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    • Obama: New Sanctions Against Russia Will Have 'an Even Bigger Bite'

      The White House(WASHINGTON) -- The United States will unleash a new round of sanctions against Russia in the wake of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, President Obama said on Tuesday.

      "The cost on Russia will continue to grow," the president said in a statement at the White House. "Today is a reminder that the United States means what it says."

      Obama said Russia has, so far, "failed to cooperate with the investigations" into the downing of the Malaysian aircraft.

      Earlier Tuesday, the European Union agreed to a new package of sanctions on Russia -- for the first time imposing "sectoral" sanctions on Russia’s finance and energy industries, as well as banning arms exports to Russia.

      Obama called them the "most significant and wide-ranging sanctions to date."

      The EU says the sanctions will limit access to EU capital markets for Russian State-owned financial institutions, impose an embargo on trade in arms, establish an export ban for dual use goods for military end users, and curtail Russian access to sensitive technologies particularly in the field of the oil sector.

      Meanwhile, at the State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki emphasized the U.S. welcomed "Europe's determination to take strong new steps and the strong -- this trans-Atlantic community and G-7 are united in their determination to respond to continued and intensified Russian aggression."


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/29/2014 15:53:51 PM
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    • Surgeon General: Skin Cancer Is 'Major Public Health Problem'

      iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Surgeon General is calling skin cancer a "major public health problem" and says tanning is a direct cause.

      A report from the office of Surgeon General Boris Lushniak says unlike other forms of cancer in the United States, the rate of skin cancer is on the rise, with 5 million people getting treated each year.

      About 63,000 people are treated for melanoma and about 10% of those cases are directly linked to indoor tanning.

      Lushniak says all states should ban minors from using tanning beds and the report urges everyone to wear sunscreen outside.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/29/2014 15:49:24 PM
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    • Michele Roberts Named New NBPA Chief

      Christopher Trotman/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) --  Washington D.C. attorney Michele Roberts has been voted in as the new head of the National Basketball Players Association, making her the first woman to lead a major North American sports union.

      After many hours of debating Monday, NBPA executive committee members and team player representatives cast 32 votes in favor of Roberts as the successor to Billy Hunter, who was removed from the position. She needed only 26 votes for election. 

      Roberts said she would assemble a management team to run the union, perhaps even changing the union bylaws, before diving into negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement. The players can opt out of the current CBA after the 2016-17 season, and Roberts wants to do everything in her power to prevent another lockout from happening.

      "They've got their union back, and I'm going to make sure that they are empowered to take their union exactly where they want their union to go," Roberts said. "It's going to be a team that's going to empower them to be able to do their business as they decide."

      Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul said the entire players' union was impressed with Roberts' ideas for the future.

      "One particular member from our search committee...asked her a very tough question in the interviews and [vice president] Roger [Mason Jr.] almost fell out of his seat after she finished giving her answer," Paul said. "Even though she's a female, she's very relatable to a lot of our players. I think that's what really hit home for not only myself but some of these other guys as well."


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/29/2014 15:37:00 PM
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    • Child's Body Found in Wheelwell of US Military Aircraft That Landed in Germany

      File photo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Melissa Sheffield)(RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany) -- The body of a male adolescent was found Sunday night in the wheel-well of a U.S. Air Force C-130 at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany after the plane had arrived from a flight that originated in Africa, a U.S. official confirmed Tuesday.

      The body was found trapped in a compartment above the aircraft’s rear landing gear, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said.

      The C-130 aircraft was on an eight-day journey, originating in Senegal and then stopping in Mali, Chad, Tunisia and Italy before arriving at Ramstein, according to Chief Master Sgt. Ellen Schirmer, a spokeswoman at Ramstein for the 86th Airlift Wing.

      It’s unclear whether the child was a stowaway or where the child had boarded the plane, military officials said.

      The boy's body was found as maintenance crews conducted a thorough post-flight check typical of long flights, Kirby said.

      "The cause of death as well the other circumstances surrounding this incident remain under investigation," Kirby said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the young man’s family."

      The aircraft had been in Mali on a regular mission.

      Asked how a boy could have potentially sneaked onto the plane, Kirby noted that security measures at various airfields are not uniform.

      “The aircraft is a rugged aircraft designed to operate in austere locations. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody that the security at some of these fields is not going to be at the same level," he said. “We shouldn’t expect that the security environment in every location that these aircraft operate in will be at the same high standard.”

      German authorities will have the lead in the investigation, the official said. The U.S. Air Force is cooperating.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/29/2014 15:35:28 PM
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    • Bail for Abigail Hernandez's Alleged Kidnapper Set at $1 Million

      Conway Police Dept.(CONWAY, N.H.) -- The man charged with kidnapping a New Hampshire teenager Abigail Hernandez was arrested twice during the nine months that she was missing, court records indicate.

      Nathaniel Kibby, 34, was ordered held Tuesday on $1 million bail after being arraigned on a charge of kidnapping Hernandez last year. The charging document says Kibby "confined (Hernandez) with a purpose to commit an offense against her." His lawyer declined to enter a plea.

      The affidavit detailing the case was sealed, but the prosecutor told the judge it was a "unique case and this bail is more than warranted."

      Hernandez, who was 14 at the time, disappeared as she was walking home from Kennett High School in Conway on Oct. 9, 2013. She returned home on July 20 after nine months. She is now 15.

      While Kibby sat at the defense table in an orange jail jumpsuit, his alleged victim sat with her mother, Zenya Hernandez, in the front row of the courtroom. This marked the first time that the teenager has been seen in public since she arrived home on July 20.

      Kibby has a lengthy criminal history, the majority of which took place when he was 17-years-old and charged in five criminal trespassing cases, two counts of receiving stolen property, providing false information to purchase a firearm and theft, all of which were misdemeanors, court documents state. During that time his address was a post office box in North Conway, which is adjacent to Hernandez’s hometown.

      Records show that Kibby two run-ins with police during the nine months that Hernandez was missing.

      He was charged with marijuana possession on Oct. 22. That arrest took place in North Conway, which is 34 miles away from Kibby's current home in a trailer park in Gorham, N.H. Kibby was scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 3, 2013 in connection to the marijuana charge and documents state that he entered a guilty plea and paid $434 to cover his fine and fees.

      On March 3, 2014, he faced criminal charges for simple assault and criminal trespass. Kibby later wrote a letter to the sheriff's office explaining that it was in connection to an automobile accident with a man identified as Eric Ray. The charging documents accused Kibby of "shoving" Ray's wife, Tammy Shackford, to the ground and he subsequently accepted a negotiated plea deal where he paid a $1,000 fine and agreed not to contact Ray or his wife.

      In the letter that he sent to the sheriff's office, Kibby insisted he remained calm throughout the aftermath of the March 3 accident and claimed Ray was trumping up the charges.

      "I considered informing (Eric Ray) I was armed with a carry pistol, but decided against it. I tried to sympathize with his anger and felt it was best to turn the cheek," Kibby wrote in the letter.

      In the letter, Kibby wrote, "This is not a joke. It is not frivolous. This is not filed in spite, but out of a genuine concern for my safety and for my property."

      The case was settled on July 23, 2014, just three days after Hernandez arrived home to her mother's house.

      The Hernandez family put out a statement after her return saying that she is safe though she has lost a lot of weight and is unable to eat solid food.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/29/2014 13:44:47 PM
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    • Who Did Andi Dorfman Pick in the "Bachelorette" Finale?

      ABC/Craig Sjodin(LOS ANGELES) -- After an emotional two-hour finale of The Bachelorette on ABC Monday night, Andi Dorfman chose Josh Murray, accepting his marriage proposal and leaving fellow suitor Nick Viall stunned and heartbroken.

      Dorfman, a former district attorney, cried when she visited Viall to tell him he wasn't her choice.

      Viall said he never saw the disappointment coming, telling her he woke up that morning confident about them.

      "Man, I really thought this was it," Viall said from the back of an SUV as he was driven away after receiving the news. "I really thought she loved me."

      With tears in his eyes, Viall said he thought he and Dorfman had something special. Earlier in the episode she had said their relationship was filled with passion.

      Later she had happier news for Murray, who, during the final rose ceremony, told her he wanted to give her the world.

      "Andi you are the answer to all of my prayers you are the answer to my dreams you are the woman I thought never existed in this world. All my worries they just seem to vanish when I'm with you," Murray said.

      Dorfman told Murray that she was in love with him and wanted to spend her life with him and have children together.

      The competition started with 25 eligible men vying for Dorfman's hand. With the other men dismissed by Dorfman, Viall and Murray were last ones standing.

      She narrowed it down week by week to Murray, a 29-year-old former pro baseball player from Atlanta, and Viall, a 33-year-old software sales executive who lives in Chicago.

      This was the tenth edition of The Bachelorette.


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      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/29/2014 13:33:22 PM
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    • Kerry, Ukraine FM Condemn Pro-Russian Separatists

      File photo. (ABC News)(WASHINGTON) -- During a press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that pro-Russian separatists have displayed an “appalling disregard for human decency” by allowing the remains of Malaysian Airlines crash victims to lay openly at the scene for days and barring international observers from accessing the site.

      Both Kerry and Klimkin said there is still debris and human remains at the crash site that need to be investigated.

      “They still can’t even ensure that all of the victims’ remains have been removed, and that is an unsupportable burden for any family to have to bear, and it is an unacceptable standard for behavior, period,” Klimkin said.

      Kerry added that the United States and the European Union are working on additional sanctions on Russia. When asked when they would be imposed, he responded “forthwith.”


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/29/2014 12:42:24 PM
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    • Kerry Addresses Critics, Says He's Still Talking with Netanyahu

      US Department of State(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that he is still talking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about achieving a lasting truce, saying the two men spoke again Monday night.

      “The prime minister talked to me about an idea and a possibility of a cease-fire, he raised it with me, as he has consistently,” Kerry said during a press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.

      Kerry also dismissed the criticism that has been directed at him, including a blistering op-ed in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that likened him to “an alien, who just disembarked his spaceship in the Mideast.”

      “I've taken hits before in politics; I'm not worried about that. This is not about me,” the almost three-decade veteran of the U.S. Senate said.

      The Israelis have made no secret of their problems with a draft proposal Kerry gave them last week, which they contend gave too many concessions to Hamas. Kerry suggested that in this last conversation with Netanyahu, the prime minister underscored his desire for Israeli forces to continue destroying tunnels Hamas has built across the border.

      The United States supports the Israel Defense Forces’ ability to do so, but that provision was not explicitly laid out in the proposal Kerry submitted to Israel last week.

      “What we put on the table, in fact, allowed Israel -- let me make this clear -- allowed Israel to continue to deal with these tunnels even as they were in a short-term cease-fire to try to see if there was a way to reach a sustainable cease-fire,” Kerry insisted.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/29/2014 12:38:21 PM
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    • Ebola Virus May Have Spread to a Fourth West African Nation

      Hemera/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- The world’s deadliest Ebola outbreak continues to spread in the West African nations of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea and possibly one other.

      At least 1,093 people have contracted the deadly virus and 672 people have died, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization.

      Two American aid workers are among the victims of the growing outbreak, which has taken a heavy toll on health care providers treating the sick and working to contain the outbreak. Meanwhile, a top Liberian doctor also died this past weekend.

