever run,” she admitted.
Sinema calculates that she runs about 40 miles per week at a pace of about 10:30 per mile. Her best finish came this January in Phoenix when she completed the P.F. Chang's Rock N'Roll Marathon in 4 hours and 29 minutes.
“If I’m having a good day on Monday, I can smash that record, so that’s my intention,” she pledged. “It’s also the most exciting course in the world and it’s going to be a really, really emotional day so I have my fingers crossed that that will bring me across the finish line faster.”
Sinema is also holding several events this week in her district to continue raising money for others touched by the tragedy. In addition to Team MR8, she says she has raised nearly $10,000 for One Fund Boston, the foundation established by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to support the victims and survivors, and $4,000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Greater New England.
So after last year’s horrific bombings, is she concerned at all about the security surrounding the marathon?
“I have zero concerns about security,” she said. “The City of Boston has done an incredible job preparing for this marathon and I have 100 percent confidence that it’ll be a flawless event.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/16/2014 05:01:08 AM
(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- Miley Cyrus cancelled her North Carolina concert last week due to the flu. Now, the singer's in the hospital, and her show Tuesday night in Kansas City has been called off.
A statement posted on the website of the Sprint Center in Kansas City reads, "Miley Cyrus' 'Bangerz' tour date scheduled for Tuesday night, April 15, at Sprint Center in Kansas City has been cancelled. Cyrus has been hospitalized for a severe allergic reaction to antibiotics and has been placed on medical rest by her doctors. She will not be able to perform as scheduled."
The statement goes on say that refunds will be available at the point of purchase; tickets purchased online or by phone will be refunded automatically.
Shortly after the cancellation was announced, Miley tweeted, "Kansas I promise Im as [symbol of a heart breaking] as you are. I wanted so badly 2 b there 2night. [symbol of a cat crying] Not being with yall makes me feel shi**ier than I already do."
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 23:38:14 PM
(NEW YORK) -- MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates 8 (7-6) – Cincinnati Reds 7 (4-9) completion of Monday’s game
Cincinnati Reds 7 (5-9) – Pittsburgh Pirates 5 (7-7)
Miami Marlins 11 (6-9) – Washington Nationals 2 (8-6)
Texas Rangers 5 (7-7) – Seattle Mariners 0 (7-6)
Kansas City Royals 4 (5-7) – Houston Astros 2 (5-9)
St. Louis Cardinals 6 (9-5) – Milwaukee Brewers 1 (10-4)
Atlanta Braves (9-4) @ Philadelphia Phillies (6-7) (postponed due to inclement weather)
Chicago Cubs (4-8) @ New York Yankees (7-6) (postponed due to inclement weather)
Tampa Bay Rays (7-7) @ Baltimore Orioles (6-7) (postponed due to inclement weather)
Cleveland Indians (6-7) @ Detroit Tigers (6-4) (postponed due to inclement weather)
New York Mets 9 (7-7) - Arizona Diamondbacks 0 (4-13)
Toronto Blue Jays 9 (8-6) - Minnesota Twins 3 (6-7)
Chicago White Sox 2 (8-6) - Boston Red Sox 1 (5-9)
NBA: New York Knicks 109 (36-45) – Brooklyn Nets 98 (44-37)
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 23:19:40 PM
(LOS ANGELES) -- Brandy Norwood is back on the market.
The singer and her music exec fiancé, Ryan Press, split before the singer's 35th birthday in February, her rep confirmed to ABC News.
"They are both taking a step back actually. That’s what they both wanted to do," the rep said. "They’re friends and I think it’s the mature thing to do in a relationship is just evaluate where you are and move forward. The great thing is that they are friends and definitely that’s an important part and he’s still supportive of what she’s doing."
Norwood, who has a daughter from a previous relationship, and Press announced their engagement last year.
Last month, her brother, singer Ray J, told ABC News Radio that he's "protective" over his older sister.
"Every guy is crazy," he said, when asked whom he'd like to see her date. "I know I am so I just want to make sure she's happy and then I got her back -- whatever she wants to do."
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 22:49:18 PM
(ROME) -- A financially desperate Italy has put an island in the Venice lagoon up for auction to help pay off its public debt. The Venetian island of Poveglia is one of a range of historic sites that Italy has put on sale, including a Catholic pilgrimage site and a 15th-century bastion.
Italy hopes the sale of these properties will bring its debt in line with European Union regulations. The government owns more than half a million commercial and residential properties that Italians and foreigners will have the chance to bid for online.
In the past 13 years, Italy has raised $2.5 billion by selling off state property. It expects to earn another $700 million more this year through the sales.
As a move to make the properties more enticing, Italy has cut down the number of permits needed to restore historic sites.
The auction is open until May 6.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 22:30:05 PM
(OVERLAND PARK, Mo.) -- The former KKK leader accused of murdering three people at two Jewish centers in Kansas was pen pals with Kevin Harpham, the man who plotted to bomb the MLK Day parade in Spokane, Wash., in 2011, the government says.
ABC News acquired from prosecutors copies of the postcards and letters they allegedly exchanged in March and April of that year, shortly after Harpham was jailed.
Frazier Glenn Miller, currently facing murder charges, encouraged Harpham to “stay strong,” and offered to help set up a legal defense fund for the convict, who later admitted to planting a backpack bomb along the parade route.
Miller appeared to believe Harpham was innocent.
“The vast majority agrees with me that you’ve been set up/framed,” Miller said in one letter.
“Your dad appeared on the TV and stated that you were living with him and caring for him during the time the crime was allegedly taking place.”
Harpham responded to Miller, thanking him for the support. He declined the legal help, referring to advice he had gotten from Alex Linder, founder of the anti-Semitic, white supremacist website Vanguard News Network.
“Alex Linder once said it is best to just take the public defender and not waste personal money on a trial and that is what I’m doing,” Harpham wrote.
At one point, Harpham wrote that he might need Miller to house-sit. He also complained about the jail’s “hard bed, limited clothing and blankets to keep warm.”
Harpham wrote that he had more to say but couldn’t put it in writing.
Miller, who appeared in court Tuesday and is being held on a $10 million bond, had other friends behind bars. He kept in touch with Joseph Paul Franklin, who was executed in Missouri last November, and Craig Cobb, a white supremacist serving time in North Dakota.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 20:36:00 PM
(GREEN BAY, Wis.) -- Backup quarterback Matt Flynn has reached an agreement on a new contract with the Green Bay Packers, according to ESPN.
The Packers selected Flynn in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL draft. He spent three seasons as Aaron Rodgers’ backup in Green Bay from 2008 to 2011. Flynn returned to the club last season, on Nov. 12, to fill in for Rodgers, who was sidelined with a broken collarbone.
In four starts with Green Bay, Flynn tossed for 1,146 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions. Rodgers returned to the gridiron in Week 17, when the Packers clinched the NFC Central title with a 33-28 win over the Chicago Bears.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 20:10:00 PM
(BOSTON) -- On the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three and injured 264 people, law enforcement officials in the city are not taking any chances. The Boston Police bomb squad has been dispatched to the area near the marathon finish line to investigate two unattended backpacks.
As a precaution, Boston Police have established a perimeter around the questionable items left in the area of Boylston Street and Exeter Street while the bomb squad investigates. Authorities asked pedestrians and drivers in tweeted safety alerts Tuesday to "avoid the area in and around the Boston Marathon Finish Line."
A Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority offcial said after the discovery of the bags, Green Line trains are not stopping at Copley Station. No other information was available.
Similar measures were taken Tuesday morning when the bomb squad was sent to an area near South Station to investigate a suspicious item that they later blew up.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 19:49:53 PM
(NEW YORK) -- Almost two years after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid repeated an unsubstantiated report that Mitt Romney did not pay taxes, one of the Romney sons fired back.
Josh Romney tweeted a photo of his father standing in line at the post office to mail his tax forms Tuesday evening.
And then it suddenly felt like we were back in the political brawl of 2012 as Ben LaBolt, a former spokesman for President Obama’s campaign, weighed in.
Pic of the vault in Zurich? MT @joshromney Hey Sen Reid here's a shot of Mitt paying taxes. Does it every yr. It's how you get yr paycheck.— Ben LaBolt (@BenLaBolt) April 15, 2014
In case you forgot about the Harry Reid-Mitt Romney tax spat, here’s a recap.
In the summer of 2012, Reid said someone who worked with Bain Capital, which Romney led, called his office to say that Romney “didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years.”
“He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” Reid told the Huffington Post in an interview. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?”
Romney denied this, saying Reid needs to reveal his source.
“Harry Reid really has to put up or shut up,” Romney said.
The book Double Down: Game Change 2012 cited Jon Huntsman Sr., whose son Jon Huntsman Jr. ran for president in 2012, as the source of the tax rumor, an accusation Huntsman denied.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 19:34:16 PM
(NEW YORK) -- Where are the best places to work in the U.S.? There's no lack of lists claiming to answer this question. Earlier Tuesday, Business Insider released its list of the 50 best places to work. It has little in common with Fortune's annual list of 100 best companies, released in January.
The lists have very few similarities and different methodologies. Fortune utilizes company surveys collected by the Great Place to Work Institute. Business Insider's methodology ranked companies in the Fortune 500 using PayScale's salary and survey database, looking at six criteria factors: high job satisfaction, low job stress, high work-schedule flexibility, high job meaning, experienced median pay, and salary delta.
Meanwhile, Outside Magazine compiled its own list of 100 best places to work with the help of the Outdoor Industry Association, a trade group, and the Best Companies Group. For that list, companies with at least 15 employees in the U.S. filled out confidential employee satisfaction surveys about benefits, compensation, job satisfaction, environmental initiatives and community outreach. Companies in Outside Magazine's list are smaller and tend to lean toward employees with a penchant for the outdoors.
Here are the four firms that show up in more than one of the three lists:
Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.
Tech giant Google has repeatedly appeared at the top of Fortune's list, but was only number eight in Business Insider's rankings.
Though Google has dropped from the number-two spot last year, Business Insider noted employees' high rates of work-schedule flexibility (83 percent) and job satisfaction (81 percent), and median pay is $127,000 after five years, which is "very high compared to industry peers."
Headquarters: San Diego, Calif.
Semiconductor company Qualcomm was 32nd in Fortune's list but 13th in Business Insider's.
Business Insider pointed out that Qualcomm employees report "high rates of work-schedule flexibility (93 percent) and job satisfaction (80 percent)," while median pay is $113,000 after five years, which is "very high compared to industry peers."
Headquarters: Sunnyvale, Calif.
Data and cloud storage company NetApp ranked 33rd in Fortune's list and 16th in Business Insider's.
Fortune wrote, "Employees at this data-management and -protection company enjoy five paid days off a year to volunteer within their community."
Headquarters: Oklahoma City, Okla.
Chesapeake Energy, which calls itself the second-largest producer of natural gas and the 10th-largest producer of oil and natural gas liquids in the U.S., came in at 51 in Fortune's list and 75 in Outside's rankings.
Outside Magazine wrote back in August: "Chesapeake has the largest corporate mentoring program in Oklahoma. Now starting its 19th year, mentors meet weekly one-on-one with more than 500 students to help with homework and serve as positive role models."
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 18:14:51 PM
(IZIUM, Ukraine) -- Ukraine’s military launched an offensive Tuesday to quell pro-Russian violence that has swept eastern Ukraine, as Russia’s prime minister tweeted an ominous message.
“There is foreboding of a civil war in #Ukraine,” Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev posted Tuesday.
In what Ukraine’s acting president has called an “anti-terrorist operation,” Ukraine’s military -- complete with helicopters loaded with special forces units -- quickly won back an occupied airfield, its first target.
There were reports of wounded pro-Russian protesters, raising fears in Washington that Moscow would use bloodshed as an excuse to invade Ukraine. Russia has repeatedly warned it may intervene to defend Russian speakers in Ukraine.
The U.S. warned of more possible sanctions Tuesday against Russia for meddling in Ukraine, and appeared cautiously supportive of the operation by Ukrainian security forces in eastern cities.
“We are obviously evaluating requests and looking at ways that we can support the Ukrainian government,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney.
“But our focus is on continuing to put pressure on Russia so that it understands that the international community is united when it comes to support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and that there is a path for Russia to take that would de-escalate the situation and ensure that it doesn’t devolve into violence.”
Amid the unrest and counter-offensive, life largely continued as normal. Most do not support the violence and fear it may spiral.
“I don’t want troops to be here,” said Kosta Kolsenik in the seized town of Sloviansk. “Really. It’s really dangerous for our people.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 18:05:27 PM
(DENVER) -- Travelers heading to Denver with a desire to "wake and bake" will have a new lodging to consider this May, when a local hospitality group launches the latest in a handful of marijuana-friendly accommodations in the area.
The MaryJane Group has announced that it will be taking over the Adagio Bed and Breakfast, a longstanding inn located in the Wyman Historic District, and relaunching it as "the first all-inclusive Bud and Breakfast," catering to clients who desire a fully immersive cannabis-infused vacation.
"When the previous owner Helen [Strader] ran it, she allowed it to be 420 friendly but all of the smoking was done outside the premises and she didn’t advertise it," Dawn Schiermeyer, the new director of lodging at the property, told ABC News. "So it’s been an easier transition for us because some people are already aware of it. But we’re in the process of modernizing the space to make it appealing to a younger crowd."
On the way out: all of the antique Victorian furnishings.
On the way in: fully renovated, themed guest rooms, marijuana-edibles from a local dispensary as well as a "humidor smoking room" on the third floor.
The Adagio 'Bud and Breakfast' joins just a handful of properties in the Denver area that have braved this uncharted travel territory. But despite such small numbers, the options are diverse.
Get High Getaways, a clothing-optional, marijuana-friendly environment, advertises a raucous yet private environment complete with female staff wearing pot-leaf pasties on its website.
Meanwhile, The Cliff House, a historic property in nearby Morrison that was built in 1864, offers eight romantic cottages and also entreats those who indulge in cannabis.
"Even with the legalization of 'Mary Jane,' finding a friendly hotel environment might not be as easy as you think," reads a blog post on The Cliff House Lodge's website. "It may take some time before others join in, but until then, we have no problem being the leader in this movement! Cliff House Lodge welcomes the responsible connoisseur."
For gourmands whose tastes extend beyond hashish, The Adagio Bud and Breakfast will also be employing an in-house chef, said Schiermeyer.
"We'll begin with a basic breakfast menu and then expand to lunch and dinner options," she said, adding that dispensary sample packages, drivers and add-on tours will be available by the beginning of May.
"Our concept is to provide our guests with a complete all-inclusive package where they can enjoy the marijuana lifestyle without having a care in the world," said Joel C. Schneider, president and CEO of The MaryJane Group, in a statement. "The Adagio is our pilot project in the marijuana-friendly lodging industry. If our concept is successful, we intend to expand through the leasing or acquisition of additional inns and bed and breakfast establishments."
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 17:34:31 PM
(OVERLAND PARK, Kan.) -- A leading white nationalist says the accused gunman in the Jewish center shootings in Kansas was a raging alcoholic who long ago lost ties with his own pro-white community.
"I think Glenn had gone insane, completely insane in recent years,” Don Black, a former Ku Klux Klan member and the founder of Stormfront, the “White Pride World Wide” website, told ABC News. "Probably because of the alcohol. But whatever it was, he did us a lot of damage this weekend.
"He killed Christians. The whole thing was completely insane. His brain has rotted,” Black added.
Glenn Frazier Miller, a former KKK leader, allegedly killed three people Sunday when he opened fire at two Jewish community centers in Kansas. The charging documents used the last name of Miller, but he was addressed as "Mr. Cross" by the judge at a hearing Tuesday. Cross is an alias used by the suspect. Bond was set at $10 million.
Miller was charged earlier Tuesday with one count of capital murder and a second count of premeditated first-degree murder. The capital murder charge makes him eligible for the death penalty.
Miller's lawyer did not return a call for comment.
Despite his reported allegiance to another anti-Semitic website, Vanguard News Network, Miller had been shunned by the white nationalism community for years, Black said.
He and Miller had a falling-out after Miller testified against fellow KKK members as part of a plea bargain in 1988, Black said.
"It doesn’t matter what side you’re on, people don’t like rats,” Black said. "He’d been a government informant testifying against personal friends of mine. He came back years later and expected to be accepted back in our circles.”
But there were other reasons Black -- who said he never allowed Miller to post on his website’s forum -- said the accused killer wasn’t welcome.
“He had a history of too much alcohol, being a blowhard generally,” Black said.
Black, 60, said he was shocked to learn Miller is the suspect in the shootings.
“I would not have anticipated his doing that,” he said. "I thought he was most mostly talk.”
Commenters on Vanguard News Network, where Miller reportedly posted under the username “Rounder,” were equally surprised.
"This is really out of character, the randomness of it,” a user named “313Chris” wrote. “Just doesn’t read like something he would do.”
Others rallied to support Miller, whose is accused of killing a 14-year-old boy and two adults in the shooting.
“Glenn Miller has more guts and courage in his little finger than these keyboard warriors have in their entire body,” a user named “SA Mann” wrote.
Sinister comments proved some of Miller’s peers approved of the bloodshed.
“He needed to go on a more crowded day,” senior member “Dan Hadaway” wrote. “It didn’t sound like it was too well thought out.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a watchdog for hate crimes, calls Black’s Stormfront “the first major hate site on the Internet.”
The group has urged authorities to read forums on sites like Stormfront and Vanguard News Network.
“It’s not like we don’t know where this type of hatred and violence is bred,” said Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center in an interview with ABC News. “These forums have to be watched very carefully within whatever the legal bounds are. This is where these people live. This is where our domestic terrorism is coming from.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 17:24:04 PM
(NEW YORK) -- On Tax Day, corporate America feels your pain.
Providers of everything from French fries to cocktails to hotel rooms to apple-scented urinal screens reading "Abolish The IRS" will be going out of their way Tuesday to try to make you feel better (or less bad, at least) about having to fork over your money to Uncle Sam.