      Officials are also concerned after an infected man managed to board a plane from Liberia to Nigeria, potentially spreading the deadly virus to a fourth country.

      In an effort to stop the spread of the incurable disease, Liberia's president has closed all but three land border crossings, restricted public gatherings and quarantined communities heavily affected by the Ebola outbreak.

      As for what this means for the U.S.,  Dr. Stephan Monroe at the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions told reporters Monday, "No Ebola cases have been reported in the United States and the likelihood of this outbreak spreading outside of West Africa is very low."


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/29/2014 12:31:46 PM
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    • What George Zimmerman Was Doing Outside Florida Gun Shop

      File photo. (Seminole County Sheriff's Office)(DELAND, Fla.) -- Former neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman is back on patrol -- and this time it's at a gun store.

      Police found Zimmerman sitting in his dark colored truck outside of Pompano Pat's, a store that sells firearms and motorcycles, just after midnight on Sunday, according to a DeLand, Florida police report.

      Zimmerman, who police said was "very cooperative," explained to the responding officer that he had the owner's permission to be on the property and was patrolling it since there had been a recent burglary.

      He provided officers with a phone number for Pat Johnson, the owner of the business who is also running for mayor in DeLand. Officers were unable to make contact with Johnson.

      According to the report, Zimmerman told officers that Johnson had asked him to leave his dog inside the business, however Zimmerman decided he and his dog would wait in the parking lot.

      He also told officers that "he was going to be around the business at night for an indeterminate amount of time," the report said.

      Sam Porter, an employee of Pompano Pat's, told ABC News that Zimmerman is not an employee and is not being paid to patrol the business.

      “George is a really nice guy and really tries to help folks out," Porter said. "I felt he was trying to do something nice."

      Pompano Pat's had offered Zimmerman a free gun after he was acquitted of murder last year.

      Zimmerman maintained self-defense when he shot and killed an unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin, in Sanford, Florida on Feb. 26, 2012.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/29/2014 12:26:50 PM
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    • Airlines Report Strong Second Quarter Earnings

      iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The airline industry is making more money after several difficult years during the recession. United Airlines, Delta and American Airlines all reported record second quarter profits, thanks to increased fares and fees.

      “It is hard to believe that less than eight months ago, American [Airlines] was in bankruptcy yet today we are reporting record profits, prepaying debt, making additional pension contributions and declaring dividends to shareholders,” said the company’s CEO Doug Parker in a message to employees.

      Major mergers could mean less competition on many routes, potentially leading to more fare increases as the economy improves.

      A number of other U.S. carriers also posted strong second quarter earnings.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/29/2014 11:37:59 AM
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    • NBA Player Uses Twitter to Track Down Aunt's Suspected Killer

      Jason Merritt/Getty Images(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- NBA player Matt Barnes is using his celebrity status to launch a social media manhunt.

      The Los Angeles Clippers small forward is pleading with his hundreds of thousands of Twitter and Instagram followers to keep an eye out for Michael Williams, the prime suspect in the murder of Barnes’ aunt Tanganyika Hoover, 48.

      Hoover was estranged from Williams, but the two were staying at a friend’s house on the morning of July 8, when the friend said he found Hoover outside, her neck slashed, struggling for life. Williams was nowhere to be found.

      Police consider Williams extremely dangerous.

      Following his aunt’s death, Barnes felt compelled to act. So he posted images of Williams, along with a plea: “This dude stabbed my auntie in the neck last week & left her for dead on the sidewalk, she ended up dying on the way to the hospital in the ambulance.”

      The post quickly spread from Barnes’ friends to his fans, to strangers he’s never met.

      “Having the platform that I have, I wanted to speak out on social media,” Barnes said.

      “When it’s your family, you just feel like you…you can do more. You want to do more,” he said.

      Hoover struggled to talk in her final moments, Barnes said. She was trying to say ‘M.’

      “She was trying to say who did it and what happened,” Barnes said. “And she, you know, literally, with her throat being cut…lost her voice.”

      Williams is the only suspect, Sacramento Police Chief Sam Somers said.

      “I have some frustrated officers here because they thought they would be able to get this guy right away,” Somers said. “But we’re going to get him.”

      Somers said the attention Barnes has given to the case has been helpful.

      "He's a local kid. He has a following here in Sacramento. And having his name attached with us and helping in this investigation will help us actually solve this matter,” Somers said.

      Police have set up a tip line, hoping someone can track down Williams. The tip line number is 800-222-7463.

      As for Barnes, the offseason has been busy. He’s preparing to host the Matt Barnes Basketball Camp from Aug. 4-8. His 12th NBA season is approaching, too. Beyond the court, he promises to keep fighting for justice for his beloved aunt.

      “In her unfortunate passing, I’m hoping to be her voice and, y’know, her eyes and ears and really try to help in any way possible,” he said.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/29/2014 11:03:40 AM
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    • Gas Prices Continue Decline Through Summer Driving Season

      iStock/Thinsktock(WASHINGTON) -- For many Americans, a long distance car trip is a cheaper option than flying as gas prices are falling quickly across the country.

      The U.S. Energy Department says the average price of regular gas fell 5 cents a gallon last week to a nationwide average of $3.54.

      For Midwesterners, prices are down 8 cents, while Californians, for the first time in months, are paying less than $4 a gallon for regular unleaded gas.

      One expert says these late season low prices are rare.

      “You know it’s something that’s relatively rare to see a price decline go this late into the summer months,” says senior GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan.

      But DeHaan adds that the U.S. is producing more oil and getting it from other sources.

      He says this is good news "as long as we don't see a hurricane enter the Gulf."


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/29/2014 08:22:12 AM
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    • Three-Hour Tour Turns into Night at Sea for Stranded Whale-Watchers

      iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- A whale-watching boat was stranded 13 miles off the coast of northern Massachusetts overnight after the boat’s propeller got tangled in a tagline.

      More than 160 people were aboard the boat, part of a three-hour whale-watching trip with Boston Harbor Cruises.

      The group was supposed to return at about 4:30 p.m. Monday -- but the vessel, named the Cetacea, never made it back to shore. About 10 minutes into the return trip, the Cetacea got stuck.

      Coast Guard crews responded as the passengers were forced to spend a long night at sea.

      Divers cut the boat free Tuesday morning, allowing the boat to move again. It was expected that the boat would arrive at about 7:30 a.m.

      All of the passengers are all right, a Boston Harbor Cruises spokesperson said.

      The company is compensating passengers for their troubles. Each passenger will receive $500 in cash, a $100 gift card for another trip, and a full refund, about $50. The company will also pay to re-book any passengers who missed flights Tuesday morning.


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      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/29/2014 07:54:50 AM
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    • Israeli Airstrikes Slam Gaza; Power Plant Shelled

      iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) -- Israel slammed Gaza with a barrage of airstrikes overnight, the heaviest bombardment in the three-week conflict.

      Symbols of Hamas control came under fire, including TV headquarters, government offices and the home of a top leader. Israel said it targeted over 70 sites and hit 10 “terror operatives.”

      Israeli troops also shelled Gaza Strip’s only power plant, hitting a fuel tank and causing the plant to shut down. Fire burned following the attack, with heavy smoke rising over Gaza City. Engineer Fatahi Khalil, from the electricity company, confirmed that it will take a year to fix the power plant. The damage will be assessed at a later time, he said.

      Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Monday in a televised speech of a "prolonged" campaign in Gaza.

      Hamas also signaled defiance. Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader whose house was struck in an airstrike early Tuesday, said in a statement that "destroying stones will not break our determination."

      The tough words by both sides came amid mounting international appeals for an unconditional cease-fire.

      However, Hamas has said it will not stop fighting until it wins international guarantees that a seven-year-old border blockade of Gaza will be lifted. Israel said its troops will not leave Gaza until they have demolished several dozen Hamas military tunnels under the Gaza-Israel border. Late Monday, Netanyahu signaled that Israel is intensifying its air- and ground campaign.

      The overall Gaza death toll rose past 1,100, according to the Palestinian health ministry, with another 6,500 injured.

      The Israeli military said five of its soldiers were killed Monday, raising the total death toll on the Israeli side to 56, including 53 soldiers.


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      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/29/2014 07:44:06 AM
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    • Young Hollywood Awards Ceremony Airs

      "Fault in Our Stars" (Fox)(LOS ANGELES) -- The Young Hollywood Awards were handed out Sunday night in Los Angeles, but the ceremony was broadcast Monday night on the WB. Viewers saw Ansel Elgort and Chloe Grace Moretz win awards for fan favorite actor and actress, respectively.

      The movie The Fault in Our Stars won a total of three awards, including favorite flick and best onscreen couple for stars Shailene Woodley and Elgort.

      On the TV side, Orange Is the New Black scooped up three trophies, including most bingeworthy TV show. Danielle Brooks, who plays Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson in the series, won the award for Breakthrough Actress and Pablo Schrieber received the We Love to Hate You trophy for his character George “Pornstache” Mendez.

      Kelly Osbourne hosted the ceremony.

      Here are the winners in select categories:

      Fan Favorite Actor: Male
      Ansel Elgort

      Fan Favorite Actor: Female
      Chloe Grace Moretz

      Breakthrough Actor
      Dylan O’Brien

      Breakthrough Actress
      Danielle Brooks

      Best Threesome
      The Vampire Diaries, Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley

      Best On-Screen Couple
      Shailene Woodley & Ansel Elgort, The Fault in Our Stars

      Best Bromance
      Jonah Hill & Channing Tatum

      Super Superhero

      Kellan Lutz, The Legend of Hercules

      We Love to Hate You

      Pablo Schreiber, Orange Is the New Black

      Bingeworthy TV Show

      Orange Is The New Black

      Favorite Flick

      The Fault in Our Stars

      Reality Royalty

      The Bachelor and The Bachelorette

      Cuz You’re Funny
      Amy Schumer

      Hottest Body (of Work)
      Derek Hough

      Trendsetter Award
      Vanessa Hudgens

      #SocialMediaSuperstar
      Ashley Tisdale

      Coolest Crossover Artist

      Nick Jonas

      Hottest Music Artist
      Ed Sheeran

      Breakout Music Artist
      Sam Smith

      Champ of Charity Award

      Justin Bieber


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/29/2014 07:40:19 AM
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    • Patriots Snag RB Tyler Gaffney

      Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Just days after being waived by the Carolina Panthers after suffering a season-ending knee injury, running back Tyler Gaffney was claimed off waivers by the New England Patriots, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

      Gaffney injured his knee during practice Friday and will need to undergo surgery.

      Gaffney was selected in the sixth round of this year's draft by the Panthers.

      During his senior season at Stanford, the 6-foot-1, 221 pound Gaffney rushed for 1,709 yards and 21 touchdowns.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/29/2014 07:30:00 AM
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    • Americans Split over Crisis in Gaza

      Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A plurality of Americans believes that the militant group Hamas is to blame for the violence that has erupted in Gaza for the past three weeks.

      A Pew Research poll release Monday found that 40 percent of respondents fault Hamas while 19 percent says Israel spurred the attacks.

      Meanwhile, 14 percent say both sides are to blame while 28 percent don't know who was responsible for violence.

      However, when broken down by political affiliation, the differences are starker.

      Sixty percent who identify themselves as Republicans blame Hamas while 13 percent hold Israel responsible.

      On the Democratic side, 29 percent says Hamas brought the violence in Gaza on themselves but 26 percent contend that it was Israel who is the aggressor.

      Meanwhile, younger respondents to the Pew poll are more inclined to blame Israel than those who are older.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/29/2014 05:55:33 AM
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    • Serena Williams Ready to Return from Illness

      Steve Bardens/Getty Images(PALO ALTO, Calif.) -- Serena Williams will play in a competitve tennis match Wednesday, the first since being forced to withdraw from Wimbledon after she appeared disoriented in her second-round doubles match.

      "I was really, really sick," Williams said. "Literally, the next three days I couldn't get out of bed. And usually when you lose in a tournament, you leave. You don't want to be around. Most people don't want to be around the surroundings. You leave. I literally stayed until the tournament ended. I wasn't allowed to leave by the doctors. The doctors said, 'Don't leave. You cannot. You have to stay.'"

      During her last Wimbledon match, the 32-year-old Williams looked like she had forgotten how to play the sport she's dominated for so long. She was weak she and could barely throw the ball over her head for a serve. When Williams finally withdrew from the match, tournament officials said she had a viral condition.

      Since the incident, Williams has traveled to Croatia for what she called a vacation and also went to Toronto to work on a movie.

      Williams says she is fine now and will play Wednesday in the Bank of West Classic at Stanford.

       


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/29/2014 04:50:00 AM
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    • US Says Russian Missile Launch 'Serious' Violation of Treaty

      iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration is publicly accusing Russia of violating a 1987 nuclear missile treaty, a declaration likely to deepen tensions between the two countries already at odds over crises in Ukraine, Syria, and the Middle East.

      The allegations, raised by President Obama in a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, center on ground-launched cruise missile tests conducted in 2011, an administration official said.

      The United States determined those tests violated Russia's treaty agreement to not to, "possess, produce, or flight-test" missiles with a range of up to 5,500 kilometers. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, Treaty was signed in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

      "This is a very serious matter which we have attempted to address with Russia for some time now," an administration official said, requesting anonymity to speak ahead of the formal announcement Tuesday.

      The issue was first raised with Russia in early 2013 but its responses, "did not resolve our concerns," the official said.

      An annual State Department compliance report on arms control treaties, due out on Tuesday, is expected to outline in detail the U.S. findings of the alleged Russian treaty violation.

      While bilateral talks with Russia on a variety of topics have broken down in recent months, the White House has extended an invitation to Russian officials for high-level dialogue on the missile treaty effective immediately, officials said. The administration, which has informed Congress of its determination, believes Russia has the potential to return to treaty compliance if it chooses.

      The treaty violation allegations were first reported by The New York Times.

      The Obama administration's announcement comes as the U.S. and European Union impose another round of tighter economic sanctions against Russia this week over alleged Russian intervention in eastern Ukraine.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 23:05:05 PM
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    • Palestinian-American Teen Held in Israeli Custody for 3 Weeks

      iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) -- United States officials are "gravely concerned" about a Palestinian-American teen who has been in Israeli custody for three weeks, the State Department said Monday.

      Another teen, Tariq Khdeir, drew headlines when he was arrested and allegedly beaten by Israeli authorities, but the State Department said another teen, 15-year-old U.S. citizen Mohamed Abu Nie, was arrested in Israel on July 3 during protests in the Shoafat neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

      "Considering his age, we are calling for a speedy resolution to this case," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Monday. "This 15-year-old has now been held for three weeks in Israeli custody and has seen his parents only once briefly during that night. And so we are certainly gravely concerned about the detention of an American citizen child."

      A U.S. consular official visited him on July 17 and attended a hearing on July 22, Psaki said, and the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv is in contact with his lawyer. The teen did not immediately inform Israeli officials that he was an American citizen, Psaki said, resulting in his delayed consular access.

      He faces charges of, "rock-throwing, attacking police, carrying a knife and leading protests," Psaki said.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 23:00:59 PM
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    • Scoreboard Roundup - 7/28/14

      Getty Images/Hemera(NEW YORK) --  MLB:  Atlanta Braves 2 (58-48) - San Diego Padres 0 (46-59)

      New York Mets 7 (51-55) - Philadelphia Phillies 1 (46-60) 

      Tampa Bay Rays 2 (52-54) - Milwaukee Brewers 1 (59-48)

      Miami Marlins 7 (52-53) - Washington Nationals 6 (57-46)

      Toronto Blue Jays 14 (57-50) - Boston Red Sox 1 (48-58)

      Chicago Cubs 4 (43-61) - Colorado Rockies 1 (43-62)

      Houston Astros 7 (43-63) - Oakland Athletics 3 (65-40)

      Texas Rangers 4 (42-64) - New York Yankees 2 (54-51)

      Arizona Diamondbacks 2 (46-60) - Cincinnati Reds 1 (52-53) - 15 Innings

      Pittsburgh Pirates 5 (56-49) - San Francisco Giants 0 (57-49)

      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 22:42:00 PM
    •  
    • Gay Marriage: One Step Closer to the Supreme Court? Why Virginia Matters

      iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Though the Supreme Court issued a major opinion concerning gay rights in 2013, it has so far sidestepped the issue of whether states can ban gay marriages.

      The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling Monday striking down Virginia's strict marriage laws brought the issue one step closer to the justices.

      It's the second time a federal appeals court has struck down a state ban since the Supreme Court ruling in United States vs. Windsor.

      "We are talking about the Commonwealth of Virginia!" Theodore Olson, an attorney for the challengers of the gay marriage ban, exclaimed after the decision was handed down. "It's the birth place of George Washington."

      David Boies, another lawyer representing the challengers called the opinion "powerful" and said "it holds that the Virginia marriage laws seriously harm plaintiffs, and seriously harms the children that the plaintiffs raise."

      If, down the road, the Supreme Court were to adopt the 4th Circuit’s reasoning, "It would mean that everyone in every state in the nation would be able to marry the person that they love," Boies said, declining to speculate which case the Supreme Court might ultimately take up if it does indeed decide to take up one or more cases.

      It will take at least a few weeks for the 4th Circuit's ruling to go into effect. In the meantime, supporters of the law could ask for a re-hearing with either the full court of appeals or the Supreme Court.

      Though the opinion deals directly with Virginia's laws, the reasoning could apply to other states under the 4th Circuit's jurisdiction, "including to states with bans that, as the majority noted, are similar to Virginia's, including South Carolina, North Carolina, and West Virginia," said Elizabeth Wydra of the Constitutional Accountability Center.

      Boies noted that the opinion "does not depend upon anything that is unique to Virginia." "I think," he said, "it is clearly controlling law in all of the states in the Fourth Circuit."

      Because Virginia's attorney general has declined to defend the law, the conservative group, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has stepped in to represent clerks supporting the marriage law.

      After Monday's ruling, ADF's senior counsel Byron Babione released a statement, saying, "Every child deserves a mom and a dad, and the people of Virginia confirmed that at the ballot box when they approved a constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as a man-woman union."

      Babione has not announced any plans for appeal, but he said, "Ultimately, the question whether the people are free to affirm marriage as a man-woman union will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court."

      For some, Virginia is an important landmark because of the 1967 Supreme Court decision, Loving vs. Virginia, regarding interracial marriage.

      "It's appropriate that marriage for same-sex couples took a big step forward today in a case from Virginia, since Virginia is where the fundamental right to marry was born," said James Esseks, one of the ACLU lawyers who won the Windsor decision at the Supreme Court.

      In the 1967 decision the Supreme Court struck down the Commonwealth's ban on inter-racial marriages.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 22:12:07 PM
    •  
    • What Happened When 3 Politicians Tried a Minimum Wage Budget?

      McDonald's press photo(WASHINGTON) -- Have you ever seen a congressman snacking on a measly tin of sardines? Or maybe a governor ordering a McChicken off the Dollar Menu?

      In Washington this week, that scene was reality for three Democratic politicians who are taking the "Live the Wage" challenge.

      Reps. Tim Ryan and Jan Schakowsky joined former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland in taking the challenge and are each living on a budget of $77 for the week -- the same amount that a minimum wage worker typically has to spend on food, transportation, and day-to-day expenses, after factoring out major costs such as rent and utilities.

      "I basically had a couple bags of peanuts in the cloakroom -- and there was a little fruit in the office that I ate yesterday," Rep. Ryan told ABC News. "I spent about seven bucks last night on a couple cans of sardines and a bag of crackers from the convenience store up the street."

      The congressman began the Live the Wage challenge last week with hopes of bringing attention to the hardships facing minimum wage workers around the nation.

      Rep. Jan Schakowsky also began the challenge Thursday telling ABC News, "It totally changes your perspective. Even the shopping experience -- I make a shopping list when I go to the store usually. I think about what I need -- what I want -- and I put it in the cart. I truthfully rarely think about how much it costs."

      "I'll walk down the aisle and I'll see something you know, that would be great and I throw it in the cart. There's just none of that when you're on that kind of budget. There's no spontaneity whatsoever," Schakowsky added.

      Strickland even took a trip to McDonald's to try out the fast food chain's dollar menu. Strickland posted a photograph of his $2.20 meal on Twitter noting that the workers at McDonald's -- a company known for paying the legal minimum -- "deserve a raise."

      In a Politico op-ed, Strickland explained that he was unable to complete the week-long challenge with a budget of just $77. One particularly difficult aspect the governor discussed was eating a healthy diet while living on a $7.25 hourly wage.

      "Because fresh fruits and vegetables are hard to find at a price within a minimum wage budget, I turned to bread, peanut butter, bananas and bologna more than anything else. That was what I could find when I took this budget to the grocery story last Sunday. And that's why I ate lunch from the McDonald's dollar menu."

      Schakowsky
      and Ryan have also taken to social media in recent days to share their message about the challenges facing minimum wage workers.

      "There are a lot of people out there who do this for extended periods of time -- years -- so the idea is to get the message out and raise awareness about some of the difficulties that can happen to you," Ryan told ABC News. "We realize it's not going to be exactly like the challenges that a minimum wage family faces, but the country is talking about the minimum wage right now. And I think that's exactly what we want to do."

      Schakowsky said, "I'm not going to pretend that now I understand what it's like to live on the minimum wage. I think it's a taste of it. But for anyone who thinks it's a gimmick, my suggestion would be try it."

      Ryan and Schakowsky were co-sponsors of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013. Their goal is to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. The push to increase the national minimum has steadily intensified in the past year as the minimum wage has remained unchanged since 2009.

      Last week marked the five-year anniversary since Congress last passed an increase to the national minimum, while the wage for tipped workers has remained at $2.13 an hour since 1991.

      According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the minimum wage doesn't get you very far: "On average, a single-parent household (one parent, at least one child under 18) will spend $5,457 per year on food, or about $105 per week."

      That's $28 above what a minimum wage worker has to live on for a week.

      When asked about plans for reintroducing minimum wage legislation, Schakowsky was optimistic, but expressed concerns over whether Speaker of the House John Boehner would bring the bill to a vote.

      "We're hoping that we're going to see another vote on it in the Senate and that there will be more pressure," Schakowsky said.