"No taxation without relaxation" says one sympathetic hotel chain's slogan.
Some upscale deals are aimed at "the one percent," others at "the 99 percent." You'll find a wide assortment of deals, freebies and limited-time offers listed below. Some apply only to April 15, while others run longer.
For details and restrictions, and to find out whether or not a coupon may be required, we suggest you contact each provider to confirm what terms apply.
Food: Takeout and Sit Down
- For the fourth year running, Arby's will be offering free snack-sized Curly Fries on April 15 to customers who have downloaded a coupon from Arby's website.
- Orange Leaf Yogurt, at all of its 300-plus locations, is offering a soothing tax day deal on any flavor yogurt, including flavor-of-the-year, New Banana. You get a full cup for just $4.15. Customers must download a coupon to be eligible.
- $10.40 will get you a "Tax Day Deal Chicken Meal" for two at Boston Market on tax day. Each consists of half a rotisserie chicken plus a choice of two sides and cornbread. (No coupon needed.) Company CEO George Michel says in a press release that, "while no one enjoys 1040 forms," the deal gives customers something to feel good about.
- For any taxpayer willing to sing, the Hard Rock Cafe is offering a special deal on selected entrees on April 15. The "Sing For Your Supper" promotion applies to guests willing to take to the stage and sing a complete song.
- One day after tax day, Kona Ice, purveyors of gourmet shaved ice in 41 states, won't just give you a complimentary (and refreshing) cup of ice on April 16, they'll throw in a complimentary Hawaiian lei. Look for Kona Ice trucks that will be parked in community parks.
- In honor of tax day, the mixologists at the Burritt Room in San Francisco's Mystic Hotel by Charlie Palmer have created a special cocktail -- The Tax Man -- made of gin, thyme liqueur, Aperol, lemon, strawberry and seltzer. Price: $12.
- The Hotel Monaco in Chicago has an IRS (Imbibe, Relax and Save) special, which includes: $25 beverage credit, $50 in room spa credit, and no taxes on your room rate. Mention rate code "NOTAX."
- The Hotel Monaco in Portland, Ore., meantime, is offering complimentary in-chair massages to tense taxpayers during the cocktail hour on the 15th. Champagne will be on hand, should you have a refund to toast. To receive a complimentary cocktail at the adjacent Red Star Tavern, customers must present their tax return.
Novelties, Miscellaneous Services
- What better time to incorporate than right after you've had to pay a confiscatory personal tax rate? On tax day, MyCorporation is offering a promotion where filers can form either an LLC or their own corporation for free. The offer is good in all 50 states.
- On April 16, the day after tax day, Southern California's South Coast Air Quality Management District opens registration for an annual exchange program that gives the energy-conscious 75 percent off the cost of a brand-name electric lawnmower for any gas-powered mower they bring in.
- MVPee.com, which makes apple-scented urinal covers, is giving away 1,000 covers emblazoned with the words "Abolish the IRS" to the first 1,000 taxpayers who request them.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 16:20:09 PM
(DALLAS) -- Jenni Ezell, the mother of conjoined twins who will be released from Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas on Tuesday, said the family feels "relief, joy and elation."
The Ezell twins, Owen and Emmitt, were born joined from their breastbone to their hipbones, sharing several organs, including their liver and intestines. Doctors told the Ezells their babies would probably not survive for very long. If they did, it was likely they would undergo multiple painful medical procedures.
Now 9 months old, the baby boys are doing great, Ezell said. They’re being sent to a rehab facility in Dallas for several weeks to several months before finally going home to spend time with their two older brothers, 2-year-old Liam and 7-year-old Ethan.
The twins were successfully separated six weeks after their birth in August. During the nine-hour surgery, a team of surgeons separated the liver and intestines, with the most difficult part being the separation of a shared blood vessel in the liver.
Dr. Tom Renard, the lead pediatric separation surgeon, said the boys have more than doubled their size since birth and are alert and thriving. Infection is always a concern but he said he was encouraged by their progress.
“You can never predict what can happen but these little guys are definitely survivors,” he said.
David Ezell, the father of the twins, said the family is relieved the babies are leaving the hospital, but they’re nervous, too.
“I’ll finally have my family together but we are about to face some serious challenges,” he said. “The really frightening life-or-death stuff is behind us but now we worry how about how we are going to pull the rest of it off.”
In the rehab facility, the Ezells will learn to juggle diaper duty with cleaning tracheal tubes, managing the home ventilator that helps the babies breathe and working with the boys on rehabilitation exercises. Jenni Ezell said the task is daunting but that she’s looking forward to caring for her children without relying on a team of doctors and nurses for help.
“I think my 7-year-old will at least help with diaper duty, though I guess it depends on what kind of diaper we’re talking about,” she joked.
Jenni Ezell said she’s grateful that one of the biggest challenges they now face is learning to tell the identical tots apart. The hospital staff painted their nails to make identification easier. Dave Ezell said anyone who spends a little time around them can easily tell them apart from the different personalities:
“Owen opens his eyes a little bit wider and is a little more excitable. Emmitt is more relaxed. His eyes are usually softer and more closed.”
Conjoined twins are rare, occurring in about one in 50,000 to one in 200,000 deliveries, the doctor said. Renard said odds of survival for conjoined twins are typically around 40 to 50 percent.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 16:18:09 PM
(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama has no plans to enact unilateral immigration overhaul by executive action, faith leaders from across the country said Obama told them Tuesday.
“We did not discuss the need; we did not bring up the issue of the president doing unilateral action,” Luis Cortes, president of Esperanza, a nonprofit law office serving immigrants, said at a news briefing after the Washington meeting.
“We felt it was more important that Congress take action at this time.”
Obama had asked the director of Homeland Security to look at ways to reduce the number of people deported for entering the United States without documentation. But White House press secretary Jay Carney says that is different from implementing immigration overhaul on his own.
The Department of Homeland Security is now performing a “review of practices and implantation of enforcement guidelines.” In other words, the administration is trying to obey the law and still rid the president of a title recently given him by Hispanic leaders, “Deporter in Chief.”
As for his changing immigration law, Carney said that is a nonstarter.
“I think the president believes that there is an opportunity that still exists for House Republicans to follow the lead of the Senate, including Republicans in the Senate, and take up and pass comprehensive immigration reform,” Carney said at Tuesday’s press briefing. “And today’s meeting that the president had with faith leaders demonstrates and reinforces the fact that there is a broad, unusually broad, coalition that supports that effort, that supports comprehensive immigration reform and all the benefits that making reform the law would provide to the country, to our security, to our economy, to our businesses.
“I think it highlights the isolation that House Republicans find themselves in when so many, not just politicians or advocacy leaders, but folks across the country support doing the right thing here and the irony, of course, is that there is a really strong conservative argument to be made on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform,” he said.
In a series of meetings in the past few months, Obama has met with immigration reform activists and leaders on the topic, hoping to gain their support to pressure House Republicans into action.
Tuesday’s meeting with religious leaders was in hopes of gaining their support and influence in pushing Republicans in the House to act.
“While the DACA action that was taken through executive order has been helpful, it was not the ultimate solution,” Noel Castellanos, CEO of the Christian Community Development Association, said of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. “We were here to talk about that ultimate solution…we need to have Congress work.”
DACA is executive action by the president that affects so-called Dreamers, children who arrive in the United States without documentation, and allows them to stay without fear of deportation.
The six faith leaders who met with the president emphasized the agreement on the issue of immigration overhaul.
“For the first time we have in this country the entire religious community, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Baha’i...all the major denominations and churches and religious bodies of this country believe that it is a moral imperative that we get immigration reform done,” Cortes said. “It is the first and only political issue in this country where we all agree.”
During Tuesday’s meeting, the president stressed, according to a statement from the White House, “the importance of taking action to pass common sense immigration reform.”
“While his Administration can take steps to better enforce and administer immigration laws, nothing can replace the certainty of legislative reform and this permanent solution can only be achieved by Congress,” Obama emphasized, according to the statement.
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention, said after the meeting, “I disagree with the president on many things, including life, marriage, religious liberty, HHS mandate; this is one of those issues that isn’t a red state, blue state divide.
“Most people agree, across the religious spectrum and across the political spectrum, that our immigration system is broken so we need to have a system that respects the rule of law, secures the border and finds a way forward for this country.”
It has been more than nine months since the Senate passed its comprehensive immigration overhaul bill, and in that time the House has done little. It did release a set of immigration principles in January, but those seemed to stop at their introduction.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 16:10:53 PM
(WASHINGTON) -- A new campaign ad from Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu is drawing criticism from some conservative groups for using re-enactments of statements that the senator made in an Energy Committee hearing last year.
But Landrieu’s campaign is defending the re-enactments as necessary to avoid breaking rules that forbid the use of footage shot by Senate cameras.
“It is against Senate ethics rules to use footage that was shot using Senate cameras in campaign ads,” Landrieu campaign manager Adam Sullivan told ABC News.
The $250,000 ad buy began hitting Louisiana airwaves Tuesday and casts Landrieu, now the chair of the Senate Energy Committee, as a defender of Louisiana’s oil and gas industry who has shown independence from President Obama.
“When we were cheated out of oil royalties,” a voiceover in the ad says, portraying Louisianans watching Landrieu on television, before cutting to a re-enacted clip of an actual statement (occurs at 2:32 in video) that Landrieu made in the Energy Committee last year.
“They have to sit here and listen to the federal government say, ‘We can’t share a penny with you,’” Landrieu says. “I will not rest until this injustice is fixed.”
“You think there are a bunch of fairy god mothers out there that just wave a magic wand?” Landrieu asks in another clip from the re-enacted Senate hearing.
Watch Landrieu’s ad:
The conservative opinion magazine The Weekly Standard first reported that “the video clip doesn’t come from C-SPAN or any other real TV,” and the Republican opposition research super-PAC, America Rising, posted a video that juxtaposes Landrieu’s re-enacted statement from the ad with the real statements from the hearing. The video used in America Rising’s clip was shot originally by Senate cameras, which according to a Senate Resolution 431, prohibits it from being used for campaign purposes.
But American Rising Executive Director Tim Miller said that doesn’t serve as justification for re-enacting the hearing.
“There is no rule that requires their campaign to manufacture a fake news show to cover a staged hearing,” Miller said. “The ad is misleading to voters who are made to think they are looking at real news footage. It is telling that Sen. Landrieu is so desperate for positive news to use in an ad that she needed to fabricate it.”
Watch America Rising’s video:
As she campaigns for a fourth term in the Senate, Landrieu is considered one of the Senate’s most vulnerable Democrats and has been weathering a storm of negative attack ads from conservative advocacy groups, such as the Koch Brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners. Landrieu, the only Democrat holding a statewide elected office in Louisiana, is facing off against Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, as well as tea party candidate Rob Maness, in November’s election.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 15:50:41 PM
(NEW YORK) -- Dina Lohan pleaded guilty to DWI on Tuesday.
Lindsay Lohan's mother accepted a plea deal stemming from the September 2013 DWI and speeding charges against her, her lawyer, Mark Heller, confirmed to ABC News.
"This being the first day of Passover, Dina Lohan was very gratified to receive an offer that we could not pass over," he said in a statement. "No jail, no probation and the opportunity to resume her driving privileges. She felt this was a great start to the Holy Week."
Lohan was arrested in the fall for driving 22 mph over the speed limit with a blood-alcohol level of 0.2 percent. Nassau County District Court Judge Andrew Engel ordered Lohan, 51, to complete 100 hours of community service before her June 3 sentencing, according to Newsday.
The judge also ordered her to attend a 16-hour state program on driver safety and will require her to install devices in her car that will only allow her to start the vehicle if she's sober and pay fines that total roughly $2,800.
"I'll never be back here again,” Lohan said. “You can quote me on that one.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 15:37:51 PM
(OVERLAND PARK, Kan.) -- Frazier Glenn Miller, who could face the death penalty for allegedly killing three people at Jewish centers in Kansas, made his first court appearance Tuesday wearing only what appeared to be a padded smock with his arms and legs exposed.
The 73-year-old was brought to a closed circuit booth in a wheelchair where he then stood and made his initial court appearance.
The charging documents used the last name of Miller, but he was addressed as "Mr. Cross" by the judge, who set his bond at $10 million. Cross is an alias of the suspect.
He was charged earlier Tuesday with one count of capital murder and a second count of premeditated first degree murder. The capital murder charge makes him eligible for the death penalty.
The suspect has long been on the radar of anti-hate groups, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center. At a news conference on Monday, police officially classified the massacre as a "hate crime."
Prosecutors said the capital murder charge is for the deaths of William Lewis Corporon and his grandson, Reat Underwood, 14, who were gunned down outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, where parents and their children were gathering for a singing contest.
The premeditated first degree murder charge is for the shooting of Terri LaManno, 53, who was shot and killed minutes later outside the Village Shalom assisted living center where she was visiting her mother.
"The fact that we filed these two counts [doesn’t] mean we can’t add new charges," Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said."[There is a] good possibility additional charges will be forthcoming."
U.S. attorney Barry Grissom said federal charges will likely be filed next week.
Miller, who was one of the country's most prominent white supremacists in the 1980s, according to two watchdog groups, was armed with at least one shotgun when he allegedly began shooting at people gathered in a parking lot.
Witnesses said the suspect, who is reported to be a former Grand Dragon of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan yelled a Nazi salute after the shooting.
Miller served three years in federal prison on weapons and threatening communications charges, according to court records. As part of a plea bargain, Miller testified against other KKK members at a 1988 sedition trial.
After serving his time, Miller became an unwelcome figure in the white supremacist movement and was viewed as a traitor, Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research at the Anti-Defamation League told ABC News.
"Ever since [he took a plea deal], most white supremacists don't want anything to do with him," Pitcavage said.
After laying low for a while, Pitcavage said Miller became active again in the past 15 years, taking his hate into the digital age.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 15:04:21 PM
(NEW YORK) -- Basketball fans have grown accustomed to Kentucky players leaving after their freshman year to enter the NBA Draft. In a move that may come as a surprise to many, center Willie Cauley-Stein will return to Kentucky for his junior season.
Cauley-Stein was expected to be a first-round pick in the upcoming draft, and could have possibly been a lottery pick. Despite the chance to reach the NBA, he's staying in school.
"I want to come back and have a chance to win a national championship, while also getting closer to earn my degree," Cauley-Stein said in a statement. "Being at the Final Four this year was special, but not being able to help my teammates on the floor was tough. I look forward to helping us get back there next year, while playing in front of the best fans in the nation."
While Cauley-Stein may have been a lottery pick in the upcoming draft, he still could improve his game on the offensive end. If he can develop a more all-around game, he could find himself being drafted in the top-10 next year.
This past season, Cauley-Stein averaged 6.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per game.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 14:46:00 PM
(KING COUNTY, Wash.) -- For hundreds of dollars less than typical venues, you can host your wedding at a Washington state sewage plant.
“Need a place to party?” the King County Wastewater Treatment Division wrote on its Facebook page last week. “With a full catering kitchen, state-of-the-art AV equipment, dance floor, ample parking, beautiful outdoor grounds, and room for up to 260 people, our LEED Platinum certified Brightwater Center has everything you need for your wedding reception or special event.”
Weddings start at $400 for eight hours outside the building, which includes trails and a garden, and $2,000 for eight hours inside one of the buildings.
An added bonus: the facility is a “zero odor” waste treatment center.
Although the center has no weddings scheduled yet, there is a spot available for later in the year, and the division center rents out its facilities regularly to the community, Wastewater Treatment Division spokeswoman Annie Kolb-Nelson said.
She added that the room rentals help fund the division’s community programming, which offers environmental education opportunities to kids.
It’s so nice, Kolb-Nelson said, that wedding guests won’t even know they’re at a sewage center.
“The center itself is on the treatment plant campus site, but it’s not actually part of the wastewater treatment facility,” she said. “You can’t even see the treatment plant from the education facility center.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 14:28:11 PM
(NEW YORK) -- With throbbing lights and crowds of kids, privately promoted events known as “glow” parties are quickly becoming the go-to parties for teens across the country.
The parties are billed as safe and alcohol-free events for kids as young as 16.
In a new warning, however, officials say the parties, which come with up to a $40 entry fee, are not always just about music and dancing.
“Molly is a drug we have seen being available at many of these ‘glow’ parties,” Angelo Valente, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, told ABC News.
Molly is a form of Ecstasy that has been linked to overdoses and is mentioned frequently in pop culture and music. Molly, short for molecule, is supposed to be the purest form of MDMA, the main ingredient in Ecstasy.
“Glow” party-goers are using the party’s signature glow sticks to get more from the drug, officials say.
“The glow sticks that they use, the neon colors, enhance the effects of the drug Molly,” said Andrew Carey, the acting prosecutor for Middlesex County, N.J.
Law enforcement agencies in New Jersey told ABC News they are now increasing their monitoring of “glow” parties and similar events after several attendees needed hospitalization after using Molly.
Officials say they have increased the police presence outside of clubs where the parties are taking place and are doing outreach to educate parents.
Party promoters, some of whom, officials say, have hired their own private ambulances in order to avoid calling 911, tell ABC News they are creating a safe environment for teens and don’t condone illegal drug use.
“We have a countless number of procedures put in place to ensure a secure environment for our customers and peace of mind for parents,” HyperGlow Tour LLC, which bills itself as “America’s largest touring EDM glow party,” said in a statement to ABC News.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 14:03:18 PM
(MILAN, Italy) -- Former Italian leader and convicted fraudster Silvio Berlusconi will be spending some quality time with older Italians.
A Milan court has agreed to allow the 77-year-old billionaire to volunteer once a week at an old-age home instead of being put under house arrest for his 2013 tax fraud conviction. The court rejected, however, Berlusconi’s request to act as a “motivational speaker” for the older residents.
Berlusconi was originally sentenced to four years in jail, which was later commuted to just one year. Italy does not send those over 70 to prison for non-violent crimes.
As part of the conviction, the former leader was also expelled from parliament and banned from running for office for a period of six years.
The ban, however, does not stop him from campaigning politically. He’s leading the charge for his center-right party Forza Italia in the European Union elections next month.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 13:47:41 PM
(NEW YORK) -- A year after the Boston Marathon attacks, there are troubling new questions about whether the bombings could have been thwarted and how two brothers from Chechnya learned to allegedly execute their terrorist attack so efficiently, officials tell ABC News.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, and his brother Tamerlan, 26, are accused of detonating two bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others a year ago on Tuesday. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police days after the bombing, but Dzhokhar was arrested and now sits in jail, isolated from other inmates and awaiting trial. He has pleaded not guilty.
But many current and former senior officials who have investigated the tragedy told ABC News that they question whether the brothers might have been neutralized by a more thorough FBI investigation before the attacks, and whether as bombmaking novices they had to have had help in allegedly building several different types of sophisticated devices, which they used more successfully than any other homegrown terrorists since 9/11.
"I do think that had we taken a second look, we could’ve stopped this," Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, told ABC News.
According to court documents, the inspector general's report and sources briefed on the federal investigation of the attacks, the FBI and prosecutors contend that both Tsarnaev brothers learned to build their improvised explosive devices using pressure cookers as well as three pipe bombs by downloading instructions off the Internet.
But ABC News has learned that many within the FBI, law enforcement and counter-terrorism strongly disagree that they could have become good enough to make the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from online how-to’s and suspect an expert taught or instructed Tamerlan on the craft of bombmaking while he was overseas in 2012.
"For a ‘novice’ pair of IED builders and emplacers, for them to work as they did, to be effective, that indicates to me a level of sophistication that they received some sort of training from somewhere," retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Barbero, former director of the Joint IED Defeat Organization, told ABC News. Barbero headed the organization at the time of the marathon attacks.
Prosecutors allege that the Tsarnaevs got recipes for the pressure-cooker IEDs -- common on battlefields in Afghanistan -- and “elbow” pipe bombs from online instructions published four years ago in Inspire, a terrorist magazine published by al Qaeda’s affiliate al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). AQAP offered wannabe jihadis instructions for both types of IEDs under the headline, "Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom."
But an analysis of the bombs done by FBI technicians at the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC) in Quantico, Va., in late April 2013 found that the bombs in Boston had a much more sophisticated design than that in the online magazine, including differences in the initiators, power source and switch/trigger, which utilized a toy car remote control. Inspire never contained instructions for that type of switch/trigger used to remotely set off the IEDs, but had directions for a different type using a motorcycle remote starter.
"While the RC concept is similar, TEDAC assesses INSPIRE would not provide an individual with the appropriate details to translate these instructions for use with RC toy car components. Such construction would likely require previous knowledge of, or additional research into, RC toy car circuitry," a TEDAC analysis document said.
"They didn’t get it just from online and definitely didn’t get it just from reading Inspire magazine. So where did they get this training and how did they acquire the skill?" Barbero said.
The indictment of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev alleges that he and Tamerlan "armed themselves with five IEDs, a Ruger P95 9mm semiautomatic handgun, ammunition for the Ruger, a machete and a hunting knife" before engaging in their April 19 shootout with Watertown police. The bombs included a pressure cooker IED, three pipe bombs and a Tupperware tub filled with black powder and a fuse -- they exploded all but the tub during a firefight. The gun was bought illegally from a suspect still under investigation in another state, a law enforcement official told ABC News.
They also threw small black powder grenades called "crickets" at police during a car chase, sources said.
Allegedly creating and detonating such different IEDs put the Tsarnaevs in a class by themselves as post-9/11 homegrown terrorists, who typically have tried to perfect just one IED design and have rarely succeeded in detonating any at all, officials said.
"It is absolutely a major unanswered question of how they got that good and whether they had assistance of some kind," a senior counter-terrorism official told ABC News last week. "They had a better success rate than AQAP's master bombmaker al-Asiri," who created the underwear and printer cartridge bombs snuck aboard airplanes, which failed to detonate.
McCaul's staff recently completed a year-long investigation of the Boston attacks. It found federal counter-terrorism officials failed to alert Massachusetts law enforcement that Russia's security services in 2011 informed the FBI and later CIA that Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his mother Zubeidat Tsarnaeva were suspected of being radicalized Islamists.
"I think it's very clear today, after the investigation we conducted and the investigation the inspector general conducted of the intelligence community and the FBI that that foreign connection is real and that he was over there meeting with extremists," McCaul said. "He was greater radicalized and it’s very likely he did receive training."
An intelligence community inspector general report released last week revealed that the FBI only interviewed Tamerlan and his parents in Boston but not other associates or an ex-girlfriend he had assaulted. The FBI found nothing to support the Russian claim -- which stemmed from an intercepted phone call by Russian spy services.
"Now in fairness to the FBI, the Russians had information they didn’t share with the FBI after their warning came in and that’s unfortunate," McCaul said. McCaul and other officials were also quick to state that they see no evidence the Tsarnaevs were acting on orders of a foreign terrorist group. But extremists likely offered Tamerlan expertise, he agreed.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev soon faded as a counter-terrorism priority and he was able to travel to Chechnya and Dagestan in January 2012. He returned in July without facing further investigative scrutiny -- partially because his name was misspelled in a security database -- and soon began posting jihadi material including videos on YouTube.
FBI and Justice Department officials declined comment, citing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s upcoming death penalty trial.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 13:00:00 PM
(NEW YORK) -- Two-thirds of Americans approve of the federal government’s handling of its investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing, and nearly six in 10 hold a favorable view more generally of the government’s efforts to try to prevent terrorist attacks in the United States.
Those results in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll mark unusual majority-positive ratings for government actions -- difficult scores to achieve in recent years, given anti-Washington sentiment generated, in large part, by the nation’s slow crawl to better economic health.
Notably, views on the federal response to the marathon bombing, a year ago Tuesday, cross partisan lines. Approval peaks at 74 percent of Democrats, but also includes 62 percent of Republicans and 65 percent of political independents. Similarly, 63 percent of conservatives and 68 percent of liberals approve, relatively rare agreement across ideological groups.
Thirty percent of Americans, moreover, “strongly” approve of the government’s handling of the marathon bombing investigation, almost twice as many as strongly disapprove in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.
Views are somewhat less positive -- and political divisions are sharper -- in terms of the things the government is doing more generally to try to prevent terrorism in this country. Controversy surrounds some such efforts, including surveillance activities by the National Security Agency, the long-running U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and drone strikes on suspected terrorists.
Overall, 58 percent express a favorable opinion of federal anti-terrorism activities, ranging from 72 percent of Democrats to a sharply lower 49 percent of Republicans -- a 23-point gap, compared with a partisan gap half that wide, 12 percentage points, in views of the Boston bombing investigation.
Similarly, 60 percent of liberals have a favorable view of the things the government is doing to try to prevent attacks, vs. 49 percent of conservatives -- an 11-point gap, compared with a non-significant 5 points in their views of the handling of the marathon bombing investigation.
Notable, too, is that fact that positive views in both cases peak among moderates -- 72 percent in this group have a favorable view of federal anti-terrorism efforts in general, and 74 percent approve of the government’s investigation of the attack in Boston.
These ratings are far less overtly partisan than views of Barack Obama’s handling of the threat of terrorism, as opposed to the federal government’s. In an ABC/Post poll in January, 50 percent of Americans approved of Obama’s handling of terrorism, with a vast 52-point partisan gap.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 12:42:53 PM
(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- A heartbreaking Valentine's Day card that Reeva Steenkamp wrote to Oscar Pistorius on the day she died was read in court Tuesday.
"Roses are red, violets are blue, I think today is a good day to tell you that I love you," the message reads.
Pistorius' defense advocate asked him to read the card aloud after the state concluded its cross examination of the athlete.
As prosecutor Gerrie Nel wrapped up the state's five-day cross examination, he alleged that Pistorius intended to kill Steenkamp in the 2013 tragedy.
“She was locked into the bathroom, and you armed yourself with the sole purpose of shooting and killing her … and that’s what you did,” Nel said. “Afterwards, indeed, you were overcome by what you’d done, that is true. Only because you intentioned to kill her. You realized that.”
Pistorius is charged with murder in Steenkamp’s death. If convicted, he could face 25 years to life in prison. Pistorius says he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.
During Tuesday’s proceedings, the prosecution asked for a break in the trial, a request the defense supports. Judge Thokozile Masipa will consider the option and announce a decision on Wednesday.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 12:42:29 PM
(NEW YORK) -- The clock is ticking down on the deadline to file your 2013 tax returns.
You must file something by midnight Tuesday or face a penalty. April 15 is when the bill is due for any taxes owed.
“The late payment penalties that accrue when you file late can be substantial,” says Eric Smith with the Internal Revenue Service.
And the charge for filing late can be even worse.
But you can easily get more time to fill in the forms. Using form 4868 “you can file the extension and give yourself piece of mind,” says tax accountant Janice Hayman. That will give you an additional six months to do the paper work.
“It gives people the chance to do things properly,” she says.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 12:40:32 PM
(OVERLAND PARK, Kan.) -- Frazier Glenn Miller, the man who allegedly went on a shooting rampage outside two Jewish community centers in Kansas, was charged Tuesday with one count of capital murder and a second count of premeditated first degree murder.
Prosecutors said the capital murder charge is for the deaths of William Lewis Corporon and his grandson, Reat Underwood, 14, who were gunned down outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, where parents and their children were gathering for a singing contest.
The premeditated first degree murder charge is for the shooting of Terri LaManno, 53, who was shot and killed minutes later outside the Village Shalom assisted living center where she was visiting her mother.
Under the charges, Miller could be eligible for the death penalty. He is expected to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The suspect is also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, according to police in Overland Park, and has long been on the radar of anti-hate groups, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center. At a news conference on Monday, police officially classified the massacre as a "hate crime."
Miller, who was one of the country's most prominent white supremacists in the 1980s according to two watchdog groups, was armed with at least one shotgun when he allegedly began shooting at people gathered in a parking lot.
Witnesses said the suspect, who is reported to be a former Grand Dragon of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan yelled a Nazi salute after the shooting.
Miller served three years in federal prison on weapons and threatening communications charges, according to court records. As part of a plea bargain, Miller testified against other KKK members at a 1988 sedition trial.
After serving his time, Miller became an unwelcome figure in the white supremacist movement and was viewed as a traitor, Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research at the Anti-Defamation League told ABC News.
"Ever since [he took a plea deal], most white supremacists don't want anything to do with him," Pitcavage said.
After laying low for a while, Pitcavage said Miller became active again in the past 15 years, taking his hate into the digital age.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 11:54:15 AM
(NEW YORK) -- If you were asleep when the “blood moon” graced the sky early Tuesday, you’re in luck. The moon will glow red three more times in the next 18 months, scientists say.
It’s all part of a lunar eclipse “tetrad”: a series of four consecutive total lunar eclipses that happen at about six-month intervals.
The next one is due Oct. 8, followed by blood moons on April 4, 2015, and Sept. 28, 2015, according to NASA.
There will be a total lunar eclipse on those dates, when the moon passes into the Earth’s shadow, and the moon will begin to appear bright orange or red because of the way sunlight bends through the Earth’s atmosphere. The sunset hue lasts up to an hour.
The moon appeared reddest Tuesday around 3 a.m.
You’ll have to be an early riser to catch the October “blood moon.” That total eclipse will begin at 6:25 a.m. Clear skies are key and people on the West Coast will have the best view.
NASA eclipse expert Fred Espenak pointed out that this lunar eclipse series is unique because all four eclipses will be visible in North America, which isn’t always the case.
There are about two lunar eclipses a year, but you’ll only see a blood mood during a total eclipse. There are also partial eclipses, when the moon only passes into part of Earth’s shadow, and penumbral eclipses, when the moon barely grazes the Earth’s shadow, which is so subtle most sky-gazers don’t even notice.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 11:28:19 AM
(NEW YORK) -- Women who gain more or less weight than recommended during pregnancy give birth to kids with an increased risk of childhood obesity, new research suggests.
Researchers found that normal-weight women who gained more weight than recommended had children who were 80 percent more likely to become obese. On the other side, normal-weight women who fell short of the recommended weight-gain guidelines were 63 percent more likely to have had a child who will eventually become overweight or obese, according to the study published Monday in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Call it the “Goldilocks effect” in pregnancy weight gain. And while research is uncovering numerous factors that can influence the risk of childhood obesity, the results of this new study suggest that weight gain during pregnancy is an important factor.
Indeed, while only 14 percent of children born to women who gained the right amount of weight according to recommendations set forth by the Institute of Medicine were overweight or obese, 20 percent of the children born to women who gained more weight than recommended were above a healthy weight themselves. And 19 percent of the children born to moms who did not gain enough weight while pregnant were overweight or obese.
Obese children are more likely to have more medical problems earlier in life, and most will remain obese into adulthood, according to past research.
“We need to find ways to help women achieve appropriate weight gain -- for her health and the child’s -- during pregnancy,” said study author Monique Hedderson of Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, who added that the notion that a woman is eating for two is a misconception.
“Sixty percent of women gain too much during pregnancy, and there needs to be more intervention to help women achieve a healthier weight gain during pregnancy,” she said.
More surprising, perhaps, is the idea that women who do not gain enough weight have children who face similar obesity risks as those born to women who gain too much.
“Women that come to clinic that are self-conscious about weight gain during pregnancy, we now have data that shows that not gaining enough is an actual detriment to both the mom and child,” said Dr. Amanda Calhoun, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Kaiser Permanente who has worked with the research group. “This study shows that, for clinicians, we need to take the Institute of Medicine seriously about the benefit of target range weight gain for both mom and child.”
In 2009, the Institute of Medicine created an updated set of guidelines regarding weight gain in pregnancy. According to the guidelines, obese women should gain 11 to 20 pounds over the course of a pregnancy. Overweight weight women should gain 15 to 25 pounds, normal-weight women 25 to 35 pounds, and underweight women 28 to 40 pounds.
The study is an important reminder that pregnant women should keep an eye on weight gain, both for their health and for their baby’s, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton said.
“We know in obstetrics that a mother’s weight gain can and does have important fetal and neonatal effects,” said Ashton, who is also a practicing ob-gyn. ”The take-home message here is that pregnant women should strive for the middle ground: ‘average’ weight gain during pregnancy: not too little, and certainly not too much.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 11:19:29 AM
(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- Facing another season without a Stanley Cup Championship, the Washington Capitals are left asking questions about the future direction of the organization.
Early playoff exits have been the norm for the Capitals for years, but they failed to make the playoffs this year for the first time since 2007.
Star winger Alexander Ovechkin said the team is in the "middle off nowhere" and "in a hard position."
As of now, the team's coaching and management structure has stayed in tack as head coach Adam Oates and general manager George McPhee are still with the organization.
"I don't really know what to expect, what to think," defenseman Karl Alzner said. "But you would imagine when you miss the playoffs completely that you do a whole re-evaluation of what's going on."
Ovechkin had one of his best seasons in years. He scored 51 goals this season, which was his most in a single season since the 2009-2010 season.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 10:13:39 AM
(WASHINGTON) -- When shots rang out on April 2 at the Fort Hood military post in Texas, Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., couldn’t help but remember his own experience with gun violence.
“That takes me back to the day that the shooting occurred in Tucson back in January of 2011,” Barber told ABC News in a recent interview. “I know from talking to my family afterwards how shocking and just scary that first phone call was.”
Barber at the time was the district director to Rep. Gabby Giffords. He was shot twice when Jared Loughner opened fire in Tucson, Ariz., on Jan. 8, 2011. Loughner killed six and nearly took the life of Giffords, who he shot in the head. Barber was wounded in the cheek and leg.
Barber succeeded Giffords after the congresswoman resigned in 2012 and he is currently in a tough re-election fight with a formidable Republican challenger.
Although Barber has been working on gun violence legislation since taking office, he has not spoken out frequently about his personal experience with the shooting. During his two previous congressional bids -- first for Giffords’ seat in 2012 and in a race for the re-districted 2nd Congressional District five months later, he spoke little of the shooting.
“I made a decision very early on that I wasn’t going to make it a centerpiece or even a piece of the election or campaign,” he said. “I really felt that I wanted to present myself to the community as someone who I thought would be able to do the job and that was competent and had experience and depth, some roots in the community that would be helpful to serve the community, as I’m now doing.”
The closest he came was in his last campaign ad for the 2nd district seat, which opened with a quote from Tucson Weekly stating: “After nearly losing his life…Ron Barber demonstrated his resilience.”
Recently, however, that’s changed. Barber has recounted his experience publicly, most recently in an Op-Ed in The Hill newspaper and at the White House ceremony honoring fellow Tucson shooting survivor Pam Simon for her efforts to reduce gun violence.
“Sandy Hook was the tipping point for me, and I think millions of Americans, when we saw what happened,” Barber said. “Twenty really beautiful young kids who were just massacred and…I couldn’t believe it.”
Barber said his work on gun violence prevention started in his hospital room after the Tucson shooting. By the time he arrived in Washington, Barber immediately got to work on a Mental Health First Aid bill to help raise public awareness about mental illness. The program, which provides mental health training services to teachers, students, police, firemen and other citizens, received $15 million in funding from a provision in an omnibus spending bill in January.
“I think it has a lot of potential across the country to help get out in front of these tragedies, [because] the truth of the matter is that because of stigma and because people aren’t really aware of what mental health symptoms look like, a lot of things get missed,” Barber said.
Accused Fort Hood shooter Ivan Lopez had a history of pyschological issues and was being evaluated for possible PTSD, which Lopez claimed he had.
In March, Barber took a congressional trip to visit troops in Afghanistan, and even as the war has drawn to an end, he said the experience allowed him to see first-hand the magnitude of stress the war has put on U.S. troops.
“Unfortunately we are seeing all too many people who have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq coming back with very serious mental health issues such as PTSD, and we are not, I believe, prepared to help treat them or deliver the services they need,” Barber stated.