      "I fully believe that if Speaker Boehner were to call an increase on the minimum wage that it would pass. It's a matter of making sure that we just get more Republicans over this recess to ask the speaker to just call the bill."

      Ryan, however, was not as optimistic about the bill's prospects before the midterm elections.

      "I doubt it. The speaker's holding the line on this. And I hope it's a rallying call for the 65,000 minimum wage workers in my district and the million and a half across the country," Ryan said.

      "Let's increase the minimum wage and get people to work and make sure work pays. That’s ultimately the conversation we want to have."


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 22:11:57 PM
    •  
    • Judge Sides with Shelly Sterling in Sale of LA Clippers

      iStock Editorial(LOS ANGELES) -- A Los Angeles judge is siding with Shelly Sterling in her fight against Donald Sterling to sell the LA Clippers.

      The judge says she acted properly in her actions to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.  

      In a statement to ABC News, the NBA said, "We are pleased the court has affirmed Shelly Sterling's right to sell the Clippers to Steve Ballmer. We look forward to the transaction closing as soon as possible."


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 20:40:05 PM
    •  
    • Dodgers Acquire Darwin Barney

      Scott Boehm/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired second baseman Darwin Barney in a trade with the Chicago Cubs on Monday.

      Los Angeles will send back cash and a player to be named later for Barney.

      Barney hit .385 in July after taking over for Emilio Bonifacio, who went down with an oblique strain last month.

      The Cubs designated Barney for assignment after the recalled Bonifacio on Tuesday.

      Barney has a .230 batting average with two home runs and 16 RBIs this season.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 19:43:00 PM
    •  
    • Liberia Woman Describes How She Lived Through Ebola

      iStock/Thinkstock(MONROVIA, Liberia) -- The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has claimed the lives of at least 672 people in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, but one person who survived the virulent disease is shedding light on what it's like to battle the virus.

      Tawa Tamba, a mother of three in Liberia, was recently discharged after fighting off the potentially fatal disease.

      Tawa's husband became very ill and died about four weeks ago. Tawa then went to a clinic run by the group Samaritan's Purse when one of her children fell ill with symptoms similar to that of her husband's.

      Two of her children died, and she herself became very sick, according to Dr. Azaria Marthyman of Samaritan's Purse.

      Tawa eventually recovered and was discharged on July 20.

      "Tawa expressed her gratitude to God foremost and to all those who helped," Marthyman wrote in a blog post on the group's website.

      "Thank you for praying for me every time you treated me!" Tawa told the staff, according to Marthyman.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 19:33:37 PM
    •  
    • Lightning Strike Feels Like Being Cooked in a Microwave, Survivor Says

      iStock/Thinkstock(SENECA, S.C.) -- A South Carolina man who says he's been struck by lightning ten times compares the feeling to being zapped inside a microwave.

      "When it hits you, it's like being hit by a freight train. It knocks you out, knocks you down," Melvin Roberts of Seneca, South Carolina, told ABC News Monday. "You can tell what's around, you just don't have any control over your body."

      "It's like grabbing an electrical cord," he added. "You don't feel the burns until it's over with. It cooks you from the inside out like being in a microwave. And you've got a hurting in your bones."

      Roberts made headlines in 2011 when he was struck by lightning for the sixth time, and his wife says he's been struck four more times since then. If her count is correct, that would make him the world record-holder for most lighting strikes survived, although Guinness World Records still lists Roy C. Sullivan as the record holder.

      Sullivan, a park ranger who died in 1983, was struck by lightning seven times. Guinness World Records did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

      Roberts, a retired heavy equipment operator, can barely remember all the times he's been struck. There were a couple times when he was on his lawnmower, another time when he was trying to cover the mower up before the rain came, and yet another time when he was helping his aunt hang a tarp on her porch.

      "It's like a big syringe in the sky and when it hits you it puts all this different stuff in your body," he said. "It turns your insides completely around."

      But it doesn't hurt -- at least not at first, Roberts recalled.

      "You're in shock," he explained. "Now, when you come to, that's a different thing. You've got big old blisters on you. It takes a long time to get over it."

      As a result, he said he suffers from memory loss, headaches, speech problems and has nerve damage in his hands and left leg because of the strikes. Roberts also can't hear well, so he doesn't always know when there's thunder -- that might be a reason he appears to be such a target for lightning, he said.

      But John Jensenius, the National Weather Service's lightning expert, says it's a myth that once someone is struck, they're more likely than anyone else to be struck again. He noted that people who work outdoors are more vulnerable.

      "Nothing attracts lightning," he said. "It generally does strike the tallest thing, like trees."

      He recommends people seek shelter if they hear thunder and stay away from tall trees, doors, windows and anything that conducts electricity.

      People struck by lightning can suffer neurological damage, burns, memory loss, headaches and changes in personality, and the strike could also stop their heart, Jensenius said.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 18:17:39 PM
    •  
    • Kiefer Sutherland Responds to Freddie Prinze Jr.'s Negative Comments

      Douglas Gorenstein/NBC(LOS ANGELES) -- Kiefer Sutherland's rep tells ABC News that the negative comments from former 24 co-star Freddie Prinze, Jr. about working together came as something of a surprise.

      "Kiefer worked with Freddie Prinze, Jr. more than 5 years ago, and this is the first he has heard of Freddie's grievances," his rep told ABC News.

      The rep added, "Kiefer enjoyed working with Freddie and wishes him the best."

      The response came after comments Prinze made to ABC News' Jason Nathanson while he was at Comic-Con promoting his new Disney XD series Star Wars Rebels.

      "I did 24, it was terrible. I hated every moment of it," Prinze told ABC. "Kiefer was the most unprofessional dude in the world. That's not me talking trash, I'd say it to his face, I think everyone that's worked with him has said that."

      He continued, "I just wanted to quit the business after that. So, I just sort of stopped."

      Prinze, 38, said because of the experience, he stopped acting for a while and even went to work at World Wrestling Entertainment with Vince McMahon.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 17:27:46 PM
    •  
    • Why a Frustrated Democrat Wants a Swimming Pool in Darrell Issa's Committee Room

      Congressman Cardenas(WASHINGTON) -- A frustrated California congressman is calling for a swimming pool to be installed in the chambers of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee — to facilitate a medieval litmus test.

      In a statement caked thick with sarcasm, Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Calif., called on the committee's Republican chairman, Darrell Issa, to "install an above-ground pool" to aid the GOP chairman's investigations into a wide range of controversies.

      "We are picking winners and losers, when it is clearly obvious that witches can only be found by dunking them in water," Cardenas wrote. "If they float they're a witch. If they don't, installing a pool will allow us to retrieve the non-witch before he or she drowns."

      The committee voted Friday to reject White House assertions of "absolute immunity" of David Simas, a senior adviser to President Obama and the director of the new White House Office of Political Strategy, who has refused to testify voluntarily or under subpoena at the committee.

      "Like the Chairman, I am interested in effective government oversight and reform," Cardenas continued. "This pool will allow that to take place, wasting far fewer taxpayer dollars in the process."

      But Cardenas' proposal — however tongue-in-cheek it is — would be duplicative. Lawmakers already enjoy access to a swimming pool in the lawmakers-only gym in the Rayburn House Office Building, where the committee room is located.

      Asked to comment on the pool proposal, multiple aides to Issa refused to directly address Cardenas' idea.

      Cardenas joked that the committee's prospective pool could be named the "Senator Joseph R. McCarthy Memorial Truth Pond," and proposed installing a plaque quoting former head counsel for the U.S. Army, Joseph N. Welch, who asked McCarthy, "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

      Concluding his statement, Cardenas pledged to make the pool available "for staff and member recreation" when the committee is not holding hearings in order "to avoid excessive government waste."


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 17:07:09 PM
    •  
    • FAA: Southwest Didn't Comply with Safety Regulations During Plane Repair

      Southwest media / Stephen M. Keller (NEW YORK) -- The Federal Aviation Administration is reporting that Southwest failed to comply with federal safety regulations while making repairs to its Boeing 737's.

      Starting in 2006, Southwest gave 44 of its planes what the FAA calls "extreme makeovers" to eliminate the potential for cracking on the aluminum skin.

      But according to the FAA, a contractor did not follow proper procedures, and Southwest flew the planes despite knowing they were not in compliance.  

      The FAA wants to fine Southwest Airlines $12 million. 

      Southwest says it has since resolved the repair issues and will respond to the FAA allegations in accordance with procedures.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 17:04:26 PM
    •  
    • Doctors Battling Ebola Are Met with Fear, Mistrust

      iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Doctors battling Ebola in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia say a mistrust of Western medicine is hampering efforts to contain the outbreak.

      At least 1,201 people having contracted the virus and 672 people have died in what health officials are calling the worst Ebola outbreak in history.

      Dr. Michel Van Herp of the medical charity Doctors Without Borders said his organization has even been accused of "bringing the disease" into certain villages. He also said Ebola has been mystified by villagers, who fear that "to say 'Ebola' aloud is to make it appear."

      "They believe that, but the reverse is also believed to be true," said Van Herp. "Denying that Ebola exists would mean that it won't be able to affect you."

      Van Herp and his colleague, Dr. Hilde de Clerck, have been on the front lines of six past Ebola outbreaks, according to Doctors Without Borders.

      "To control the chain of disease transmission it seems we have to earn the trust of nearly every individual in an affected family," said de Clerck, noting that 20 villages in Guinea near the Sierra Leone and Liberian borders still deny access to their medical team.

      Medical personnel must wear full-body plastic protective gear, which De Clerck said is uncomfortable and difficult to bear in the region's high temperatures.

      De Clerck said the work also takes an emotional toll, as up to 90% of those who contract the virus die a painful and terrifying death.

      "We are the last people to touch them and many of them ask us to hold their hands," she said.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 16:55:32 PM
    •  
    • Virgin America Files for IPO

      Virgin America Press(NEW YORK) -- Virgin America is coming to Wall Street.

      Virgin America has filed for an initial public offering of its shares.

      The California-based airline flies to 22 airports in the United States and Mexico. Its fleet of 53 planes has perks including including live TV, movies, leather seats, and purple mood lighting.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 16:19:10 PM
    •  
    • Fist Bumps Spread Fewer Germs than Shaking Hands

      iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Fist bumps may be the safest greeting during cold and flu season: a new study shows the popular fist bump spreads fewer germs than shaking hands.

      Research conducted in Wales found that fist bumps spread only 5% the amount of bacteria that shaking hands does, and high fives pass along about 50% the germs handshakes do.

      Results of the study were published online in the American Journal of Infection Control.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 16:16:10 PM
    •  
    • Report: Afghan Forces Lose Track of Deadly Weapons

      Stocktrek Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Afghan armed forces are not keeping proper track of the hundreds of thousands of weapons given to them by the U.S. military, prompting fears U.S.-supplied arms could be falling into the hands of insurgents, a new U.S. government report says.

      The report, from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), details troubling discrepancies in various inventory systems used by Afghan security forces to track the $626 million-worth of small arms and auxiliary equipment provided by the U.S. -- some discrepancies indicating hundreds of weapons are unaccounted for.

      In one case, an audit found over 900 weapons listed in the property book at the Afghan National Army’s Central Supply Depot weren’t actually there. The missing small arms included 740 M16 rifles and all 112 M23 pistols.