Barber said using the lessons learned about mental health and guns in Tucson, Sandy Hook and Fort Hood can help avert future situations.
“If we do early identification we do early diagnosis and treatment, many of these tragedies could be averted,” he said. “I believe that would be the case in the man that shot us, if he had gotten treatment I think we could have potentially avoided that terrible day.”
The congressman said the other part of preventing gun violence is finding a way to make sure those prohibited from buying guns go through a background check, and called on Congress to end the background check “loophole” that allows people to purchase firearms over the Internet and at gun shows without checks.
“People who want to buy a gun without having a background check can do so [at gun shows or online], and I think that’s an issue we need to resolve,” he said.
The Arizona congressman is facing one of the toughest reelection races this midterm election season against his former Republican opponent, retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally, whom he narrowly beat in 2012. Although McSally still has to win the August primary, she is the clear Republican front-runner, enjoying the support of big spending powers like Americans for Prosperity and the National Republican Congressional Committee.
McSally’s position on gun violence prevention mirrors Barber’s emphasis on mental health, but rejects his calls for background checks.
McSally’s deputy campaign manager, Kristen Douglas, said in a statement that McSally is “pro Second Amendment and believes our focus for preventing shootings should be on strengthening our mental health system and enforcing background check laws already on the books, not expanding those laws that will do little to prevent violence and infringe on the rights of law abiding citizens.”
“I’m a very strong supporter of the Second Amendment, and I believe that people have a right to own a firearm,” Barber stated, stressing that his goal is preventing gun violence, not pushing all gun control initiatives.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 09:22:05 AM
(NEW YORK) -- After objections by some taxpayers, the Social Security Administration has decided to stop trying to collect on taxpayers’ debts that are more than 10 years old.
Until now, the U.S. Treasury was seizing state and federal tax refunds that were due to be sent out to hundreds of thousands of people.
The Washington Post said the cases involved children of those who owed money because of over-payments of Social Security benefits.
Many of these debts were decades old. Some of the taxpayers who had their refunds seized said they had never heard of money being owed to the government.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 09:20:40 AM
(LOS ANGELES) -- Pop singer Cody Simpson and pro partner Witney Carson were voted off ABC’s Dancing with the Stars Monday night during a show that featured the couples performing routines set to songs from hit Disney films. Disney is the parent company of ABC.
“This has been a very new experience -- an amazing experience -- and obviously it’s tough, but it is what it is,” Simpson said after learning his fate.
The evening also featured the first perfect score of the season: James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd earned perfect “10s” from all four judges.
Donny Osmond, who won season nine of Dancing with the Stars, joined Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman and Carrie Ann Inaba at the judges’ table.
Each week, the couple with the lowest combined total of judges’ scores and viewer votes from the previous week’s performance is generally voted off. Since no one was voted off on the past two shows -- Billy Dee Williams withdrew from the competition on April 1 and no one was eliminated during last Monday’s partner switch-up -- those two weeks’ worth of judges’ scores and viewer votes were combined to determine Monday night’s elimination.
Here’s a rundown of Monday’s performances:
Drew Carey: The Price Is Right host and partner Cheryl Burke danced a quickstep to “Friend Like Me” from the film, Aladdin. After describing Carey’s routine as “zip-a-dee-doo-dah,” Goodman elaborated: “The performance had plenty of zip; the technique was very, very doo-dah, I’m afraid.” Osmond told Carey his arm movement needed more control, and Tonioli said Carey’s technique suffered. “The quickstep requires a very, very precise, clean delivery. You’ll do better next week,” he said. Inaba cautioned Carey about the “very strange face” he made when he lost focus. Carey earned four sevens for a total of 28 points out of a possible 40.
James Maslow: The actor and singer performed a contemporary routine to the hit song “Let It Go” from the film, Frozen. Tonioli called the routine a “contemporary blockbuster,” while Inaba said she cried throughout the entire performance: “What I saw here was absolute artistry...I did not expect this from you. Congratulations.” Goodman said the routine would “melt the coldest heart, even mine.” Osmond praised the choreography by Maslow’s pro partner, Peta Murgatroyd. “I was just blown away by the whole performance,” he said. Maslow earned four 10s for total of 40 points -- the first perfect score of the season.
Charlie White: Despite a momentary dance floor fumble of his prop cane, the Olympian and pro partner Sharna Burgess’s rousing jazz routine, set to “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” from the film Mary Poppins, earned praise from the judges. Osmond called it “an amazing performance,” and Tonioli agreed, but lamented that White dropped the cane: “What a shame, because it was almost perfect...do it again!” Inaba likened White to “a wave of happiness...except for the cane, fantastic. Stupendous,” she said, while Goodman also heaped praise, calling the routine “eye-popping, show-stopping and jaw-dropping.” He added: “I’m not bothered about the cane, no I’m not, because I thought you came out and just wowed this place.” White earned three nines -- and a 10 from Goodman -– for a total of 37 points.
Danica McKellar: The former Wonder Years actress and her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, performed a quickstep set to “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast. The performance included an animated cameo from the film’s character, Gaston, and earned McKellar raves from the judging panel. McKellar even got a hug from a beaming Inaba, who said watching the pair was like watching the film come to life. Tonioli called the routine a “delicious, tasty feast,” adding that McKellar’s improvement was “incredible.” Goodman pointed out some lost body contact, but added that the routine had control and flair, and he called McKellar “a fantastic dancer.” Pointing out that he played Gaston on the Broadway production of the show, Osmond said “both you guys knocked it out of the park. I loved it.” McKellar earned three 10s and a nine, for a total of 39 points.
Amy Purdy: The paralympian snowboarder had expressed frustration about whether she could maintain the smooth technique of the waltz with her prosthetic legs, but her airy performance -- set to “So This is Love” from the film, Cinderella -- earned her a standing ovation from the ballroom audience. Inaba acknowledged that Purdy couldn’t create the rise and fall required by the style of dance, but said that, due to Purdy’s unique circumstance, she couldn’t deduct a point. Goodman said he would have liked more hold, but said the routine was beautiful. Osmond said Purdy was an inspiration and called her “a serious contender in this competition,” while Tonioli told Purdy he loved the performance. Purdy teared up when the judges revealed she and partner Derek Hough had earned three nines and a 10 for a total of 37.
Cody Simpson: The pop singer’s samba to “I Can’t Wait to Be King” from The Lion King brought mixed reviews from the judges. Osmond said it didn’t seem as though Simpson was enjoying himself. Goodman said he liked the energy and “party feeling” of the samba, but said Simpson needed to work on his technique a bit. Tonioli said Simpson had “incredible energy, incredible timing,” but added that he could have done a bit more samba bounce, while Inaba said she “felt the power of Cody” Monday night. Simpson and partner Witney Carson earned two eights and two nines for a total of 34 points.
NeNe Leakes: Despite experiencing some rehearsal tension stemming from last week’s partner switch, the reality TV star and pro partner Tony Dovolani danced a foxtrot to music from the film, 101 Dalmatians. Osmond said Leakes “owned” the dance floor, while Tonioli said she played the evil Cruella De Vil perfectly. “It was incorporated so well into the choreography and it suited your personality,” he said. Added Inaba: “Cruella De Vil ain’t got nothing on you.” Goodman, referring to the tension between Leakes and Dovolani, said, “Sometimes you think you want a divorce then you realize the folly of your ways and I tell you, you two are a match made in dance heaven.” A visibly emotional Leakes earned four nines, for a total of 36 points.
Meryl Davis: The Olympic ice dancer and partner Maks Chmerkovskiy performed a comedic samba routine set to music from The Jungle Book. Inaba said the two dancers had a special partnership, adding that Davis’s technique was “just fabulous.” Goodman said the routine was “great entertainment and terrific,” while Osmond said it was “thoroughly entertaining.” Tonioli agreed, calling it “a wonderful, wonderful dance.” Davis earned four nines for a total of 36 points.
Candace Cameron Bure: Dancing a samba set to “Under the Sea” from the film, The Little Mermaid, Bure and partner Mark Ballas earned praise from all four judges. Goodman said the routine had fun and joy, while Osmond said Bure had promise. Tonioli said Bure had heeded the judges’ previous advice. “I really like what I saw...,” he said. Inaba said Bure was one of her “favorite movers on this season,” but noted that every once in a while the actress experiences an attack of nerves that affects her performance. Bure earned three nines and an eight for a total of 35 points.
Here a rundown of the judges’ scores:
- James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: 40/40
- Danica McKellar and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 39/40
- Amy Purdy and Derek Hough: 37/40
- Charlie White and Sharna Burgess: 37/40
- NeNe Leakes and Tony Dovolani: 36/40
- Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 36/40
- Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: 35/40
- Cody Simpson and Witney Carson: 34/40
- Drew Carey and Cheryl Burke: 28/40
Dancing with the Stars returns next Monday at 8 p.m. Eastern time on ABC.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 07:57:58 AM
(NEW YORK) -- Abby Peterson was just a few weeks shy of her sixth birthday in 2001 when she caught a severe case of chicken pox that made her so weak that she came down with pneumonia, her mother recalled. Her little body couldn’t fight against two infections and after 10 agonizing hours in the hospital, she died in her mother’s arms.
Both chicken pox and pneumonia are preventable with vaccines, but Abby’s mom, Shannon Duffy Peterson, who lives in the rural area of Sleepy Eye, Minn., said her pediatrician steered her away from vaccinating her daughter.
“I asked for them and my doctor talked me out of it,” Duffy Peterson recalled. “He said vaccines were too new and recommended I expose my children to diseases instead because he felt they could build up their immunity naturally.”
Duffy Peterson said that she wishes she had questioned the doctor’s recommendations more forcefully. It was only discovered after an autopsy that Abby was born without a spleen, an organ that is an essential part of the immune system. This made her especially vulnerable to germs and viruses, Duffy Peterson said.
Since Abby’s death, Duffy Peterson has become a pro-vaccine crusader, speaking before the Minnesota legislature and helping to pass laws requiring childhood immunization in the state. She said that the small but vocal minority of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children for fear of adverse reactions including autism are well-intentioned but irresponsible.
“Not vaccinating is not taking full medical care of your child,” she said.
Most of the medical establishment agrees completely with Duffy Peterson. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and dozens of other public health groups have stressed for years that vaccines are safe and necessary. They also say that the large majority of children must be immunized to protect both individuals and whole communities with so-called “herd immunity” from diseases such as measles, mumps and chicken pox.
“From a scientific point of view this is a closed question,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn. “Vaccines have virtually wiped out a number of diseases that used to plague this country -- and they do not cause autism.”
Some parents understand the importance of vaccines but are still fearful they may cause harm to a child’s developing immune system. In a recent essay for the Chicago Sun-Times, actress Jenny McCarthy questioned whether a delayed vaccination schedule would be advisable for some children, saying she has never been “anti-vax” but that she does believe that there is a gray area when it comes to the current vaccination schedule laid out by the CDC.
“My beautiful son, Evan, inspired this mother to question the 'one size fits all' philosophy of the recommended vaccine schedule,” McCarthy wrote in her essay. "This is an extremely important discussion and I am dumbfounded that these conversations are discounted and negated because the answers are not black or white. ...God help us all if gray is no longer an option."
But Schaffner said creating worry over the recommended immunization schedule -- up to 24 shots by the age of 2 and up to five pokes per visit -- is misleading and unfounded.
“The area is not gray. There is no injury to children getting vaccinations simultaneously. A child’s immune system is more capable, powerful and flexible than you would think it is,” Schaffner said.
Through a spokeswoman, McCarthy said she had no further comment and asked that the Sun-Times piece speak for itself.
Schaffner said that altering the timing of vaccines may seem like a compromise but it still poses a serious health risk because a child remains susceptible to vaccine preventable illnesses for longer periods of time. He said it also puts others, including people with compromised immunity and even fully vaccinated individuals, at risk by exposing communities at large to preventable diseases. And, he said, delaying vaccinations is more costly and makes it more likely a child never completes the full schedule necessary for protection against disease.
“Vaccines spread out are often vaccines not received,” he said.
Duffy Peterson said she is sure all parents have their children’s best interest at heart but they have to follow the science and make educated choices when it comes to vaccines.
“Not vaccinating can kill your child,” she said. “No one wants to have a child die in their arms when it could have been prevented.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 07:12:08 AM
(BOSTON) -- Jane Richard was watching the Boston Marathon from Boylston Street with her whole family when two bombs went off near the finish line on April 15, 2013.
Jane, then 7, suffered a serious leg injury from shrapnel. Her brother Martin, 8, was killed.
Jane's parents, Denise and Bill, were both injured, leaving only her brother Henry, the eldest son of Denise and Bill, unharmed.
The day marked the first in a long road of recovery for the family that they have documented during the past year on a family blog.
Jane had her leg amputated and had to undergo more than a dozen surgeries over the course of four months at Boston hospitals before being released in August.
"An hour doesn't go by that we don't feel the agony of Martin's death and the senseless way it came about," the family wrote after they returned home together for the first time in August. The Martins picked back up with school and after school sports. They celebrated Christmas somewhere other than their Boston home for the first time, noting that "we snuck away this year, to someplace different, because now everything is different."
Before the bombings, Jane had been an active Irish step dancer. When she was released in August, she went home with a new, prosthetic leg and a pair of crutches.
"Jane continues to be an incredible source of inspiration -- and exhaustion. The loss of her leg has not slowed her one bit, or deterred her in any way," the family wrote. "Watching her dance with her new leg, which has her weight primarily on the other leg, is absolutely priceless."
In March, Jane received a "Cheetah" running leg from an organization called Wiggle Your Toes.
"Never self-conscious and always smiling, Jane has worn it to school several times which speaks to the can-do spirit she has displayed over the last 11 months," the family wrote.
Jane even joined her youth basketball team and has been playing on her new prosthetic, they said. Her elder brother, Henry, is excelling in sixth grade.
The family has started a foundation in Martin's name and will have more than 70 runners competing in this year's marathon in memory of him and to raise funds for the foundation.
"A day doesn't pass when we don't cry over the loss of Martin, but we also laugh when we think about him, which feels like the right way to remember a little boy with a zest for life and a caring heart," they wrote.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 06:24:37 AM
(UNCASVILLE, Conn.) -- The Connecticut Sun selected Chiney Ogwumike with the No. 1 overall selection in the WNBA Draft on Monday night at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Ogwumike becomes the second Stanford Cardinal taken with the top pick following her older sister, Nnemkadi, who was drafted by Los Angeles in 2012.
A 6'4" forward, Ogwumike was a consensus All-American for three straight years while helping Stanford to a 33-4 record, reaching the Final Four in this year's NCAA Tournament. She graduated as the leading rebounder (1,567) and scorer (2,737 points) in Pac-12 history, shooting a school record 58.9% from the floor in her career.
Chiney and Nnemkadi become the first pair of siblings ever to be selected No. 1 in the WNBA draft. They join Peyton and Eli Manning as the only siblings to be taken tops overall in any professional draft. Peyton was taken first by the Indianapolis Colts in 1998 while Eli was drafted No. 1 by the San Diego Chargers in 2004.
Moments after drafting Ogwumike, the Sun traded 2012 MVP Tina Charles to the New York Liberty for the fourth overall pick. That choice turned out to be Alyssa Thomas of Maryland.
Tulsa selected former Baylor Bear Odyssey Sims with the second overall pick followed by Notre Dame's Kayla McBride being chose by San Antonio. Rounding out the top five, the Indiana Fever selected Florida State's Natasha Howard.
The WNBA opens training camp on April 27 while the league's 18th season tips off on May 16. Ogwumike and her new team will be featured on opening day when the Sun take on New York.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 06:16:16 AM
(WASHINGTON) -- Americans are clearly concerned that their online privacy can be easily compromised.
According to a Pew Research Center report, 18 percent of 1,000 adults polled in late January said they've had personal information swiped off the Internet that included their Social Security numbers, credit card data or information about their bank accounts.
The problem appears to have gotten worse in a relatively short time because when Pew asked the same question last July, just 11 percent reported a breach of personal information.
Meanwhile, 21 percent reported that online data pertaining to their email or social media accounts has been attacked, about the same as it was six months earlier.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 05:37:30 AM
(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) -- Mostly everyone knows Silly Putty can stretch and bounce, and even lift up newsprint or comic pictures. But the stuff originally intended to be a wallpaper eraser has been found to do something else: explode the growth of stem cells.
According to a paper published by Dr. Jianping Fu, his team at the University of Michigan discovered that spinal cord cells grow 10 times larger and are four times purer if they're first laid on a soft carpet made from polydimethylsiloxane, a key ingredient in the stretchy material.
The discovery could lead to new therapies for people with Huntington's and Alzheimer's diseases, and the motor neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, according to the findings published in the scientific magazine Nature Materials.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 05:31:02 AM
(WASHINGTON) -- As pro-Russian separatists continue to hold buildings throughout eastern Ukraine, President Obama spoke by phone Monday to Russian President Vladimir Putin in an effort to stop the situation from spinning out of control.
According to a statement issued by the White House, the president "expressed grave concern about Russian government support for the actions of armed, pro-Russian separatists who threaten to undermine and destabilize the government of Ukraine."
The president emphasized that a diplomatic solution, while still possible, is being made difficult by Russian troops near Ukraine's border, the instigation of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine and the Kremlin's belligerent rhetoric.
Meanwhile, Moscow dismissed Obama's concerns, claiming that speculation about Russian involvement in the affairs of southeastern Ukraine was "based on inaccurate information."
Instead, Putin blamed the current unrest in Ukraine on the "unwillingness and inability" of the interim government "to take into account the interests of the Russian and Russian-speaking population."
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 04:28:25 AM
(PLEASANT GROVE, Utah) -- The Utah woman who police say killed at least six of her own infants is being held on $6 million bail.
Megan Huntsman, 39, made her first court appearance Monday and is scheduled to face formal charges next week.
Utah County prosecutors said that police went to Huntsman's former Pleasant Grove home last weekend after a family member called to say they had found a stillborn baby inside a box that appeared to be full-term.