      “ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] record-keeping and inventory processes are poor and, in many cases, we were unable to conduct even basic inventory testing at the ANSF facilities we visited,” the SIGAR report says. “Although CSTC-A [Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan] has established end use monitoring procedures, the lack of adherence to these procedures, along with the lack of reliable weapons inventories, limits monitoring of weapons under Afghan control and reduces the ability to identify missing and unaccounted for weapons that could be used by insurgents to harm U.S., coalition, and ANSF personnel.”

      Sometimes the Afghan forces had a surplus of weapons from the U.S. For instance, in the same depot as the 900 weapons that were unaccounted for, the Afghan military had an excess of nearly 200 M48 rifles and 80 M24 rifles.

      SIGAR also found that some 80,000 AK-47s are floating around the Afghan military unnecessarily after the U.S. decided to stop providing those weapons in favor of NATO-standard weapons. There is no plan to round them up, SIGAR said.

      “Given the Afghan government’s limited ability to account for or properly dispose of these weapons, there is a real potential for these weapons to fall into the hands of insurgents, which will pose additional risks to U.S. personnel, the ANSF, and Afghan civilians,” the SIGAR report states.

      In the report, SIGAR called on the DoD to audit the systems that track the delivery of supplied arms and to perform a full inventory check.

      In a response included in the SIGAR report, the Department of Defense said it agreed with a reevaluation of record keeping systems and aims to consolidate their databases, but says the U.S. military does not have the authority to require Afghan National Security Forces to reevaluate inventory, or to recover or destroy Afghan weapons.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 15:42:28 PM
    •  
    • Greg Hardy Admits to Being a 'Distraction' for Panthers

      Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images(SPARTANBURG, S.C.) --  Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy has had a tumultuous offseason after he was arrested in May.  As the team kicked off training camp last week, the Pro Bowler admitted that his legal situation has been a huge distraction for the team.

      "I hate that I have distracted my team," Hardy said as he addressed the media for the first time since being arrested and subsequently found guilty for assaulting and threatening his ex-girlfriend in May.

      Hardy, 26, was arrested on May 13 after an incident in his Charlotte, North Carolina apartment.  He was found guilty by a Mecklenburg County judge on July 15 and sentenced to 18 months probation and 60 days in jail, the latter of which was suspended.

      The decision was appealed by Hardy's attorney, who asked for a jury trial. That trial won't take place until after the season.

      "I can't answer that question," Hardy said when asked if he has apologized to his teammates. "It's a team thing."

      The Panthers made Hardy their franchise player after he led the team in sacks last season, guaranteeing him $13.1 million in 2014.  He will be a free agent in 2015.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 15:36:00 PM
    •  
    • Kerry: 'No Apologies' for Engagement in Israel/Gaza Conflict

      ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Facing down domestic criticism of the U.S. response to the conflict in Israel and Gaza, Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that America “will make no apologies” for the role it has played in the region.

      “Make no mistake,” Kerry said. “When the people of Israel are rushing to bomb shelters, when innocent Israeli and Palestinian teenagers are abducted and murdered, when hundreds of innocent civilians have lost their lives; I will and we will make no apologies for our engagement.”

      Kerry made the remarks at an event inaugurating the Center for American Progress' India: 2020 program, his second public address since returning from the Middle East and Paris.

      A recent Gallup poll out last Thursday showed general support for Israel’s actions against Hamas in the current conflict, with 42 percent calling its actions ‘justified’ and 39 percent considering them "unjustified."

      But inside that figure is notable dissent within the Democratic Party and especially among younger people, with only 31 percent supporting Israel’s actions among Democrats and just 25 percent of 18-29 year olds considering Israel’s actions "justified."

      Kerry called out those in opposition to American involvement, saying, “This is who we are and this is what we do.”

      “There are some in America who question America’s efforts,” Kerry said. “They question our efforts to bring peace to various conflicts around the world. I think the question they ought to ask is what’s the alternative?”

      Kerry is set to make a three-day trip to India starting Wednesday this week. In a short preview of his trip, Kerry said he will stress trade, climate change and women’s equality in his meetings with the nation’s leaders in an effort to strengthen American relations there.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 15:33:13 PM
    •  
    • Congress Reaches Deal on VA Reform Bill

      iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- After weeks of negotiations, the chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees announced a deal Monday that provides at least $15 billion to help address the healthcare issues at the embattled Department of Veterans Administration.

      “Funding for veterans’ needs must be considered a cost of war and appropriated as emergency spending. Planes and tanks and guns are a cost of war, so is taking care of the men and women who use those weapons and who fight our battles,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said.

      “We have a VA that is in crisis today. This agreement will go a long way to helping resolve the crisis that exists out there today.  Helping to get veterans off waiting lists is extremely important and this bill does that,” Rep. Jeff Sanders, chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said.

      The deal provides for $10 billion, which is considered “mandatory emergency money,” to contract care outside of the VA system. An additional $5 billion, which is all offset within the VA, is allotted to hiring new doctors, nurses and clinicians within the VA system. The bill also allows veterans living more than 40 miles away from a VA facility to obtain care outside the VA network.

      Some Republicans might object to the measure because it does not include as many offsets to pay for the funding, but Miller remained optimistic that he will be able to convince enough House Republicans to back the measure.

      “I come from a sales background before I came to Congress, and I think I can do an adequate job,” Miller said. “As we go through the process, there will be an educational process that will have to take place. Obviously some of our members will need a little more educating than others.”

      The chairmen hope to have the bill passed by the end of the week.  The conference committee will still need to approve the bill before it heads to the House and Senate for a full vote.

      “It is absolutely imperative that we get this bill done, and we get it done now before the August break,” Sanders said.

      Passing the VA reform bill is part of a long to-do list that Congress has to complete before it heads into a five week recess, along with providing funding for highway projects and President Obama’s emergency spending request to deal with the influx of unaccompanied minors streaming across the U.S. Texas border.

      “The United States Congress today in my view is a dysfunctional institution,” Sanders said. “There are major issue after major issue where virtually nothing is happening when important legislation needs to be happening.”


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 15:00:33 PM
    •  
    • Two US Marshals, Detective Shot in New York City

      iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  Two U.S. Marshals and an NYPD detective were shot Monday while serving a warrant in New York City, authorities said.

      The suspect, identified as Charles Mozdir, was a violent sex offender. He was killed in the shooting, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said.

      The incident happened in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan.

      The law enforcement officers have non-life threatening injuries and were taken to Bellevue Hospital, authorities said.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 14:16:16 PM
    •  
    • Homes, Campgrounds Evacuated Near Yosemite Wildfire

      iStock/Thinkstock(EL PORTAL, Calif.) -- Firefighters in northern California are battling large wildfires, attempting to extinguish a blaze near Yosemite National Park that quadrupled in size over the weekend.

      The fire entered park grounds on Monday, according to park spokesperson Scott Gediman, though it represents a small percentage of the fire and flames don't yet pose a threat to any of the major tourist areas.

      At least 100 homes and two campgrounds were evacuated over the weekend, and more than 700 firefighters are working to suppress the flames. Crews face difficult challenges in rough terrain, steep cliff sides, and extreme heat.

      2014 marks the driest year on record for Yosemite, following three back-to-back years of extreme drought. The conditions bring up to triple-digit temperatures with the wildfire, and experts forecast similar conditions throughout the week.

      Officials are also implementing helicopter water drops to pinpoint locations in steep terrain.

      The fire began in the community of El Portal around 3 p.m. Saturday, according to park representatives. As of 9:45 p.m. Sunday, the fire had burned 2,100 acres. Since July 14, Yosemite Park has experienced more than 3,000 lightning strikes and at least 21 fire starts.

      Still, the park remains open, including Yosemite Valley and Half Dome. While tourists are frequenting the area, they face possible road closures that could lead to delays.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 13:27:00 PM
    •  
    • West Africa's Ebola Outbreak: What You Need to Know

      Hemera/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- The world’s worst ever Ebola outbreak continues to spread in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, where at least 1,093 people having contracted the virus and 660 people have died, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization.

      Two American aid workers are among the victims of the growing outbreak, which has taken a heavy toll on health care providers treating the sick and working to contain the outbreak.

      Liberia's president has closed all but three land border crossings, restricted public gatherings and quarantined communities heavily affected by the Ebola outbreak in the West African nation.

      The Ebola virus continues its grim march across west Africa as the first two Americans were reported to be infected and a top Liberian doctor died this past weekend.

      Officials are also concerned after an infected man managed to board a plane from Liberia to Nigeria, potentially spreading the deadly virus to a fourth country.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 13:21:46 PM
    •  
    • WATCH: "Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" Official Teaser Released

      Lionsgate(NEW YORK) -- A teaser-trailer for the movie The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 1 has been released and features the late actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman as rebel leader Plutarch Heavensbee.

      In the trailer, Heavensbee is trying to convince Julianne Moore's President Alma Coin that Katniss Everdeen, played by Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence, is the one to lead the Districts' revolution against The Capitol.

      "Listen to me, no one else can do this but her," he tells Coin. "We need to unite these people out there. She's the face of this rebellion. They'll follow her."

      Donald Sutherland's President Snow is also featured in the trailer, telling the Districts that it's now illegal to associate with the Mockingjay, or Katniss.

      Mockingjay -- Part 1, which again stars Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson, is due in theaters November 21.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 13:17:38 PM
    •  
    • Russia Wants UN Investigation into Downed Malaysia Airlines Plane

      (MOSCOW) -- Russia is calling for the United Nations Security Council to approve a UN-led investigation into what brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

      “We believe that such an inquiry must begin as quickly as possible under the UN aegis. To that end the Security Council must make yet one more decision. We are alarmed that some of our partners have been trying to steer practical efforts to organize the inquiry into separate bilateral contacts with the Ukrainian authorities,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters on Monday.

      The United States has accused pro-Russian rebels fighting in eastern Ukraine of shooting down the plane. Russia, however, has dismissed the accusations and suggested that Ukrainian authorities were responsible.

      “I do not want to attack with accusations too soon, but I hope no one will be trying to cover tracks,” Lavrov said about an investigation facilitated by Kiev.

      In the wake of the Flight 17 disaster, Western countries have increased pressure on Russia to end what they say is an attempt to covertly support pro-Russian rebel fighters in eastern Ukraine.

      Investigators have had trouble visiting the site of the downed plane due to nearby fighting. So far, only a small team, led by the Netherlands, has visited the site. The international monitors at the site have raised concerns that significant portions of the wreck have been altered and cut apart, perhaps during the search for remains -- but potentially also to hide evidence.

      British intelligence sources told the BBC last week that they had intercepted phone calls suggesting rebels in the area wanted to give the black box fight recorders to Russia. Those recorders were eventually handed to investigators and sent to the United Kingdom for analysis.

      On Monday, Lavrov seemed to confuse the U.S. intelligence images published over the weekend, suggesting they were about Flight 17 when they were about accusations Russia fired into Ukraine last week.

      “It appears some images have just been published. Ten days later. We do not know what they did to these images, whether or not they were prepared,” he said, calling the images a “pretext to punish Russia.”