Authorities obtained a search warrant to inspect the home, where they found six more infant bodies inside, packaged in separate containers.
Huntsman apparently admitted to police that she either strangled or smothered the babies from 1996 through 2006. No motive was given.
The family member who called in the complaint was Darren West, Huntsman's estranged husband. It's believed that their pair had lived together when the babies were born but authorities don't believe West had any knowledge of the situation.
It was also unclear how Huntsman was able to hide the alleged murders from her neighbors or three daughters, two of whom are now young adults while the other is a teenager.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 04:25:51 AM
(NEW YORK) -- Google plans to make its wearable Internet device, the Google Glass, available to any adult in the U.S. on Tuesday but for one day only.
According to a release from Google, the device will be sold online for $1,500, which includes a pair of frames.
In a release, Google said that a limited number of these pricey gadgets will be available but didn't specify numbers.
Until now, Google Glass had only been made available to select individuals, mostly developers and people who were randomly selected after applying through one of a number of methods.
Google Glass is also accompanied by some controversy. There has been an outcry among some non-users who object to the possibility of being videotaped without their permission.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 04:17:35 AM
(PHOENIX, Ariz.) -- Zach Randolph had a season-high 32 as Memphis clinched a playoff berth in the Western Conference with a 97-91 win over Phoenix. The Grizzlies can finish as high as seventh in the West while the Suns were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.
Memphis (49-32) was 10-15 on Dec. 18 but regrouped to close out the regular season as one of the hottest teams in the NBA. Their most recent win did not come easily as 15 lead changes occurred.
With the Suns leading 91-90 with 1:27 remaining, the Grizzlies scored the final seven points of the game to secure the win. Mike Conley hit his only three to give Memphis the lead for good before Randolph converted a turnover into two points for a 95-91 lead with under 50 seconds to play.
"We've played every game like a playoff game," said Conley. "It's been fun to be part of a group that comes in and stays focused and get back in the playoffs."
Conley finished the day with 14 points while Mike Miller went 5-for-6 from beyond the arc and added 21 points off the bench for Memphis.
Phoenix misses out on the playoffs for the fourth straight year after an impressive turnaround under first-year head coach Jeff Hornacek. The Suns (47-34) have won 22 more games than last season and still one more contest remaining. Markieff Morris led the team with 21 points as Phoenix becomes just the fifth team ever to win 47 games and miss the playoffs.
Memphis can become the seventh-seed in the West with a win over Dallas in their regular-season finale on Wednesday. A loss will put the Grizzlies as the eight seed and set up a first round matchup with San Antonio.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 03:59:10 AM
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- The Indiana Pacers clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs on Monday night -- without even playing. That's because the Miami Heat suffered a 21-point loss to the Washington Wizards, 114-93, that locked the Heat into the number two spot.
LeBron James and Chris Bosh did not play in the game, as Miami seemed content to give up home-court advantage throughout the playoffs to Indiana. Dwayne Wade, who did play after a nine-game hiatus due to a hamstring injury, said there was no concern in the Heat locker room.
"There would be no disappointment," said Wade who finished with only nine points. "When the playoffs start, we have a new season and we will be looking forward to it."
Miami (54-27) still does not know who their opponent will be in the opening round of the postseason. The Heat will face off against the seven seed, which could either be the Wizards (43-38) or the Charlotte Bobcats. Meanwhile, the Pacers will take on eighth seeded Atlanta.
The Wizards held a slim 27-26 lead at the end of one quarter before outscoring Miami 43-22 in the second to take control. Despite the win, Washington understood that their potential opponent in the playoffs will look much different than the team they dominated on Monday.
"We played against a totally different Miami Heat today than usual," noted Wizards center Marcin Gortat. "Nothing to be excited about."
Gortat posted a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds while Trevor Ariza led all scorers with 25 points for Washington.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 00:52:04 AM
(NEW YORK) -- Christina Hendricks may portray a working mom on Mad Men, which returned Sunday night, but off screen the actress revealed she has no plans to expand her family with her husband, actor Geoffrey Arend.
"That's where my motherly nature comes in -- we got a puppy, and that's my idea of starting a family," she said in the May issue of Health magazine, which features her on the cover.
She continued, "People say, 'Oh, that's practice for parenting,' but if it's practice for anything it's to be a mom to another puppy. We've decided that we are not really interested in having children."
Still, the 38-year-old actress didn't close the door completely on having kids.
"It seems like it's expected that you'd want to have kids," she said. "It's just very normal for people to say, 'Well, when you guys have kids...' And then when I say, 'Actually I don't think we're going to do that,' people will say, 'Oh, you say that now...' It doesn't bother me, though. And, you know, there's a small chance I could change my mind."
AMC's Mad Men airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 00:50:06 AM
(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Google acquired Titan Aerospace, a drone company, Monday, just one month after it was reportedly being eyed by Facebook.
“It’s still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation,” a Google spokesperson told ABC News in a statement confirming the deal.
“When manufactured, it would have 3,000 solar panels producing about 7 kW of electricity and would be above the clouds, so it would be exposed to sunlight constantly during daylight hours,” the company said in a news release. “One is scheduled for completion next year.”
The tech world has long been buzzing about drones and how they can put them to use.
Last month, Mark Zuckerberg announced that a team at Facebook was working with a group from U.K.-based drone company Ascenta to work on developing drones that could help improve and expand internet access around the world.
In 2013, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos also announced his vision for a drone delivery service.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 00:49:38 AM
(OVERLAND PARK, Kan.) -- The shooting rampage outside two Jewish community centers over the weekend was officially classified a "hate crime" by authorities on Monday.
The third victim of the mass shooting, which happened on the eve of Passover, was identified by Overland Park, Ill., police as Teresa Lamanno, 53. The other two victims were identified Sunday as high school freshman Reat Underwood, 14, and his grandfather Dr. William Corporon.
The alleged perpetrator of the crime was identified as Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, who also goes by the last name Miller. The suspect, who has been a white supremacist for decades, allegedly yelled a Nazi salute after the shooting Sunday in Overland Park, witnesses told police. The shooter then drove to a nearby Jewish assisted-living facility, shooting another victim to death before surrendering, police said.
The well-known white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader was later recorded screaming "Heil Hitler!" during his arrest.
The shooting spree started outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, where parents and their children were gathering for a singing contest and another event. Cross was armed with at least one shotgun and was allegedly shooting at people in the parking lot, witnesses say.
Overland Park police Chief John Douglass spoke at a news conference Sunday, saying the investigation is far from complete. "Today is a sad and very tragic day," Douglass said.
Police say high school freshman Reat Underwood, 14, and his grandfather Dr. William Corporon were shot and killed in their car. Two other would-be victims were able to dodge the bullets and run inside, officials said.
Suspect Glenn Miller, as he’s known, has always been an honest and open white supremacist, said Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., which tracks hate groups.
“We have been tracking Miller, literally for decades,” Beirich said. “He is literally one of the most hardcore anti-Semites I have ever spoken to.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 00:48:28 AM
(ROME) -- After an expectant mother in Rome learned that she was implanted with the wrong embryos, she's decided that she will carry the twins to term.
According to the Telegraph, the woman, who has not been identified, underwent an IVF treatment on Dec. 4 at the Pertini hospital in Rome, and found out only Monday that the babies she was carrying were not her own. Authorities say the mix-up might have occurred because the woman has a similar last name to another woman who was undergoing the IVF procedure on the same day.
At first she considered terminating the pregnancy, but the woman changed her mind and decided instead to have the babies. Though the twins share no DNA with the woman and her husband, under Italian law, the children will be hers.
"Legal claims will be useless to get the twins back," Italy's national bioethics committee vice president, Lorenzo D'Avack said, according to the Telegraph.
The biological mother's own IVF pregnancy reportedly ended with a miscarriage.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/15/2014 00:39:11 AM
(DONETSK, Ukraine) -- The deadline for protesters in the eastern part of Ukraine to put down their weapons and leave occupied buildings has come and gone, but the "anti-terrorist operation" vowed by Ukraine's acting president has yet to materialize.
The 9 a.m. local deadline expired a few hours before protesters in the eastern town of Horlivka stormed the local police headquarters, enlarging the map of places in Ukraine that have seen recent unrest to more than a dozen. Later, a municipal building in Zhadinivka was attacked.
Ukraine's acting president accused Russia Sunday night of being behind the violence and warned of "a full-scale antiterrorist operation engaging the armed forces of Ukraine."
"We will not allow Russia to repeat the Crimean scenario in the eastern regions of Ukraine," President Oleksandr Turchynov added, referring to Russia's swift annexation of the Crimean Peninsula last month.
For more than a week, anti-government protesters have occupied government buildings across the eastern provinces that border Russia. For the most part, they have demanded "federalization," giving them greater autonomy from the government in Kiev that many in eastern Ukraine feel abandoned by and describe as "fascists" and "criminals."
Some would also like to see this part of the country -- like Crimea -- join Russia.
Turchnynov softened his tone Monday, telling parliament that he is not against holding a referendum next month alongside presidential elections slated for May 25.
"It's not a confrontation between Ukrainians, but covert and now no longer covert aggression by the Russian Federation against our country," he added.
Two buildings -- including a police station -- were seized Saturday in the town of Sloviansk. The next morning, Ukraine's interior minister announced an operation to take them back but Ukrainian forces never appeared to enter the town.
Instead, a gun battle took place outside that left at least one Ukrainian officer dead. By Sunday night, checkpoints ringed the town, controlled by protesters, some of whom were defected Ukrainian soldiers.
Ukraine and the United States have repeatedly accused Russia of fomenting the violent unrest, which Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov again denied on Monday.
"It has all the tell-tale signs of what we saw in Crimea," the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told ABC News’ This Week on Sunday. "There's nothing grassroots seeming about it. Those forces are doing in each of the six or seven cities that they've been active in exactly the same thing, so certainly it bears the tell-tale signs of Moscow's involvement."
The White House could impose more sanctions on Russia this week, Power added, if Russia continues meddling.
In a statement titled "Russian Fiction," the U.S. State Department listed 10 Russian claims it says are lies. Among them were the assertions that Russian agents are not in Ukraine, that ethnic Russians are under threat and that civil war is coming to Ukraine.
But fear of war in Ukraine was raised Sunday night when Russia called Ukraine's threatened crackdown against protesters a "criminal order." Moscow has warned Kiev against cracking down against Russian speakers, threatening intervention.
Moscow also accused CIA Director John Brennan of flying to Kiev to help coordinate a Ukrainian response to the unrest, which the CIA vehemently denied.
"The claim that Director Brennan encouraged Ukrainian authorities to conduct tactical operations inside Ukraine is completely false," a CIA spokesman said, declining to say whether Brennan had indeed visited Kiev.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 23:35:00 PM
(NEW YORK) -- MLB: Baltimore Orioles 7 (6-7) - Tampa Bay Rays 1 (7-7)
Washington Nationals 9 (8-5) - Miami Marlins 2 (5-9)
Atlanta Braves 9 (9-4) - Philadelphia Phillies 6 (6-7)
St. Louis Cardinals 4 (8-5) - Brewers 0 (10-3)
Seattle Mariners 7 (7-5) - Texas Rangers 1 (6-7)
New York Mets 7 (6-7) - Arizona Diamondbacks 3 (4-12)
Oakland Athletics 3 (9-4) - Los Angeles Angels 2 (6-7)
San Diego Padres 5 (6-7) - Colorado Rockies 4 (6-8)
Pittsburgh Pirates 7 (6-6) - Cincinnati Reds 7 (4-8) Suspended in the 6th inning
NBA: Washington Wizards 114 (43-38) - Miami Heat 93 (54-27)
Toronto Raptors 110 (48-33) - Milwaukee Bucks 100 (15-66)
Philadelphia 76ers 113 (18-63) - Boston Celtics 108 (25-56)
Charlotte Bobcats 95 (42-39) - Atlanta Hawks 93 (37-44)
Chicago Bulls 108 (48-33) - Orlando Magic 95 (23-58)
Houston Rockets 104 (54-27) - San Antonio Spurs 98 (62-19)
New Orleans Pelicans 101 (33-48) - Oklahoma City Thunder 89 (58-23)
Los Angeles Lakers 119 (26-55) - Utah Jazz 104 (24-57)
Memphis Grizzlies 97 (49-32) - Phoenix Suns 91 (47-34)
Golden State Warriors 130 (50-31) - Minnesota Timberwolves 120 (40-41)
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 22:36:00 PM
(NEW YORK) -- Bill Clinton is cheating -- on his vegan diet.
Clinton’s doctor let the secret out in the New York Times that sometimes the former president cheats on his healthy diet.
But two of the nation’s leading vegan and vegetarian organizations say they’re willing to give Clinton a pass since he is mostly adhering to the tenants of the diet.
Why does Clinton continue to call himself a vegan?
“There is some latitude … he is primarily a vegan,” said Len Torine, executive director of the American Vegetarian Association.
“Whatever amount of vegan you are, I support it. I support him. He’s bringing enlightenment to a huge population because of his popularity.”
Over the weekend, Clinton family doctor, Mark Hyman, revealed in the New York Times interview that he has advised Clinton to “occasionally eat fish and lean protein.”
“It’s hard being a vegan to eat enough good, quality protein and not have too much starch,” Hyman told The Times. “I know a lot of fat vegans.”
If he follows his doctor’s advice, Clinton is not a vegan “according to strict definitions,” American Vegan Society President Freya Dinshah points out. But “people want to aspire to something…we applaud everyone doing the best they can.”
Though indulging in animal products, once in a while, appears to be just what his doctor ordered, the former president continues to embrace the vegan label -- doing so in over and over again in recent interviews.
Appearing on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live less than two weeks ago, Clinton didn’t dispute the host’s claim that the former hamburger-lover was a practicing vegan.
“You, being a vegan, you only get half a pizza really,” Kimmel said.
Clinton responded: “One of the few things I miss about this diet is I loved hard cheese -- I miss that. But I feel a lot better.”
Just last month, former first daughter Chelsea Clinton called her father “the world’s most famous vegan.”
“It’s not even really discipline now, because it’s just part of his life,” Chelsea said on the web series Mondays with Marlo.
The former president -- once famous for his love of the McDonald’s Big Mac -- made headlines when he first adopted a vegan diet following his 2010 angioplasty. He shed 30 pounds, championed healthy eating, and was even named PETA’s “Person of the Year.”
Some vegan purists might raise a ruckus over the way Clinton bends the rules from time to time, but this isn’t the first time he’s owned up to it.
In a September 2013 AARP Magazine profile, Clinton revealed that he eats fish and eggs “once a week or so” in order “to maintain iron, zinc and muscle mass.”
Clinton has also admitted to snatching a single bite of turkey on Thanksgiving.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 21:25:49 PM
(WASHINGTON) -- Pentagon officials have called out Russia for flying a fighter jet over the weekend too close to a U.S. warship in the Black Sea.
The jet was 500 feet above sea level and 3,000 feet away from the U.S.S. Donald Cook, close enough that the ship sent warnings that were ignored for more than 90 minutes.
Officials say the jet was unarmed and the ship was never in danger, but have called the Russian's actions irresponsible.
Watch the report from ABC's World News with Diane Sawyer:
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 21:17:13 PM
(WASHINGTON) -- A new parody video out this week from one of John Boehner’s Republican primary opponents is accusing the House speaker of “electile dysfunction.”
In a not-so-subtle spin of Boehner’s last name, Tea Party candidate J.D. Winteregg recruited a team of actors to stage a Cialis-style commercial that takes jabs at everything from Boehner’s smoking habits to his skin color.
“Sometimes when a politician has been in DC too long, it goes to his head,” the narrator says in the video. “If you have a Boehner lasting longer than 23 years, seek immediate medical attention.”
If the spot from Winteregg, an Ohio high school French teacher who launched a campaign against Boehner last October, seems purposefully suggestive -- it is.
A statement from Winteregg’s campaign says the “provocative” new video “comes as Boehner himself is now advertising in the district -- a sign that the once comfy Congressman is worried about his re-election. It is the first time Boehner has advertised in four years.”
Winteregg’s campaign didn’t say whether it was spending money to air the ad on television.
While history is certainly stacked against Winteregg -- a sitting speaker has never been defeated in a primary election -- he received a boost in February after winning the endorsement of the Tea Party Leadership Fund PAC.
Winteregg’s video latches on to some of the criticisms of Boehner expressed by Tea Party critics in recent months. It accuses Boehner of being able to “maintain a spine in the face of liberal opposition” while showing clips of the speaker golfing with President Barack Obama and giving a thumbs-up during the president’s State of the Union address in January.
Boehner’s campaign didn’t immediately comment on the ad.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 21:01:10 PM
(FLORIDANA BEACH, Fla.) -- The U.S. Coast Guard launched a search-and-rescue mission Monday near Floridana Beach, Fla., after a mysterious raft washed ashore that morning full of personal items.
Steve and Shelby Crouse said they spotted the vessel while having coffee on their beachfront porch around 8 a.m. The homemade 18-foot raft had a wood frame and a metal mast, reading “Hecho in Cuba”, or made in Cuba. With the help of two other men, Steve Crouse brought it to shore, he told Florida Today.
That’s when the three discovered the contents on the vessel: 21 plastic bottles, 40 syringes and packs of medical tubing, labeled “MEDICUBA,” a child-sized shoe, a woman’s bra, a hairbrush, a Spanish-language Bible, a carton of apple juice, and a potato.
What wasn’t on the mysterious raft full of personal items? People.
That’s what led the Coast Guard, Brevard County Sheriff’s Department and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to search the area by boat and helicopter for any possible occupants.
Lori Phatterplace from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Department said their efforts in the search are over. “We treated it as a person in the water protocol, but we never had any information that anyone was in the water,” Phatterplace told ABC News. “We haven’t located anyone from the raft.”