      The images, released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Sunday, claim to show evidence that “Russian forces have fired across the border at Ukrainian military forces, and that Russian-backed separatists have used heavy artillery, provided by Russia, in attacks on Ukrainian forces from inside Ukraine.”

      One slide provided by U.S. intelligence claims to show evidence of “self-propelled artillery only found in Russian military units” aimed at Ukrainian targets.

      In what appears to have been a contentious phone call Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry urged Lavrov “to stop the flow of heavy weapons and rocket and artillery fire from Russia into Ukraine, and to begin to contribute to de-escalating the conflict,” according to a State Department statement.

      The unusually blunt statement added that Kerry “did not accept Foreign Minister Lavrov’s denial that heavy weapons from Russia were contributing to the conflict.”

      Ukrainian authorities and the United States have sounded the alarm about fighters, weapons, and funding crossing into Ukraine from Russia. The White House has warned that unless the Kremlin halts the flow they will face more sanctions. On Monday, Lavrov said Russia will allow OSCE observers to monitor a few border crossings with Ukraine.

      Lavrov said he was confused by Western demands that Russia change its policies or face consequences.

      “I don't know what they mean by policy changes,” he said, adding defiantly that Russia will adapt to sanctions.

      “We will overcome the difficulties that will arise in certain parts of our economy. Maybe, we will become more self-reliant and more self-confident. This, too, is useful,” he said.

      Lavrov said Russia will not go “eye for an eye” with the West over sanctions because it’s not “worthy of a big country.”


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 13:16:06 PM
    •  
    • One Congressman's Quest to Protect Jetliners from Missiles

      ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Steve Israel wants all new U.S. commercial airliners to include some kind of missile defense systems to protect against a terror attack.

      The New York Democrat has renewed a push for the legislation after a missile allegedly blew Malaysia Airlines flight 17 out of the sky over the Ukraine and a Hamas rocket landed near Ben Gurion Airport in Israel.

      “Terrorists are copycats, and I’m concerned that [when] they see these tactics, they’re going to try and employ them,” Israel told ABC News. “We know that there are thousands of shoulder-fired missiles in the hands of terrorists around the world. They’re going to use these things and we are still leaving our public undefended.”

      So Israel is on a mission to put missile defense technology on U.S. commercial airplanes.

      The congressman says he plans to introduce a bill expanding missile protection for passenger planes, likely one that would require all newly built commercial aircraft include defensive technology. He and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, have also asked the Department of Homeland Security, the Defense Department, and the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct an interagency study on the issue.

      Israel made a similar proposal after a 2002 missile attack on an Israeli charter plane flying over Mombasa, Kenya. That bill would have required the Defense Department to pay for missile defense technology on all existing U.S. commercial passenger planes, but the multi-billion dollar price tag concerned many lawmakers and the bill was never enacted.

      What worries Israel are that shoulder-fired weapons known as MANPADS are portable and easily concealed. And the more primitive versions, though not particularly accurate, are simple to operate and widely available on the black market.

      A MANPAD could take out a civilian plane during takeoff or landing. According to Israel, even if the missile missed, a single attempt could “grind U.S. aviation to a halt,” causing a billion dollar-plus hit to the economy.

      Israel's El Al airline is reported to have anti-missile systems.

      The FAA says it’s not considering requiring domestic carriers to install missile defense systems on planes.

      “If you’re flying on an El Al aircraft, you’re defended, Air Force One is defended, many military aircraft, defended. But no commercial plane in the United States fleet is defended. And that’s just wrong,” he said.

      Using the defense systems would likely involve sudden in-flight maneuvers that commercial aircraft aren’t designed to handle, which could endanger passengers. And commercial pilots aren’t necessarily trained on the equipment. Airlines have also balked at the cost.

      Israel calls the objections “irresponsible.”

      “We have a tendency in this country when it comes to homeland security to witness a horrific attack and then the next day, say, ‘why didn’t we?’” he said. “I think it’s irresponsible for the FAA simply to say, ‘well, we’re not going to even look at this.”

      He also dismisses the cost argument.

      “The pushback that I’ve received from the airline industry is that the cost…is about $1 million per plane. That is true. The cost of an inflight entertainment system is $1 million per plane,” he points out.

      “What is safer: being able to watch television at 30,000 feet or knowing that when you take off and land, you’re protected?” Israel says.

      Some experts suggest that patrolling airport perimeters could help thwart potential attackers, who are most likely to target planes during takeoff and landing.

      But that, too, can be expensive, as effective policing would require monitoring perimeters hundreds of miles deep. (The U.S. can’t regulate patrols at foreign airports.)

      “You can’t necessarily fortify the airports, but you can fortify the plane,” Israel said, adding that learning to operate the defense systems is “not that difficult.”

      “A very important defense against terrorists is deterrents...If [terrorists] knew that these planes had technologies to protect against a shoulder fired missile, they may be less likely to even try that,” the congressman said. “We should use all the tools in our toolbox -- deterrents, actual protection, defense -- in order to dissuade, deter, and stop them from engaging in this kind of an attack.”


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 13:10:34 PM
    •  
    • One Dead, 13 Injured in Rare Southern California Lightning Storm

      iStock/Thinkstock(VENICE BEACH, Calif.) -- A rare lightning storm struck packed Venice Beach, Calif., Sunday, killing a 20-year-old man and injuring up to 12 others, one critically, after the same storm had struck a person on Catalina Island.

      Firefighters said a bolt of lightning hit the water and the electrical current then traveled, hitting swimmers and surfers.

      "The fire department assessed a total of 13 patients, and transported a total of eight patients," Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Katherine Main said.

      Five others were injured, but did not require hospitalization, she said.

      Main said it appears to have been just one powerful lightning strike that hit the shoreline.

      "Everyone that had a medical complaint was either in or near the water," Main said.

      The man who died was swimming and went missing in the water after the lightning strike, according to ABC station KABC-TV in Los Angeles. After lifeguards found him in full cardiac arrest, emergency personnel performed CPR and transported him in critical condition to Marina Del Rey Hospital, where he died.

      The other person who was critically injured was a surfer, officials said.

      Thunderstorms are very uncommon in the Los Angeles area, and people on the beach were shocked by what they experienced. Some said it felt like they got hit over the head with a board and then they were tingling all over.

      "It sounded like a sonic boom. It literally shook the buildings," Stuart Archer, who was playing volleyball on the beach, told ABC News. "Shook us on the courts."

      He said it was like somebody punched him in the head, his muscles locked up, and he fell. "I looked up and everybody else was falling over," he added.

      Many people who were on the beach said they were knocked down, and lifeguards ran to get victims out of the water.

      "Out of nowhere, we heard like a thunderstorm," witness Jason Alas told KABC-TV. "It was like really, really loud."

      Before hitting Venice Beach, the thunderstorm moved over Catalina Island where a golfer was injured by lightning.

      According to the National Weather Service, before Sunday there had already been 15 lightning strike deaths nationwide this year, including six in Florida.

      This was the first death attributed to lightning in California this year.


      ABC News | More ABC News Videos


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 12:32:30 PM
    •  
    • S. Korean Baseball Team So Bad It's Putting Robots in Seats

      Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- You know it's bad when robotic fan proxies are brought in to liven up the atmosphere. The long suffering Hanwha Eagles baseball team has turned to a crew of robo-fans to help boost spirits at the South Korean team's games.

      In the past five years, the team has lost more than 400 times and has consistently ranked last in their league.

      Solution: Bring in the robots.

      Hanwha supporters who just can't be bothered to come to the stadium can project their face onto a robot from the comfort of their own homes and can even control some of the machine's movements.

      They can also hold up digital signs and coordinate group cheers.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 12:20:31 PM
    •  
    • How Ebola Virus Spreads from Sick Animals and Among Humans

      Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The largest-known outbreak of the Ebola virus is currently underway but because so many questions remain about the true source of the disease, it is difficult to understand the timeline of the deadly infection.

      There are five different strains of the disease, four of which can spread to humans while the fifth only affects primates. Experts at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention believe that the four strands that effect humans spread largely due to exposure to the blood or bodily secretions of an infected individual.

      The Ebola virus was first identified in 1976 in Africa, but how the initial case came to be remains a mystery. The World Health Organization notes that some infected individuals reported having had contact with chimpanzees, gorillas, porcupines or fruit bats that were ill -- animals that were later determined to be infected with the Ebola virus.

      People now caring for infected individuals -- including friends and relatives who may be taking care of infected persons at home or doctors treating the ill in hospitals -- are among the most commonly infected. Another major moment of infection, according to WHO, is burial ceremonies if mourners directly contact the corpse.

      Symptoms appear anytime between two days and 21 days after infection, meaning that the possible circle of infected bystanders could include a large number of people if the individual doesn't even know that they are a carrier.

      Muscle aches, fevers, headaches, diarrhea, vomiting and overall stomach pain are among the most common symptoms, but some patients also noticed a rash, red eyes, and difficulty breathing or swallowing. Once the infection is in the bloodstream, excessive internal bleeding and the ensuing loss of blood leads to death in the majority of cases. Fatality rates vary by strand and area, but ranges largely between 50 percent to 90 percent mortality rates.

      A number of these symptoms overlap with malaria and cholera, which doctors reportedly guess when first treating the patients, creating a serious delay in the proper treatment.

      Reston Ebola virus, the fifth strand of the disease, was recorded in Virginia where it spread aerially in a primate research facility in 1990. Researchers were investigating an outbreak of a Simian hemorrhagic fever in monkeys and they discovered the Ebola strand in the primates, but the human handlers did not develop symptoms.

      The disease was named after the Ebola River in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where researchers believe has connections to the roots of the disease.

      All of the known cases involving human infection have been limited to Africa, with reported infections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Liberia, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Gabon and the Ivory Coast. South Africa has only been connected as a result of the disease being imported and there were laboratory contamination cases in England and Russia.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 12:08:49 PM
    •  
    • Zillow Plans to Buy Trulia

      Zillow/Trulia(NEW YORK) -- Zillow says it plans to buy its online real estate rival, Trulia, for $3.5 billion in an all-stock deal.

      “Consumers love using Zillow and Trulia to find vital information about homes and connect with the best local real estate professionals,” said Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff. “Both companies have been enormously successful in creating compelling consumer brands and deep industry partnerships.”

      The deal is expected to close in 2015.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 11:29:27 AM
    •  
    • Greyhound Bus Fleet Revamps, But Can a 100-Year-Old Dog Learn New Tricks?

      Greyhound(NEW YORK) -- Riding the bus is cool. Or, at least, that's what Greyhound, the country's largest intercity bus transportation provider, is on a mission to prove.

      Having celebrated its 100th birthday in May, the company has completely refurbished its fleet of approximately 1,200 vehicles, adding new leather seats, more legroom and digital offerings, such as power outlets and Wi-Fi, in a bid to appeal to a multi-tasking, mega-social millennial ridership.

      "We’ve received a great deal of positive feedback, especially when it comes to the on-board amenities, convenience, frequency and environmental stewardship," said Greyhound CEO Dave Leach. "They understand the social impact of public transportation."

      According to a study conducted by the American Public Transportation Association in 2012 and 2013, millennials travel often, using multiple modes of transportation and are motivated by affordable cost and convenience.

      Perhaps unsurprisingly, they also prefer to socialize online or work remotely during their journey.