“We hope to God they made it,” Shelby Crouse told Florida Today. “Who knows if we’ll ever find out.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 19:42:36 PM
(NEW YORK) -- The San Diego Padres have signed second baseman Jedd Gyorko to a five-year contract extension, the team announced Monday.
The deal is worth $35 million and includes a team option for a sixth season worth $13 million, according to ESPN.
Last season, the 25-year-old Gyorko led the team with 23 home runs in 125 games.
"We are happy to sign Jedd and secure the rights to two free agent years," general manager Josh Byrnes said in a statement. "Jedd is a homegrown player in his fifth season with the Padres organization and has been a consistent performer every step of the way."
In the team's first 12 games this season, Gyorko is batting just .163 with one home run.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 19:16:00 PM
(NEW YORK) -- Swedish car company Volvo says it is working on an inflatable child car seat that weighs less than 11 pounds and can fit neatly in a backpack.
It’s still in the conceptual stage, but the car seat would inflate in 40 seconds with an internal pump. The secret is a strong fabric that was developed as part of the military’s aborted attempts to make inflatable airplanes, the company says.
Volvo has not announced plans yet to bring the car seat to market.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 18:55:52 PM
(NEWARK, N.J.) -- A half-million-dollar renovation to the "weekend" home of the archbishop of Newark has sparked a major controversy, raising questions about how money donated by church members is being used.
An online petition created by a D.C.-based website, Faithful America, has received more than 23,000 signatures to stop the renovation process, claiming that Archbishop John J. Myers does not need a 7,500-square-foot home for when he retires.
“The house will become the retirement residence when he retires in two years,” Jim Goodness, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Newark, told ABC News. “There is an additional suite being added for guests and office space, as well as a whirlpool and an exercise pool being added for therapeutic use, because he has some health issues. This would be beneficial for him in retirement.”
There will also be an elevator and three gas fireplaces added, Goodness said.
Protesters say the additions are unnecessary and lavish, and have contrasted Myers' lifestyle to that of Pope Francis, who lives in a small apartment in Rome with other priests.
Faithful America could not be reached by ABC News for additional comment. But the Rev. John Bambrick, pastor of a parish in Jackson Township, part of the Diocese of Trenton, said the lavish spending reflected poorly on the church and highlights the contrast between Myers and Pope Francis.
“I think it makes people question where their donations are going," Bambrick told ABC News Monday. “It's embarrassing to the church and the clergy and it’s an insult to the people and God."
“Most of the congregation when they hear about it they just think it is outrageous. They think they should sell it," Bambrick said.
“It’s really astounding given the fact that the pope teaches the bishops to live simply,” Bambrick added, noting that Pope Francis has admonished priests "don’t buy fancy cars and live simply.”
But Goodness said the $500,000 addition to the home in Clinton Township, in Hunterdon County, N.J., is necessary. “He will just not stop having responsibilities for the diocese anymore [after retirement]. We need to have an office space for him,” Goodness said.
“The way the house is being used now, he is never out there alone,” Goodness explained. “There are always other people with him. We are expecting that to continue to happen.”
“He [the Archbishop] envisions that there will be other guests or church members [who visit], so he wants to give them more privacy," Goodness said.
Goodness explained to ABC News that protesters are mistaken about how the renovation is being funded.
“The expansion and reservation is expected to cost $500,000. Some of that is being funded through donations that have been given to the church specifically for the renovation,” Goodness said. “The rest of it is coming from the sale of residential property in Connecticut that is owned by the archdiocese that we won’t need anymore. So we are actually consolidating residential properties.”
Goodness said the Faithful America petition is not representative of New Jersey Catholics and that the organization itself is a non-Catholic group that often challenges the church on a range of issues.
“A significant number of these names are not even people from New Jersey and a very large number from New Jersey are not even a part of the archdiocese. It is not a representative of the people in New Jersey," Goodness said.
But the Rev. Bambrick disagreed.
“You want people to give to the poor and support charitable works of the church and building a mansion is not a great inspiration," he said.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 18:08:01 PM
(WASHINGTON) -- Gas prices are skyrocketing in some areas of the country, but California is seeing the biggest jump.
In California the price of regular unleaded has jumped 13 cents in the past week -- 16 cents higher than at this time last year. The state's average for a gallon of regular unleaded gas is now at $4.16, according to new numbers from the U.S. Energy Department.
With many areas of the state more expensive than the average, California remains the only state where drivers are paying more than $4.00 per gallon. The West Coast average has climbed 10 cents in the past week.
The national average for regular unleaded fuel is up 6 cents in the past week to $3.66 per gallon. That’s now 11 cents higher than at this time last year.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 18:04:34 PM
(ATHENS, Ga.) -- The strained spy relationship between Pakistan and the U.S. is “of late…on the upswing,” according to America’s top intelligence official.
“I have to be careful what I say here,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told students at the University of Georgia Monday. “First I’ll say that Pakistan is a very important ally, partner -- particularly as we draw down in Afghanistan and won’t have the presence there that we’ve had in the past, whatever form that takes…”
“Many times our interests converge and sometimes they don’t,” Clapper said, adding that while thousands of Pakistani citizens have been killed or injured because of domestic militant actions, for the Pakistani government and its Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI), neighboring India is their greatest strategic concern.
“When we can converge with our interests, particularly in the intelligence realm -- [I] can’t say too much about that publicly -- we do. Of late, particularly with the new government in Pakistan, I think that cooperation has been on the upswing,” he said.
Michael Birmingham, spokesperson for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, declined to expand on his boss’s comments except to tell ABC News Clapper “was referring to the strong ongoing dialogue we have with Pakistan, including through our revitalized strategic dialogue, regarding all aspects of our bilateral relationship and shared interests, to include intelligence and security issues.”
America has for years had a complex relationship with Pakistani security forces -- critical to U.S. counter-terrorism efforts -- which was crystallized by the extremely guarded stance the CIA took towards its counterpart, the ISI. American officials have accused the ISI of using terrorist groups in Pakistan to their own ends, even if it means targeting Americans.
In September 2011, then-Joint Chief of Staff chairman Adm. Mike Mullen testified before Congress that the Haqqani network, a Taliban-linked group designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization, was a “veritable arm” of the ISI and that the Pakistani government was responsible for “exporting violence” to Afghanistan, including what he alleged to be an ISI-supported attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. The Pakistani government denied the charges.
The relationship between the U.S. and Pakistani intelligence was already at its lowest after May 2011 when a team of U.S. Navy SEALs killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in his home in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he had lived for at least six years less than a mile from one of Pakistan’s most elite military academies. Immediately speculation ran rampant that Pakistan and the ISI must have known the terror leader was there.
“I think that at high levels -- high levels being the intelligence service -- at high levels they knew it,” Sen. Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told ABC News’ Jon Karl just days after the raid. “I can’t prove it. I just think it’s counterintuitive not to.”
Then-CIA Director Leon Panetta later told CBS News’ 60 Minutes in early 2012 that he “personally felt” that “somebody must have had some sense of what was happening at this compound.”
Panetta also said the U.S. didn’t warn Pakistan about the raid ahead of time because the U.S. government feared “that if we, in fact, brought [Pakistan] into it, that they might… give bin Laden a heads-up.” Panetta said, however, that he had no proof of Pakistani collusion with bin Laden.
The U.S. has never proved any Pakistani officials knew of bin Laden’s whereabouts, and sources previously said communications intercepted by American intelligence immediately after the raid indicated bin Laden’s presence had taken top Pakistani officials by surprise.
Last year the Pakistani government accused its political and military leaders of “gross incompetence” in allowing bin Laden to evade capture for so long in Pakistan, according to a leaked copy of the Abbottabad Commission report as published by Al Jazeera, but did not accuse anyone of working with bin Laden.
Still, documents concerning America’s top secret intelligence budget, leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Washington Post last year, indicated a deep distrust in Pakistan and showed that the U.S. repeatedly lumped its ally in with other “key [intelligence] targets” like Iran, Russia and North Korea.
For its part, Pakistan for years has publicly condemned the CIA’s use of drone strikes within its borders. Ahead of a meeting with President Obama in October, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the issue of drone strikes had “become a major irritant in our bilateral relationship…”
Later sitting with Sharif, Obama told reporters the two had “talked about security” and said they were “committed to working together and making sure that rather than this being a source of tension… that it can be a source of strength.”
Birmingham declined to identify exactly to whom the intelligence director was referring Monday when he attributed the “upswing” in relations Pakistan’s “new government.” In March 2012 Pakistan appointed a new chief of intelligence, Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam, who between 2008 and 2010 held the position of deputy head of the ISI. In July 2013 Pakistan elected Mamnoon Hussain, a textiles magnate, as its newest president. Hussain took office in September.
Pakistani media reported in February that CIA Director John Brennan made a secret visit to Pakistan and had met with top Pakistani military officials, reportedly including Islam. Pakistan’s The News noted that the meeting was the latest high-level interaction between Pakistani and U.S. officials in recent months, a development the paper said was a “positive change” signaling the “improving nature of the relationship between the two estranged allies…”
While cautious not to overstate how much the situation has changed since 2011, other U.S. intelligence officials told ABC News they shared Clapper’s view of “improved relations.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 17:52:53 PM
(OVERLAND PARK, Kan.) -- The 14-year-old boy shot dead by a former KKK leader on Sunday was on his way to try out for a Kansas City singing competition, his heartbroken mom said Monday.
“He’s been wanting to try out for three years,” Mindy Corporon said at a news conference, a day after her son and father were killed outside a Jewish community center in Overland Park, Kan. "He was dressed in a coat and tie and black shirt, and a hat."
Among the songs her son Reat Underwood, a freshman at Blue Valley High School, was prepared to sing was “You Will Miss Me When I’m Gone,” she said.
Suspect Frazier Glenn Cross also allegedly shot and killed the boy’s grandfather, Dr. William Lewis Corporon, 69, who was taking Reat to the audition.
"I waited for my dad to pick him up and make sure everything was OK, and I had him sing one more time, and I got to kiss him and tell him I loved him,” Corporon said of the last time she saw her son alive.
She showed up to the Jewish Community Campus after a lacrosse game she was attending got canceled because of weather, and immediately saw her dad’s truck in the parking lot, with the doors open.
Both her father and son were dead on the ground.
"I feel confident in what I heard, that they didn’t feel anything, they didn’t know what was coming,” Corporon said. “They were ambushed."
Less than 24 hours after Cross allegedly opened fire at the community center and a nearby Jewish senior center, killing one other person in his hate-filled rampage, the grief-stricken mom showed signs of strength.
"It was a horrible act of violence and my dad and my son were at the wrong place at the wrong time for a split second,” she said. “We want something good to come out of this, we don’t know what that’s going to be, so we want people to let us know if they think something good has come.”
Corporon, whose family is not Jewish, said her son had signed up to be an organ donor when he recently got his driver’s permit.
"He was with us for a wonderful 14 years, he had a really full life for a 14-year-old and we’re very blessed,” she said.
Her brother Will Corporon also spoke about losing his father and nephew.
"All it takes is an idiot with a gun,” he said of the senseless shootings.
"That idiot completely knocked a family to its knees for no reason. My dad should be seeing patients today at his work. Reat would have been in school today studying and being with his friends. There’s no reason, no reason for this. It’s just a tragedy.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 17:45:20 PM
(NEW YORK) -- A British ice cream maker says he created Viagra ice cream for an A-list party.
Charlie Harry Francis of “Lick Me I’m Delicious,” who made headlines last year for his glow-in-the-dark ice cream, said the Viagra concoction was “one of the weirder requests” from a celebrity client.
“They’ve made us sign a confidentiality agreement, so we can’t say much about it,” Francis wrote on his blog. “But I am allowed to say that they were ‘very happy with the end result.’”
Each “ball” of the pale blue dessert, dubbed “The Arousal,” packed 25 milligrams of the erectile dysfunction drug and a hint of bubbly champagne, Francis said.
Viagra is only available by prescription in the U.K. and in the U.S. The recommended starting dose is 50 milligrams, which can be taken with or without food up to four hours before sexual activity, according to the National Institutes of Health.
“However, if you take [Viagra] with a high-fat meal, it will take longer for the medication to start to work,” the NIH states on its website.
The fat content of The Arousal is unclear.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 17:40:50 PM
(NEW YORK) -- Shoppers were out in full force last month, pushing retail sales up more than 1 percent. That got investors in a buying mood Monday, along with a better-than=expected quarterly report from Citigroup.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 146 points to close the session at 16,173.24. The S&P finished at 1,830.61, up about 15 points. The Nasdaq Composite added 22 points, ending at 4,022.69.
Meanwhile, General Motors is shaking up its management. A spokesman says it is not the result of a string of recalls and federal investigations. Rather, the changes are part of CEO Mary Barra's effort to build her own team.
The automaker announced Monday that John J. Quattrone would replace Melissa A. Howell at Sr. Vice President of Global Human Resources. Selim Bingol, Sr. Vice President of Global Communications and Public Policy, is also leaving the company. According to a statement, Howell and Bingol are both leaving GM "to pursue other interests."
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 17:22:57 PM
(WASHINGTON) -- While the U.S. struggles to complete a bilateral security agreement with Afghanistan, House Speaker John Boehner has concluded his first trip there as speaker of the House.
Boehner and several other senior GOP members of the U.S. House of Representatives met with American troops, as well as Ambassador James B. Cunningham and General Joseph F. Dunford
“The delegation sent a strong, unequivocal message that the House of Representatives wants to maintain a right-sized presence in Afghanistan to successfully complete the work that has been done to date, and to honor the sacrifice of thousands of troops and civilians, as well as their families,” a statement from Boehner’s office reads.
Boehner previously visited Afghanistan prior to the Republicans’ capturing the House majority.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 16:28:09 PM
(NEW YORK) -- Pressure is growing for federal regulation of the booming e-cigarette industry.
Supporters say e-cigs help people quit the habit, giving them the nicotine they crave without the unhealthy smoke of traditional cigarettes. But a new congressional report written largely by staffers for Democratic Senators and House members says concerns about electronic cigarettes underscore the need for regulation.
Industry critics say an array of flavors and marketing may appeal to young people. There is also a lack of age restrictions and consistent warning labels for the battery-powered devices, which work by heating liquid nicotine in a disposable cartridge and creating a vapor that smokers can then inhale.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 16:21:10 PM
(WASHINGTON) -- Treasury Secretary Jack Lew signed a $1 billion loan guarantee for the Ukrainian government at the Treasury Department Monday morning.
Lew was joined by Ukrainian Finance Minister Oleksandr Shlapak at the signing ceremony.
“We view today's documents and today's signing as a sign of…support from the United States of America of the aspirations of the Ukrainian people to freedom, democracy and European values,” Shlapak said. “We view today's signing as the first step towards broad financial assistance to our nation.”
Secretary Lew also said the U.S. was willing to impose “additional significant sanctions” against Russia as tension in eastern Ukraine escalates.
“[W]orking with our allies, we are fully prepared to impose additional significant sanctions on Russia as it continues to escalate the situation in Ukraine, including apparently through support to a…campaign by armed militants in east Ukraine,” Lew said Monday in the Cash Room at the Treasury Department.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 16:20:40 PM
(WASHINGTON) -- It may be that domestic arguments are an unavoidable part of matrimony. For some couples, however, the answer lies not with a marriage counselor, but with a visit to the kitchen.
Hunger could be the sinister culprit behind your argument, according to a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Researchers at the Department of Psychology at the Ohio State University followed 107 couples, married for an average of 12 years, and found a link between levels of blood sugar and feelings of aggression against a spouse.
“We know there is a link between self-control and blood sugar levels,” said study author Dr. Brad Bushman, professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University. “The lower your blood sugar, the lower your ability to control your aggression.
“This is the first time we have tested this theory outside of a controlled environment. Married couples represent as a perfect real-world extension.”
To test their theories, researchers rolled out some unique strategies -- using voodoo dolls and a computer game.
Each night, couples measured their aggression toward one another by placing needles, up to 50, in small voodoo dolls, meant to represent their spouse. Later, at the end of 21-day study, couples then competed against one another in a computer game, with the victors winning the opportunity to “blast” their partners with obnoxious noises, such as fingernails on a chalkboard or a dentist’s drill.
Both of these phases of the study proved a single point: When a person’s blood sugar is lower than normal, they were more likely to act aggressively. It was at these times that the voodoo dolls got stuck the most and their partners were subjected to the loudest blasts of noise.
According to Bushman, this result is exactly what past research has predicted. When your blood sugar is lower than its set baseline, your ability to curb negative emotions is impaired. So universal is the phenomenon that it has even entered the vernacular as its own term: “hangry.” This type of hunger-induced anger has recently been popularized in candy bar commercials and popular sitcoms as well.
Dr. Nathan DeWall, professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky and one of the study’s researchers, said the study demonstrates how self-control requires energy -- energy that is in short supply when we are famished.
“Self-control, impulse control uses energy, both mental and physical,” DeWall said. “When we deplete that energy, we have a higher tendency of doing things we regret, such as hurting our loved ones.”
Relationship experts not involved with the study said it demonstrates how crucially hunger can affect our emotions.
“Hunger is one of many external forces that play a part in frustration and temperament,” said Dr. Scott Weltzer, vice chairman of the department of psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center and the director of its Supporting Healthy Relationships program. He added that this phenomenon is often even more evident in close relationships, such as those between married couples.
“Marital tension is analogous to a taught rubber band, and hunger can be the force that causes it to snap,” he said. “We are all less inhibited around our loved ones and more likely to lash out at home than we are in the workplace.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 15:24:09 PM
(WASHINGTON) -- What if the United States has been waging the wrong war against the wrong enemy for the last 13 years in Afghanistan?
Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Carlotta Gall, who's spent more than a decade covering Afghanistan since 2001, concludes just that in her new book, The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014.
Gall told the ABC News/Yahoo! News series On the Radar that Pakistan – not Afghanistan – has been the United States’ real enemy.
“Instead of fighting a very grim and tough war which was very high in casualties on Afghans, as well as NATO and American soldiers, the problem wasn't in the Afghan villages,” Gall said. “The source of the problem, the radicalization, the sponsoring of the insurgency, was all happening in Pakistan.”