      "Millennial customers enjoy the ability to keep in touch with friends on social media and they are now able to share their experience with friends and loved ones in real-time as they travel [on Greyhound]," he said. "Young professionals on a budget also love that they can be productive and work while they travel. They can get ahead on a company project or answer emails during their journey."

      Greyhound isn't just seeking to connect riders with their online communities, however. It also wants to become a part of them.

      "We are introducing technology that will allow us to have a more intimate relationship with our customers, providing services and features that are important to them, and better engagement with our brand," said Leach, alluding to an app currently in development that would offer service updates in real time similar to airlines and Amtrak trains.

      Rider security has also been updated in recent years. Modern strategies include random passenger screenings, enhanced driver training, a surveillance system called DriveCam that captures video both inside and outside the bus, and an on-board GPS communications system that allows the company to remotely shut down a vehicle in an emergency.

      "Safety is our core value at Greyhound, and it is ingrained throughout our business," said Leach, adding that there is now a zero-tolerance stance on aggressive behavior.

      As the centennial celebrations continue throughout the year, vintage buses are on view and a mobile museum is making its way through 40 cities with various memorabilia.

      "We’re excited to celebrate our 100th anniversary this year and be among an elite group of brands that have withstood the test of time," he said.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 11:11:04 AM
    •  
    • FSU Professor Was Talking on Cell Phone When Shooting Happened

      Stockbyte/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- A Florida State University criminal law professor was pulling into his driveway and talking on his cell phone when he was fatally shot, ABC News has learned exclusively.

      Professor Dan Markel, 41, was shot July 18, dying hours later.

      The killer was waiting for Markel outside his home in Tallahassee’s Betton Hills section, a source told ABC News, and followed Markel into the garage, shooting him in the side of the head through the window of his car.

      The bullet entered just beneath Markel’s jawline.

      Markel was alive when cops arrived, with the keys in the ignition of his car, before being pronounced dead at the hospital hours later, police said. Markel was apparently on the phone at the time of the shooting, remarking to the person on the phone that someone was in the driveway, ABC News has learned.

      A police report has revealed more information about the shooting, specifying that a neighbor, apparently different from the person on the phone, heard a single gunshot. That neighbor called 911 and reported seeing a silver Toyota Prius drive away from the scene. Police later released a grainy surveillance image of that car.

      Tamara Demko, a longtime friend of Markel’s, was stunned by the shooting.

      “I cannot imagine a person wanting to hurt him. I don’t think any of his friends can,” Demko said.

      Two days before he died, Markel posted a blog to his website, PrawfsBlawg.blogs.com, about the death penalty, the same website on which he received threatening comments in 2012 after a writer alleged he had censored anonymous comments.

      Reggie Garcia, a friend of Markel’s, wondered whether Markel’s blog and other law endeavors could have motivated the attack.

      “Is it possible his scholarship and literature created some enemies? It’s as possible as any of the other scenarios,” Garcia said.

      Markel left behind two young sons and an ex-wife, Wendi Jill Adelson, also an FSU professor. Their divorce was acrimonious, punctuated by dozens of court dockets, hearings and a protracted custody battle over their two boys. Markel described the day Adelson left him as his “Pearl Harbor,” friends told ABC News. Markel told friends that, without warning, Adelson had packed up the house and the children and left while he was away on a business trip.

      Police spent hours questioning Adelson, and questioned many others who knew him well, but have named no suspects.

      The new details reveal why police have classified Markel as the shooter’s intended target, ABC News Chief Legal Affairs Anchor Dan Abrams said.

      “Now we know why the authorities were so quick to say they believed this was a targeted killing and the neighbors don’t need to worry,” Abrams said.

      The fact that a Prius was possibly being driven by the shooter was also notable, Abrams said.

      “A Prius isn’t a typical hit-man vehicle," he said. "[Was it] the person who wants to protect the environment and kill someone?”



      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 10:26:23 AM
    •  
    • Freddie Prinze Jr. Trashes Kiefer Sutherland

      Vince Bucci/Getty Images(SAN DIEGO) -- Freddie Prinze Jr. and Kiefer Sutherland worked together on 24 a few years ago, an experience that Prinze tells ABC News Radio was “terrible.”

      Prinze was at San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend to promote his new Disney XD show Star Wars Rebels when the topic of past projects came up and Prinze, completely unsolicited, recalled that working on the Fox series in 2010 almost led him to quit acting.

      “I did 24, it was terrible. I hated every moment of it," Prinze told ABC News Radio. “Kiefer was the most unprofessional dude in the world. That's not me talking trash, I'd say it to his face, everybody that's worked with him has said that. And I just wanted to quit the business after that. So, I just sort of stopped.”

      Prinze, who was a can't-miss movie star in the late 1990s with hits like She's All That and I Know What You Did Last Summer, dropped off the map for a while and even ventured into other projects.

      "I went and worked for Vince McMahon at the WWE...and it was a crazier job than working with Kiefer," he told ABC News Radio. "But, at least he was cool and tall. I didn't have to take my shoes off to do scenes with him, which they made me do. Just put the guy on an apple box or don't hire me next time. You know I'm six feet and he's five-four."

      Sutherland is listed as five-foot-nine on various websites. He was also at Comic-Con, promoting 24: Live Another Day.

      In an interview with Parade magazine in January 2010 about the then upcoming eighth season of 24, Sutherland had nothing but positive things to say about working with Prinze.  "We have some great actors joining us -- Mykelti Williamson is the head of CTU, Freddie Prinze Jr. is playing my partner. So, it’s this great balance between something that’s new and what fans will find familiar.”

      A request by ABC for comment from Sutherland's rep was not immediately answered.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 09:45:28 AM
    •  
    • Vikings Extend TE Kyle Rudolph's Contract

      Hannah Foslien/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  The Minnesota Vikings have rewarded tight end Kyle Rudolph with a contract extension, the team confirmed on Monday.

      The deal is reportedly for five years and worth a minimum of $36.5 million, with $19.4 million guaranteed.  It could wind up being worth as much as $40 million.

      "I'm extremely excited to get this extension completed and continue my career with the Minnesota Vikings," Rudolph said in a statement. "I've said all along I wanted to stay in Minnesota. I love the fans, the community and, most importantly, I'm excited about where this team is going. I'm looking forward to the 2014 season and helping this organization reach our ultimate goal."

      The 24-year-old Rudolph has 109 receptions for 1,055 yards and 15 touchdowns in 39 games over three seasons with Minnesota.  The team selected Rudolph in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 09:15:00 AM
    •  
    • Comic-Con Closes with Avengers Re-Assembling for "Age of Ultron" Peek

      iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- As expected, Comic-Con International: San Diego kicked into high gear on Saturday, and the talk of the convention was a triple superhero tease: Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, and Warner Bros.' Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The latter film remains on a collision course with Marvel's Captain America 3 on May 6, 2016.

      Marvel brought the big guns to bear in Hall H and managed to reassemble most of the Avengers -- minus a pregnant Scarlett Johansson, who sent a greeting via video, and writer/director Joss Whedon, laid up from knee surgery.

      Robert Downey Jr. entered the hall in full Tony Stark mode, grooving to Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" while pulling out a bunch of roses from a sleek looking case. He tossed the flowers into the crowd, saving one white one each for Ultron's female cast members Elizabeth Olsen and Cobie Smulders, the latter reprising her role as Maria Hill.

      Introduced prior were their Avengers co-stars Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Chris Evans (Captain America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/The Hulk), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), and Olsen's fellow newcomer and onscreen sibling Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who plays Quicksilver to her Scarlet Witch. James Spader was also making his first appearance on a Marvel panel ahead of his role as the movie's baddie Ultron. Paul Bettany, known in the Marvel universe as the voice of Iron Man's computer sidekick J.A.R.V.I.S., was on hand, too as he will be seen for the first time in the 2015 film as The Vision.

      Near the close of the presentation, Josh Brolin surprised the crowd, wielding the golden Infinity Gauntlet, which gives his character Thanos nearly unlimited power. "Where's my rose?" he growled to Downey, who pulled out the final flower -- this one purple, which not coincidentally matches Thanos' face. Brolin, who appears as the character for the first time in Guardians of the Galaxy, then took the flower in his hand and chomped it, to the crowd's and Downey's delight.

      The panel also screened a snippet of the film, that started with a party in Avengers Tower, features a Hulk vs. Iron Man battle, and ends with the team bloodied and battered, and Cap's nearly unbreakable shield metaphorically shattered.

      Another Marvel project, Ant-Man, also brought its stars to a Q&A panel Saturday, including director Peyton Reed, and stars Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll, and Evangeline Lilly. The presentation also included some footage of the movie's titular hero exercising his science-based powers: the ability to shrink down to ant size and back, and the ability to call the insects to come to his rescue. Rudd called joining the Marvel universe, "a mind-bender," while Douglas admitted, "I've always vicariously looked at Marvel films from afar with tremendous envy." Ant-Man crawls into theaters June 17, 2015.

      [The Five Biggest Moments from Comic-Con]

      On Warner Bros.' side of things, Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill made an appearance to plug their onscreen face-off between Affleck's Caped Crusader and Cavill's Man of Steel. The teaser was just that: Batman strides onto a roof, his eyes glowing as they appeared in the comics, and fires up the Bat-Signal. The beam cuts through the rainy night to reveal Superman, his eyes burning a furious red. The crowd went ape. The reaction was mixed for a later reveal of Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman costume -- with some fans digging it and others digging at it, by saying it looked just like Lucy Lawless' outfit from Xena: Warrior Princess.

      One coming attraction that those who didn't go to San Diego Comic-Con get to enjoy is the first trailer for WB's Mad Max: Fury Road, the Road Warrior reboot that features Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy taking Mel Gibson's place as a drifter in a violent, post-apocalyptic world. Mad Max's original director George Miller is calling the shots once again. The movie rolls into theaters May 15, 2015.

      [PHOTOS: Costumed Fans Attend Comic-Con]

      Other Comic-Con-related tidbits include:

      • Director James Gunn tweeted that he's writing and directing a sequel to his Guardians of the Galaxy, which opens Friday. The sequel is set for July 28, 2017.

       

      • Hobbit fanboy Stephen Colbert made a surprise appearance -- dressed as his "Lake Town spy" cameo character from The Desolation of Smaug -- to moderate a panel for the third Hobbit film, the Battle of the Five Armies. Co-star Benedict Cumberbatch is no stranger to geek-friendly fare, thanks to his voicing Smaug, and roles in Sherlock and Star Trek Into Darkness, but he'd never been to Comic-Con. He told ABC News Radio he's plotting coming back next year in disguise. "I'd love to get more into the thick of it a little bit. you know," says the actor, "I would love to just mix in amongst the people a little bit more. Because the amount of devotion of the people coming out -- these are fans who have already paid for their ticket to see your film, then paid to come to the convention, who spend a fortune on their costumes and travel and you know, their, their stay -- It's just, it's just mind-blowing, and it's for the love of what you do!"

       

      • Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series star Andy Serkis told ABC News Radio that this Comic-Con felt different for him than the others he's attended, as the performer realized Battle of the Five Armies is his last J.R.R. Tolkien-related film. "This one has an extra layer of emotion attached to it, obviously, because it's the last one with Middle-Earth, really," the Planet of the Apes and Star Wars: Episode VII actor explained. "And...it was a really big achievement I think to get, to get everyone from both sets of films -- you know The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy, together in one room, you know, as many, as...we could."