Gall said she first had the realization that Pakistan was fueling the insurgency in Afghanistan “very soon” after the Sept. 11 attacks.
“I went to Quetta and found Taliban resting up there and regrouping,” she said. “They had assistance, some of them talked about being forced and threatened and told to go in and fight the Americans…and when you're there, on the ground, seeing every bombing, the suicide bombing had started, the insurgency that grew, and you investigate where it's coming from, it kept leading back to Pakistan.”
Gall said that Pakistan’s leaders, and especially former President Pervez Musharraf, were “very clever” and tricked the United States into believing that Pakistan was an ally.
“I think the politicians, not all of them, but the diplomats…it took ages for them to understand that actually the persuasion wasn't working; the engagement wasn't bringing them on board; they were actually double dealing,” she said. “And now diplomats will tell you very plainly, ‘Yes, Musharraf was double dealing.’”
Perhaps the biggest betrayal of all in the U.S.-Pakistani relationship, and one that came as no surprise to Gall, was the fact that Osama bin Laden found shelter in Abbottabad, Pakistan, for six years before he was killed in a Navy SEAL raid in 2011. And, according to Gall, Pakistan’s government was orchestrating his protection.
“Pakistan did know,” Gall said, speaking about bin Laden’s location. “They were hiding him, they were handling him. Someone on the inside told me this. They had a special desk that knew where bin Laden was.
“Not only that, but put him there, protected him, oversaw him, handled him in the terms of the secret intelligence services,” she added. “And it's all deniable, but I’m told the top bosses knew.”
Despite the awareness of Pakistan’s “double dealing” today, Gall said that relations with Pakistan are no better now than in the past.
“Our relations with Pakistan have gone back to the same thing, and the thing that concerns me is that Zawahiri is still out there, in Pakistan, I believe,” she said. “He is also probably being hidden the same way and protected.”
For more of the interview with Gall, including her concerns for the future of Afghanistan as foreign military assistance is withdrawn, check out this episode of On the Radar.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 15:20:45 PM
(NEW YORK) -- As Boston prepares to hold its 2014 marathon a year after the attacks, security planning has been “on steroids,” with new preparations -- both visible and less apparent -- that draw on lessons learned last year, Gov. Deval Patrick said.
“We’ve had every conceivable asset engaged in the planning for this year,” Patrick, D-Mass., told ABC’s Rick Klein and ESPN’s Andy Katz, in an interview for the new audio podcast Capital Games.
“I will say that planning has been pretty rigorous in the past, and every year after the marathon or other large public events the team does a recap of what we’ve learned and how we can improve for the next time. You have to imagine this was on steroids this time, of course,” Patrick said.
“We feel very prepared,” he continued. “At the same time, it’s important for us to strike a balance between stepping up security, both that which people will see and that which they won’t see -- the undercover and the cameras and so forth -- and also preserving the family-friendly nature of what is a civic ritual.”
Organizers have put in place a host of new security restrictions and regulations this year, anticipating the increased public and media interest and the potential for the marathon to again be a target for would-be terrorists.
Runners and fans will notice some differences. But the race will mark an important moment for the city and the nation next Monday, Patrick said.
“We came through this stronger. We were reminded of the strength of this community and the way people pull together at every level,” Patrick said. “To some extent the innocence of that day was surely affected. But at the same time, the courage and the kindness and the grace of that day it turns out was deep in us all along. And we’re proud of that, and you’ll see that on display.”
Not all preparations will be apparent to runners or those along the race route in Massachusetts: “There will be a large presence of undercover law enforcement as well as uniformed law enforcement. People who are behavior specialists and so forth are just trying to keep an eye on people without sort of freaking them out,” Patrick said.
“I think we have planned to the greatest extent possible for just about everything, and then kicked that up a notch or two,” he said. “The strength of this community was so on display for the world and for ourselves. And that is something I think has been enormously important to call out and to celebrate and to encourage, because it is the source of our strength not just in recovering from that tragedy but in solving all kinds of problems in front of us.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 15:13:57 PM
(NEW YORK) -- Kate Upton's chest has helped make her an international star, but the swimsuit model told The Sun she wishes her breasts were smaller.
Upton told the British tabloid, “I wish I had smaller boobs every day of my life as I would love to wear spaghetti tops braless or go for the smallest bikini designs," adding, “Every single day I’m like, ‘Oh man, it would be so much easier’, especially if people didn’t constantly bring them up."
The 21-year-old supermodel added wistfully, “If I could just take them off like they were clip-ons...”
However, Upton seems to backtrack in the same interview and is quick to point out that she's comfortable in her own skin. “I love my boobs and I’m proud of my size. That’s an important message to young girls -- love who you are,” she added.
She continued, “It’s so easy to feel negative about yourself and it is totally self-destructive. If you can only love and accept who you are you will be a lot happier.”
Upton thinks Cameron Diaz, her co-star in the upcoming movie, The Other Woman, has the perfect figure.
The Other Woman, also co-stars Leslie Mann and Nicki Minaj. It hits movie theaters April 25.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 14:04:00 PM
(NEW YORK) -- New York City gained access this weekend to an unlimited coffee subscription service that tries to compete with brew giants like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts.
CUPS, the Israeli-originated app, currently partners with 40 independent coffee shops across the city to offer unlimited drinks for a flat monthly fee.
Though 40 shops may sound like a lot, they’re pretty much all located in downtown Manhattan. But CUPS founder Gilad Rotem said the service plans to expand to 200 shops in the next few months, and other cities across the country after that.
“People love their coffee, and the idea of unlimited coffee -- especially not in Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts, but rather high-quality, cool independent coffee shops -- is something that’s appealing to many,” Rotem said.
He declined to discuss the financial agreement between the app and the shops.
The service is $45 for brewed coffee and $85 for espresso-based drinks, and seems like a deal for the joe-obsessed. But is it worth it for anyone else?
Brew Coffee- $45/month
A medium coffee a day in a 31-day month would set you back nearly $73.* That makes the $45 subscription worth it. Only go on the way to work? Twenty medium coffees are $47, so you’re still safe. But that’s only if you get the medium or larger and go every day before work. Don’t plan on getting sick.
Espresso Shots- $85/month
More of an espresso shot taker? One a day for 31 days is only $70 -- so the $85 price tag is a rip-off. Unless, of course, you’re ripping shots at least twice a day.
Espresso Drinks- $85/month
If you go for the espresso-based drinks every day for a month, you’re at $132, which is a significant amount of savings using the app. And if you only go before work, that’s $85 and you still come out even. This is definitely the part of the deal that gives you the most bang for your buck.
One thing to note, though, is that the subscription doesn’t include “extras” like soy or almond milk, flavored syrups, whipped cream or extra shots.
*Numbers based on prices at The Bean in New York City, one of the app’s partnered shops.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 13:51:11 PM
(WASHINGTON) -- While the Supreme Court considers one challenge to a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a federal appeals court located just blocks away is contemplating a separate challenge that could have much more dire consequences for the future of the law.
“What you’re asking for is to destroy the individual mandate, which guts the statute,” Judge Harry T. Edwards of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said to an attorney representing the challengers during a hearing on March 25.
The case -- Halbig vs. Sebelius -- was heard by Edwards and two other judges and they are expected to rule in the coming months.
It concerns the American Health Benefit Exchanges (known as “exchanges”). The ACA provides for the establishment of the exchanges that are meant to help individuals (who in general are not getting insurance from an employer) to purchase competitively-priced health insurance. The philosophy behind the exchanges is that collective purchasing power will lead to more affordable insurance.
The ACA states that states can establish or operate the exchanges, or the federal government will step in to do so.
So far, 16 states and the District of Columbia have elected to set up their own exchanges, while 34 states rely on federally run exchanges.
The conflict at the center of the Halbig case (and three other challenges across the country) has to do with tax subsidies granted to those who seek to obtain insurance from the exchanges. The ACA grants the credits to qualifying individuals in order to defray the cost of the insurance. Millions of Americans are expected to take advantage of the subsidies.
But challengers to the law dispute who is eligible for the tax credits.
On one side, the IRS interprets the law as authorizing the agency to grant tax credits to individuals using either the state or federal exchanges. On the other side are challengers to the law who question that interpretation.
The challengers say that while the text of the law allows the subsidies for the state-run exchanges, there is nothing in the law that says the subsidies should be available for the federal exchanges.
“This is yet another example where the president and his agencies are playing fast and loose with the text of the law because they are trying to get the result they want,” said Carrie Severino, chief counsel for the Judicial Crisis Network, who is a critic of the ACA.
Michael A. Carvin, a lawyer for the challengers, argued in court briefs that the IRS is wrong in its interpretation of the law and the agency purports to “dispense billions of dollars in federal spending that Congress never authorized.”
Carvin is representing individuals and employers who are likely to face fines because of the IRS rule.
Michael Cannon, of the Cato Institute, was a very early critic of the IRS interpretation of the law. Cannon said he believes that the supporters of the law never imagined that so many states would decline to set up the exchanges. “Congress gave states the power to veto exchange subsidies,” Cannon said. “That’s the last thing President Obama wants, so the president decided to issue the subsidies in federal exchanges, even though he only had the authority to issue them for state exchanges.”
As of March 7, 2.6 million people have selected a federal exchange and 85 percent of them have selected a plan with financial assistance, according to U.S. Health and Human Services statistics.
Ron Pollack of Families USA is a strong supporter of the law and the exchanges. He dismisses Carvin’s arguments about costs. “If you just look at the provision of subsidies, it does cost money -- there is no question. But the overall budget impact of the ACA is that it reduces the federal deficit,” he said. “There are many provisions in the ACA that create significant economies. Those economies more than offset the overall additional costs in the ACA.”
Pollack said the law and the intent of Congress is clear: subsidies should be available for all those who qualify, whether the exchanges are run by the state or the federal government.
The Department of Justice says the challengers are reading the ACA the wrong way. “Congress made clear that an exchange established by the federal government stands in the shoes of the exchange that a state chooses not to establish,” the agency argued in court briefs.
The challengers in Halbig vs. Sebelius are simply political foes of the law giving an artificial read to the statute, Pollack said. He worries if the challengers ultimately prevail, “it would mean that the key purpose of the ACA -- which is to extend affordable health coverage to the many millions of people in the country who don’t have it today -- would be frustrated.”
During the Halbig argument, Judge Edwards (appointed to the bench by President Jimmy Carter) strongly supported the government’s interpretation of the law. He told the challengers’ lawyer that Congress’ intent was to expand the availability of affordable health coverage not to restrict subsidies for the states that have opted for the federal exchanges. At one point he called Carvin’s arguments “preposterous.”
But he was contradicted by his own bench mate, Judge A. Raymond Randolph (appointed by George H.W. Bush). Randolph made clear his disdain for the law as a whole calling it “cobbled together” and “poorly written.”
Randolph suggested that the textual ambiguity in the law represents not a drafting error, but Congress’ intent. “Congress acted on the assumption that dangling this carrot in front of the states and the politicians and the governors of the state would lead to the fact that the states themselves would set up exchanges, rather than the federal government,” he said.
The third judge on the panel, Thomas B. Griffith (appointed by George W. Bush), held his cards more closely to the vest. But at one point he suggested that if Congress hadn’t made itself clear, “is it our job to fix the problem?”
If this panel of judges rules against the law in this case, the government could ask that a larger panel of judges on the same court hear the case. But supporters are concerned that one of the challenges, currently playing out in four different federal courts across the country, could one day end up, front and center, at the highest court in the land.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 13:44:47 PM
(ATLANTA) -- Another tough break for the Washington Nationals as third baseman Ryan Zimmerman will be out the next four to six weeks with a broken right thumb.
The Nationals placed Zimmerman on the disabled list after suffering the injury during the team's loss to the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.
"It is what it is. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us," Nationals manager Matt Williams said.
Zimmerman was off to a hot start with the Natinoals this season, his tenth with the team. In 10 games, Zimmerman was hitting .364 with two home runs.
The injury forces the Nationals to shake up their team, as Anthony Rendon will move from second to third base while shortstop Danny Espinosa will shift to second base.
"It's not our first choice, certainly, but the fact that they can play multiple positions is good in times like this," Williams added.
The team is also dealing with injuries to Denard Span, and Jayson Werth.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 13:04:00 PM
(OVERLAND PARK, Kan.) -- The 73-year-old man charged with murder in the shooting at a Jewish community center and retirement community in Overland Park, Kan., that left three people dead Sunday is reportedly the former Grand Dragon of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., of Aurora, Mo., was taken into custody in the parking lot of an elementary school near the scene of the shootings, and was booked on a charge of first degree murder, according to the Johnson County, Kansas, Sheriff's Office.
Cross is an alias for Frazier Glenn Miller, the former KKK leader, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
In a statement released Sunday night, the SPLC said it was able to identify Cross as Miller after a phone conversation with Miller's wife, Marge, in which she told them police had come to her home and told her that her husband had been arrested in the shootings.
The address listed by the sheriff's office for Cross is the same address Frazier Glenn Miller used when filing candidate papers to run for Congress in Missouri in 2006 and when he sued the secretary of state for refusing to let him on the ballot.
Among the three people killed in the shootings were a 14-year-old Eagle Scout and his grandfather, according to the family of the two.
"It is with deep sadness that we confirm the tragic loss of Dr. William Lewis Corporon and Reat Griffin Underwood (Losen) who died as a result of the injuries they sustained in today's shooting at the Jewish Community Center. Dr. Corporon was Reat's grandfather, whom he loved very much," said a statement signed "Will Corporon, Son and Uncle."
The two were shot at the town's Jewish Community Center, Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass said. One died at the scene and the other died after being taken to a hospital, he said.
The third victim was a woman who was shot at the Village Shalom retirement community, Douglass said. She died on the scene.
It was believed the shooter fired at two other people, but neither was hit, the police chief said.
"We have no indication that he knew the victims," Douglass said.
"We're investigating it as a hate crime, we're investigating it as a criminal act, we haven't ruled out anything," he added.
"There was a shotgun that was involved," Douglass said. "We are exploring the possibility that a handgun was involved in the shooting at the two persons that he missed, and we are looking at the possibility of an assault rifle."
According to the family statement, Underwood was a freshman at Blue Valley High School, and participated in debate, theatre "and had a beautiful voice. Reat had a passion for life, and touched so many people in his young age." He was an Eagle Scout and "loved spending time camping and hunting with his grandfather, father, and brother," the statement said.
Corporon practiced family medicine in Marlow and Duncan, Okla., from 1976 through 2003, before moving with his wife to the Kansas City area to be closer to their grandchildren, the statement said.
Police had still not released the identities of the victims late Sunday evening, but Rev. Adam Hamilton of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood said the two male victims were members of the church.
Hamilton led prayers for the victims' family Sunday afternoon during Palm Sunday services.
The Jewish Community Center confirmed the shooting on its Facebook page and said it occurred near the Lewis and Shirley White Theater entrance and that the building was put on lockdown. According to the center's website, a production of To Kill a Mockingbird was scheduled to start at 2 p.m.
The center released a statement explaining that the shooting occurred in the parking lot.
"Our hearts go out to the families who have suffered loss on this tragic day," read the statement in part. "Our heartfelt gratitude as well to all those in Kansas City and around the world who have expressed sympathy, concern and support."
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 12:36:12 PM
(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- Oscar Pistorius broke down in the witness stand Monday as prosecutor Gerrie Nel relentlessly quizzed him about the precise details on the night he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius, 27, is on trial in Pretoria, South Africa, accused of murder in the Valentine’s Day 2013 shooting. Pistorius says he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.
Nel repeatedly questioned Pistorius about whether or not he intended to shoot at the perceived intruders behind the bathroom door, saying the athlete is changing his defense.
“My defense is I heard the noise, I didn’t have time to think, I fired out of fear,” Pistorius said. Nel targeted that statement, explaining that the athlete’s account had changed from self-defense to involuntary action.
“I did not fire at Reeva!” Pistorius wailed. As his sobbing continued, the court adjourned for a short time to allow Pistorius the chance to compose himself.
During Monday’s cross-examination, Nel continued to assault Pistorius’ credibility, questioning several statements Pistorius made previously that were not in his bail application or his plea explanation, saying they are examples of how Pistorius tailors his evidence.
The prosecutor, known in South Africa as the “Bull Terrier” for his no-holds-barred approach to cross-examination, questioned Pistorius about hearing a sound coming from the bathroom, alleging that Pistorius heard Steenkamp fall against a magazine rack and used that sound to adjust his aim.
Pistorius broke down on the stand when Nel asked him to repeat his exact words the night of the shooting.
“I screamed, ‘Get the f*** out of my house … get the f***out of my house,’” Pistorius said, weeping.
Nel also analyzed blood spatter from the crime scene, saying the blood came from Pistorius’ carrying the victim’s body. The two disagreed about the position of a duvet.
Nel argued that Steenkamp’s clothing was packed in an overnight bag, with only her jeans in the bedroom -- a clue that the couple had been fighting. Pistorius was also steadfast that the couple last ate at 7 p.m., despite the discovery of food in Steenkamp’s system.
If Pistorius is found guilty, he could face 25 years to life in prison.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 12:35:40 PM
(NEW YORK) -- Turn your gaze to the stars Monday night for an eerie and spectacular view of the “blood moon.” At 12:53 a.m. ET, the Earth will begin to position itself between the sun and the moon for the first of a series of four total eclipses to conclude in September 2015.
The phenomenon is known as a tetrad, in which the moon is completely covered by the earth’s umbral shadow for four eclipses in a row, as opposed to only partial eclipses that fall in the outer penumbra. But rather than succumbing to complete darkness, the moon will glow red as it receives the refracted light that spills over the Earth’s circumference.
The series is a rare occurrence in history, with large spans of time, such as the 300 years between 1600 and 1900, witnessing none. But the 21st century will be more promising, according to Fred Espenak, who works for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and specializes in eclipse predictions.
“Frequency sort of goes through 585-year cycles,” the astrophysicist explains. “So you go through centuries where you don’t have any, and centuries where you have a number of them.”
The next tetrad will begin in 2032.
Other factors add to the singularity of this year’s event. For one, North America will have front-row seats to the show, which is not always a guarantee. It just so happens that this part of the western hemisphere, along with some of South America, will align perfectly with the cast shadow. The rest of the world, on the other hand, will experience partial visibility or none at all.
To catch the moon at its bloodiest (with the naked eye but weather permitting), spectators should look up at 3:07 a.m. when it is entirely covered by the earth’s shadow.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 11:22:45 AM
(NEW YORK) -- A recent black bear attack in a Florida suburb has people on edge as authorities hunt for the missing animal, which fled after mauling a woman in her garage over the weekend.
The odds of encountering a bear outside the wild are slim, experts say, but here’s what to do if you ever come face-to-face:
Brown Bear vs. Black Bear
First, know what bear you’re dealing with.
If you’re in the eastern part of the country, you’ll only come in contact with black bears. If you’re out west, brown bears, or grizzlies -- distinguished by a shoulder hump and a concave or "dished" facial profile -- are also a possibility.
"What can be confusing is if you go out west, black bears can be brown or cinnamon in color," Bill Stiver, a wildlife biologist at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park told ABC News.
Don’t Play Dead Unless ...
The only time playing dead works as a survival technique is if you’re dealing with a brown bear whose attack was a defense -- maybe it’s guarding its cubs or food, Stiver said.
Simply stop moving and the bear will stop attacking.
"They’ll fight until that threat is gone," he said. "With black bears, you don’t see that. They’re not as defensive of their cubs. Usually, if a black bear attacks you, it’s an offensive attack."
In that case, fight.
"If you’re attacked, your best defense is to fight back with everything you’ve got,” Stiver said. “Punch it, kick it, do everything you can to get that animal off you."
Get Big and Loud, but Never Run
If a bear approaches, make some noise.
"Clapping your hands, yelling -- even throwing things is appropriate,” Stiver said. “You’re trying to scare it away before it gets too close. Get a big stick, some rocks. Bang pots and pans."
Bears will back away from the clatter. Wave your arms and stand as tall as possible to make yourself appear larger. If you’re with a group of people, stand together.
Never run or climb trees -- two things bears are better at than humans.
"Stand your ground. You can’t outrun a bear,” Stiver said. “You’re basically trying to show the bear you’re not afraid of it."
Drop the Food, Cameras
Most bear encounters happen when food is out in the open, according to Linda Friar of the National Park Service.
"If you’re camping, make sure you move the food away from where you’re sleeping,” she said. “And make sure you’re using bear-proof containers that restrict odors. The most common interactions are with campers or backpackers who have food that the bear can smell.”
And if you’re awake and approached by a bear, drop any food you’re holding.
Also keep cameras and smartphones pocketed.
"We find that some visitors in national parks across the country get too close -- particularly with cameras -- and try to interact with the bear, not realizing they’re wild animals," Friar said. “That’s not a good idea.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 11:02:56 AM
(WASHINGTON) -- At the Easter prayer breakfast Monday morning, President Obama reflected on his recent meeting with Pope Francis and their conversation about “the imperatives of addressing poverty and inequality.”
The president read a passage from the Francis’ The Joy of the Gospel, which he received as a gift. Obama said the message “speaks to us today.”
“‘Christ's resurrection,’ [Francis] writes, ‘is not an event of the past, it contains a vital power which has permeated this world.’ And he adds, ‘Jesus did not rise in vain. May we never remain on the sidelines of this march of living hope.’ So this morning, my main message is just to say thank you to all of you because you don't remain on the sidelines,” Obama told his guests.
Obama said the appeal of Pope Francis is found both in his words -- a “message of justice and inclusion” -- and his deeds -- “simple yet profound.”
The president said he believes the pope is a reminder that “no matter what our station, have an obligation to live righteously and that we all have an obligation to live humbly, because that's, in fact, the example that we profess to follow.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 10:50:17 AM
(PAYSON, Utah) -- The Utah man who was rescued Saturday after being stranded with his two young sons in a canyon for days says “anything could have happened” during their terrifying ordeal.
Jason Knight of Payson, Utah, took his 8- and 11-year-old sons camping Tuesday in Utah’s Sandthrax Canyon. The trio got lost when Knight says he took a wrong turn that led them to a far more dangerous canyon.
“It was supposed to be a three-hour tour,” Knight said. “I made a wrong turn.”
“Everything out there looks the same,” he said.
Knight said he positioned his sons on a safe ledge while he went on to find an escape. That only made the family’s ordeal worse, however, when Knight became trapped in the narrow walls of the canyon, about 350 feet away from his children.
“They could not hear me. I could not hear them,” Knight said.
A break finally came on Friday when Knight’s wife called authorities after her husband and sons failed to return home. County authorities launched a search and, on Saturday, a helicopter located the boys.
“I put them in a place where a helicopter could easily find them,” Knight said. “I knew if something bad happened to me, if they found them, they could probably find me.”
Knight says his sons had only one granola bar and some water on hand while they were lost. All three family members survived the ordeal with only bumps and bruises and some dehydration.
“We were in a very bad situation and without preparedness and the rescue people,” Knight said, “we wouldn’t have made it out.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 10:45:31 AM
(NEW YORK) -- Google wants retailers to know exactly what they’re getting when spending large amounts of money on Internet advertising.
The online search and advertising leader is reportedly partnering with half a dozen retailers to match tracking cookies on users’ computers to in-store sales information.
“The company’s new pilot program involves AdWords, its biggest advertising program, in which advertisers place links next to Internet-search results,” reports The Wall Street Journal.
As the newspaper explains, Google makes money when computer users click on an ad and visit the advertiser’s website.
The new program might help brick-and-mortar retailers link the effectiveness of online advertising to sales in their stores.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 09:19:28 AM
(LOS ANGELES) -- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was golden Sunday night at the MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles.
The sequel received the golden popcorn trophy for movie of the year, winning the fan vote over 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Wolf of Wall Street.
One of the film's stars, Josh Hutcherson, dedicated the honor to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, who made his Hunger Games debut in Catching Fire.
Hutcherson remarked, "I know if Philip were here, he would really think this is really cool. To have him in our movies was one of the coolest things in the world....We think about him every day on set."
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire also earned the awards for best male and female performance, for Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence, respectively.
Zac Efron received the golden popcorn trophy for best shirtless performance, in That Awkward Moment. While accepting the award, presenter Rita Ora helped him remove his shirt, revealing his six-pack.
Mila Kunis, who's reportedly expecting a child with Ashton Kutcher, had what appeared to be a small baby bump, but she didn't mention anything about her relationship or her pregnancy when she picked up the best villain award for Oz The Great and Powerful.
MTV saluted Channing Tatum with its Trailblazer Award, for "boldly paving the way with his unique and diverse path in the film industry." And Mark Wahlberg was given the MTV Generation Award for engaging the network's audience throughout his career.
Amanda Seyfried stumbled with her words while presenting the best comedic performance award -- won by Jonah Hill -- with Seth MacFarlane. She said she couldn't read the teleprompter well because she wasn't wearing her contacts.
MacFarlane quipped, "So far this is going about as well as the Oscars," referring to his controversial turn as host of the Academy Awards in 2013.
The broadcast briefly struck a somber note when Jordana Brewster introduced a tribute to her late Fast and the Furious co-star, Paul Walker. Walker and Vin Diesel were named best on-screen duo, for Fast & Furious 6.
Conan O'Brien hosted the 22nd annual MTV Movie Awards from the Nokia Theatre. The two-hour broadcast began with a taped segment in which he vowed to get 50 celebrity cameos in the show's open. He was able to pull it off, with the help of Andy Samberg, Seth Rogen, Jessica Alba, Ashton Kutcher, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Jack White, Jason Bateman, Martin Scorsese and many more.
The ceremony featured musical performances from Eminem and Rihanna, who delivered a live rendition of their hit, "The Monster"; Zedd and Ellie Goulding, who performed their Divergent songs "Find You" and "Beating Heart"; and the rock duo Twenty One Pilots.
The show also offered a sneak peek at upcoming movies, including X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and The Fault in Our Stars.
Here are the winners:
Movie of the Year
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Best Male Performance
Josh Hutcherson, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Best Female Performance
Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Best Scared-As-S**t Performance
Brad Pitt, World War Z
Best On-Screen Duo
Vin Diesel & Paul Walker, Fast & Furious 6
Best Comedic Performance
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Best Shirtless Performance
Zac Efron, That Awkward Moment
Mila Kunis, Oz The Great and Powerful
Tris (played by Shailene Woodley), Divergent
Emma Roberts, Jennifer Aniston & Will Poulter, We're the Millers
Orlando Bloom & Evangeline Lilly vs. Orcs, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Best On-Screen Transformation
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Breakthrough Performance
Will Poulter, We're the Millers
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Best Musical Moment
Backstreet Boys, Jay Baruchel, Seth Rogen & Craig Robinson, This Is the End
Rihanna, This Is the End
Henry Cavill as Clark Kent, Man of Steel
MTV Trailblazer Award
MTV Generation Award
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 08:16:21 AM
(NEW YORK) -- Indiana University freshman Julian Batts seemed to be on a roll during his appearance on Wheel of Fortune, until a series of unfortunate answers torpedoed his chance for a car, a trip to Jamaica and a shot at a million dollars.
Batts filled in the letters to practically solve the puzzle “Mythological Hero Achilles,” but he mispronounced the hero’s name, saying instead: “A-chill-is.”
It cost him potentially $1 million.
In an interview with ABC News' Good Morning America, Batts explained what was going through his mind when he realized what had slipped through his fingers in the episode, which aired Friday during the show’s College Week.
“It just kind of hit me like a train and I really didn’t know how to react to it -- the game continued on and [another contestant from] Texas A&M, she solved it and it hit me right then and there that it was Achilles,” he said. “I didn’t feel like I made a mistake but I feel like I solved the puzzle entirely and all I had to do was read it and I just went for it and I did my best.”
In a statement to ABC News, Wheel of Fortune said: “When a contestant tries to solve a puzzle, they must pronounce it using the generally accepted pronunciation.”
His misfortune wasn’t over. In the Person category, with just one letter missing from the phrase “The World’s Fastest _a_,” Batts chose a letter “C.” There was no “C.”
Another contestant solved correctly: “The World’s Fastest Man.”
And in another puzzle-solving misstep, Batts said, “On the Spot Dice Spin” instead of ‘On the Spot Decision.”
Even though Batts went on to win the game, his major mistakes cost him big money.
“I don’t think anyone has ever taken a more circuitous route to victory, but the important thing is you’re here and you’ve got $11,700 dollars and we’re pleased about that,” the show’s host, Pat Sajak, said during the episode.
So how does Batts feel about the experience? “It was a dream and it was one of the greatest experiences I’ve accomplished so far,” he said.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 07:53:33 AM
(NEW YORK) -- Previous studies have shown that when children get less sleep, it has negative effects on both their mental and physical health. Now, a study specifically links TV watching with lack of proper sleep.
Researchers at Mass General Hospital for Children and the Harvard School of Public Health studied more than 1,800 kids over several years and found that the more time children ages 6 months to 8 years watch TV, the less sleep they get.
More specifically, the researchers discovered that each additional hour of television viewing was associated with seven fewer minutes of sleep daily. The effects were more pronounced in boys than in girls.
Furthermore, if the children slept in the presence of a bedroom TV, they slept about a half an hour less per day.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 07:51:27 AM
(NEW YORK) -- Like a lot of what we do, the amount of risk we're willing to take in a game of chance is tied to how much pleasure we derive from it.
Dr. Kaisa Hytonen of Finland's Aalto University explains, "The stronger the emotion areas of the brain react to experiences of profit and loss, the more people subsequently accept risk."
Hytonen, a neurofinance researcher, said that by studying MRI images of the brain of people making choices subject to risk, he could see that the desire to engage in greater risk taking, after profit and loss, linked to greater activity in the processes affecting mood.
He adds that the choices people make when risk is involved is also influenced by previous experience.
That seemed to be the case whether people are at a casino, the racetrack or playing the stock market.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 05:32:37 AM
(PERTH, Australia) -- Search crews have stopped seeking pinger signals in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, and an underwater vessel will now be deployed in the southern Indian Ocean, a process that officials are describing as painstaking and slow.
Angus Houston, retired Australian Air Chief Marshal, who is head of the joint agency coordinating the search for the missing jetliner, discussed the updates at a Monday press conference. Houston said the Bluefin-21 will be deployed, creating a sonar map of the area to chart any debris on the sea floor.
So far, crews have detected four signals consistent with the pings of an airplane's black box. But the black box pingers only have battery life for about a month -- and given the plane’s March 8 disappearance, officials believe too much time has passed for any new signals.
"We haven't had a single detection in six days, and I guess it's time to go under water," Houston said.
Officials are hoping to find the black boxes in order to understand what happened to the jetliner, which disappeared with 239 people on board.
Houston warned that the switch to the submarine "will be a slow and painstaking process."
The Bluefin-21 will take a total of 24 hours to conduct each mission. Two hours will be needed for the sub to get to the bottom of the ocean, 16 hours for it to execute its search, two more hours for it to return to the surface, and another four hours to download and analyze the data it collected.
Search crews will continue scouring the area for visual debris, with 12 planes and 15 ships involved in Monday’s efforts.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 04:38:40 AM
(NEW YORK) -- San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday after indicating that he was in possession of a bomb.
According to the LAPD, Smith was charged with a false bomb report that carries a penalty of up to one year in prison. The incident occured at Terminal 1 at LAX when Smith was randomly chosen for additional security screening. Los Angeles World Airports PIO Sgt. Karla Ortiz says that was the linebacker become belligerent and uncooperative.
Smith reportedly commented that he was in possession of a bomb before proceeding towards the gate area of the terminal. It was there police made contact with the 24-year old before taking him into custody. Smith was later released on $20,000 bail.
This is not the first run-in with law enforcement for Smith. The four-year player missed five games during the 2013 season when he entered rehab following a drunk driving arrest in 2012. While he still faces charges on that arrest, Smith also faces three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault rifle resulting from an incident at his home.
"We are disappointed to learn of the incident today involving Aldon Smith," said 49ers general manager Trent Baalke in a statement. "As this is a pending legal matter and we are still gathering the pertinent facts, we will have no further comment."
Smith made 34 tackles and recorded 12 sacks despite a five-game absence for the Niners, who lost in the NFC Championship game.
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/14/2014 04:10:51 AM
(NEW YORK) -- Golf: Bubba Watson won the 78th Masters title for his second green jacket of his career.
NBA: Indiana Pacers 102 (55-26) - Oklahoma City Thunder 97 (58-22)
Toronto Raptors 116 (47-33) - Detroit Pistons 107 (29-52)
Brooklyn Nets 97 (44-36) - Orlando Magic 88 (23-57)
New York Knicks 100 (35-45) - Chicago Bulls 89 (47-33)
Sacramento Kings 106 (28-53) - Minnesota Timberwolves 103 (40-40)
Portland Trail Blazers 119 (53-28) - Golden State Warriors 117 (49-31)
Memphis Grizzlies 102 (48-32) - Los Angeles Lakers 90 (25-55)
MLB: Toronto Blue Jays 11 (7-6) - Baltimore Orioles 3 (5-7)
Milwaukee Brewers 4 (10-2) - Pittsburgh Pirates 1 (6-6)
Atlanta Braves 10 (8-4) - Washington Nationals 2 (7-5)
Minnesota Twins 4 (6-6) - Kansas City Royals 3 (4-7)
Philadelphia Phillies 4 (6-6) - Miami Marlins 3 (5-8)
Texas Rangers 1 (6-6) - Houston Astros 0 (5-8)
Cincinnati Reds 12 (4-8) - Tampa Bay Rays 4 (7-6)
St. Louis Cardinals 6 (7-5) - Chicago Cubs 4 (4-8)
Oakland Athletics 3 (8-4) - Seattle Mariners 0 (6-5)
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 14 (6-6) - New York Mets 2 (5-7)
San Diego Padres 5 (5-7) - Detroit Tigers 1 (6-4)
San Francisco Giants 5 (8-5) - Colorado Rockies 4 (6-7) - 10 Innings
Los Angeles Dodgers 8 (9-4) - Arizona Diamondbacks 6 (4-11)
Chicago White Sox 4 (7-6) - Cleveland Indians 3 (6-7)
New York Yankees 3 (7-6) - Boston Red Sox 2 (5-8)
NHL: Detroit Red Wings 3 (39-28-15, 93pts) - St. Louis Blues 0 (52-23-7, 111pts)
New Jersey Devils 3 (35-29-18, 88pts) - Boston Bruins 2 (54-19-9, 117pts)
Tampa Bay Lightning 1 (46-27-9, 101pts) - Washington Capitals 0 (38-30-14, 90pts) - Shootout
Carolina Hurricanes 6 (36-35-11, 83pts) - Philadelphia Flyers 5 (42-30-10, 94pts) - Shootout
New York Islanders 4 (34-37-11, 79pts) - Buffalo Sabres 3 (21-51-10, 52pts) - Shootout
Ottawa Senators 3 (37-31-14, 88pts) - Pittsburgh Penguins 2 (51-24-7, 109pts) - Shootout
Anaheim Ducks 3 (54-20-8, 116pts) - Colorado Avalanche 2 (52-22-8, 112pts) - Overtime
Nashville Predators 7 (38-32-12, 88pts) - Minnesota Wild 3 (43-27-12, 98pts)
Phoenix Coyotes 2 (37-30-15, 89pts) - Dallas Stars 1 (40-31-11, 91pts)
Vancouver Canucks 5 (36-35-11, 83pts) - Calgary Flames 1 (35-40-7, 77pts)
Copyright 2014 ABC News RadioPublished: 4/13/2014 21:51:00 PM