      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 06:29:13 AM
    •  
    • Study Finds College Athletes Less Apt to Party than Other Students

      iStock/Thinkstock(INDIANAPOLIS) -- College is a time for experimentation as has been well documented, but unfortunately, it often involves underage drinking and illegal drug use. While most who attend an institution of higher learning are intelligent enough to understand the risks involved, it seems that athletes are more cognizant about the dangers of alcohol and drugs.

      At least that seems to be the upshot of a study released this month by the NCAA. From the statistics gathered by researchers over a nine-year period, those who play sports are less inclined to drink and take drugs than the general student body.

      When it comes to smoking marijuana, about 32 percent of the student population admits to trying it as opposed to 21.9 percent of NCAA athletes.

      It's not a huge disparity when it comes to alcohol, however. The student average is 81.4 percent compared to 80.4 percent of those who compete in sports.

      The numbers for athletes in Division I are better with 78 percent having used alcohol and 16 percent who smoked pot.

      Researchers believes that athletes are more health-conscious, which explains why they're less apt to abuse booze or drugs.

      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 06:04:39 AM
    •  
    • Many Still Have a Hard Time Choosing Generic Brands

      Hemera/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- They may not have the big recognizable names but generic brand products deliver big savings.

      Yet, a study by economists from the University of Chicago and Tilburg University in the Netherlands points out that many Americans are still forking over their money for name brands and wasting $44 billion annually in the process.

      The study says that millions are duped by misleading ads even when they can buy generic products for far less.

      But not everybody is fooled.

      According to the researchers, the smarter the consumer -- that is, those who are more educated -- the greater the chance they'll pick the generic version of a product rather than the name brand.

      For instance, only nine percent of pharmacists buy Bayer, Advil and Tylenol with the rest opting for generic brands. Meanwhile, the average consumer will select the name brands 26 percent of the time.

      Meanwhile, just one in five professional chefs will pay full price for name brand salt, sugar and baking powder, as compared to 40 of average households.

      The researchers used Nielsen tracking data based on 77 million shopping trips by about 125,000 households.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 06:00:04 AM
    •  
    • When Leisure Activities Feel Worse than Work

      iStock/Thinkstock(MAINZ, Germany) -- There's nothing like "maxing and relaxing" after a hard day of work. For many, that involves plopping down in front of a TV or computer screen.

      However, there's a dark side to these seemingly harmless leisure activities, according to researchers at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany and the VU University Amsterdam in the Netherlands .

      Apparently, a lot of people who turn off their minds when they turn on the TV or play video games feel like they're failures because they're not doing anything constructive.

      In interviews with 471 people who talked about what they do to decompress after work, the researchers discovered that rather than delivering enjoyment, TV and other electronic devices wind up as a "burden and a stressor rather than a recovery resource."

      Dr. Leonard Reinecke went on to explain that the findings demonstrate "that in the real life, the relationship between media use and well-being is complicated and that the use of media may conflict with other, less pleasurable but more important duties and goals in everyday life."


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 05:49:39 AM
    •  
    • Breakthrough Announced in Bill to Aid Vets

      ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A bill to assist the nation's veterans that looked all but dead last week was reportedly agreed upon Sunday by the chairs of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs committee.

      With Congress set to recess for five weeks after Aug. 1, it was imperative that lawmakers arrive at an agreement to assist tens of thousands of war veterans still waiting medical care at VA clinics across the U.S.

      The legislation, expected to be announced Monday by Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Florida Republican Congressman Jeff Miller, presents more options for vets to seek medical attention, especially when they live far from VA facilities.

      Among the choices vets would have under the bill is access to private health care providers when they live 40 or more miles from a VA hospital.

      In addition, the bill calls for building more centers to care for veterans who critics say have waited an unbearably long time to see doctors because of alleged negligence and possible criminal wrongdoing to cover wait times.

      What almost undid the agreement were differences on how much will be spent and how everything will be funded. More details should be available later on Monday.

      Although certainly a breakthrough, the plan still needs the approval of negotiators from both chambers as well as a full vote by the House and Senate.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/28/2014 05:33:22 AM
    •  
    • Rangers Agree to 5-Year Deal with Brassard

      Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The New York Rangers agreed to a five-year contract with center Derick Brassard, according to Brassard's agent Allan Walsh.

      ESPNNewYork.com reports the deal is worth $25 million.

      Brassard, 26,  recorded a career-high 18 goals during the 2013-14 season.

      The new contract means the Rangers avoid going to an arbitration hearing Monday.

      Brassard has been with the Rangers since the 2012-13 season when he was traded to New York by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

       


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radioa

      Published: 7/28/2014 04:42:00 AM
    •  
    • Scoreboard Roundup - 7/27/14

      Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- MLB: Philadelphia Phillies 4 (46-59) - Arizona Diamondbacks 2 (45-60)

      Toronto Blue Jays 5 (56-50) - New York Yankees 4 (54-50)

      Washington Nationals 4 (57-45) - Cincinnati Reds 2 (52-52)

      Boston Red Sox 3 (48-57) - Tampa Bay Rays 2 (51-54)

      St. Louis Cardinals 1 (56-48) - Chicago Cubs 0 (42-61)

      Miami Marlins 4 (51-53) - Houston Astros 2 (42-63)

      Minnesota Twins 4 (47-57) - Chicago White Sox 3 (51-55)

      Cleveland Indians 10 (52-53) - Kanas City Royals 3 (53-51)

      New York Mets 2 (50-55) - Milwaukee Brewers 0 (59-47)

      Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 2 (63-41) - Detroit Tigers 1 (57-45)

      Baltimore Orioles 3 (58-46) - Seattle Mariners 2 (54-51) - 10 Innings

      Atlanta Braves 8 (57-48) - San Diego Padres 3 (46-58)

      Pittsburgh Pirates 7 (55-49) - Colorado Rockies 5 (43-61)

      Oakland Athletics 9 (65-39) - Texas Rangers 3 (41-64) 

      Los Angeles Dodgers 4 (59-47) - San Francisco Giants 3 (57-48)

      NASCAR: Sprint Cup Series: Jeff Gordon won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/27/2014 23:29:00 PM
    •  
    • Small Plane Lands on Florida Beach, One Dead

      Photo Credit: Zack Arceneaux(VENICE, Fla.) -- A small plane in distress landed on a Florida beach on Sunday afternoon, killing one man and injuring one of his children.

      According to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, the plane had contacted the Venice Airport noting that it was in distress and would not be able to return to the airport. The pilot is believed to have made an attempt to land on the beach.

      Preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration indicated that the man and his daughter were struck by the plane as the pilot attempted to land.

      The man was pronounced dead and his daughter was taken to All Children's Hospital. The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said that she was believed to be in critical condition.

      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/27/2014 17:17:40 PM
    •  
    • Investigators Cancel Trip to MH17 Crash Site Due to Fighting

      iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(KIEV, Ukraine) -- Personnel from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe won't risk a Sunday trip to the site of the Malaysia Airlines flight that was shot down earlier this month.

      Alexander Hug, Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine says that reports of fighting in the area caused the change of plans. "The security situation at the moment on the way to the site we planned to go today -- and on the site itself -- appears to be not safe," Hug said.

      The team is expected to reassess the situation on Monday and deploy personnel then, if the situation is safer. "We will not risk our unarmed civilian observer mission to deploy to a site where we can't control the risk to a degree where we are confident we have it at the level where it is acceptable."

      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/27/2014 16:33:56 PM
    •  
    • Obama Calls Netanyahu to Discuss Continued Tension in Gaza

      Credit: The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone on Sunday to discuss the ongoing tensions in Gaza and reaffirm the United States' hope for a lasting cease-fire.

      The two leaders spoke after Israel had resumed military operations in Gaza on Sunday, blaming Hamas for violating the cease-fire by launching rockets into Israel. Obama condemned Hamas' attacks against Israel while expressing concerns about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths, the loss of Israeli lives and the worsening situation in Gaza, according to a readout of the phone call.

      Obama and his administration continues to press for a permanent cessation of hostilities based on a November 2012 cease-fire agreement. Any such agreement, Obama said, would require the disarming of terrorist groups and the demilitarization of Gaza.

      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/27/2014 16:23:00 PM
    •  
    • Caesars Entertainment Installing Electric Vehicle Charging Stations at Resorts

      iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Caesars Entertainment Corporation is installing electric vehicle charging stations at a number of its resorts and casinos and plans to continue to expand the presence of charging stations.

      Thus far, the company says it has installed operational charging stations at nearly all of its Northern and Southern Nevada locations. In total, 48 charging stations have been installed in parking lots and valet areas. Each station is free and available to guests.

      The next Caesars locations to receive charging stations will include Harrah's New Orleans Hotel and Casino, Harrah's Philadelphia, Harrah's Resort Atlantic City and Horseshoe Casino Hammond.

      "We want to make it easy for our guests to continue their green habits while they stay and play at our resorts," said Eric Dominguez, corporate director of facilities, engineering and sustainable operations at Caesars Entertainment.

      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/27/2014 15:42:58 PM
    •  
    • Former WWE Champion Thwarts Home Invader with Wrestling Move

      Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images(PHOENIX) --  A former WWE champion used his ring skills to foil an attempted robbery in his Arizona home.

      Bryan Danielson, better known by his stage known Daniel Bryan, and his wife, fellow-wrestler Brie Bella, were pulling up to their home early this week when they saw two burglars try to escape their home with stolen items.

      Danielson, a four-time world champion, chased the two burglars and managed to use his signature wrestling move to catch one, according to ABC affiliate KNXV-TV in Phoenix.

      "I took him down and put him in a rear naked choke," Danielson said. "I didn't want to hurt him, I just wanted to make sure he was subdued."

      Danielson caught Cesar Sosa, 22, who was booked and charged with burglary, allegedly trying to steal from the couple's home with an unidentified accomplice, according to police.

      Danielson, his wife, and their dog, a bulldog named Josie, are doing just fine, the former wrestler said.

      "I was very angry, Brie was very angry," Danielson said. "They're actually lucky I got them instead of Brie, because she probably would have been a little more violent."

      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/27/2014 14:27:38 PM
    •  
    • Jets' Smith and Milliner Make a Pair of Bold Proclamations

      Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(CORTLAND, N.Y.) -- The one thing the New York Jets are not short on during training camp is confidence. Second-year players Geno Smith and Dee Milliner both think they're on the verge of stardom.

      In a recent survery compiled by ESPN, Smith was the worst starting quarterback in the NFL, something he plans on changing.

      "The thing about it is, you have to climb up," Smith told ESPN.com on Saturday after practice. "If I'm No. 32, by this time next year or the year after, I expect to be in the top 5."

      In his rookie year, Smith threw 12 touchdowns compared to 21 interceptions.

      Meanwhile, sophomore cornerback Dee Milliner made an even bolder claim.

      "The best corner in the league? Me," Milliner told the Daily News in an interview Saturday. "I ain't gonna say that somebody else is better than me."

      Milliner's rookie season was categorized by many as inconsistent at best. He made 56 tackles in 2013 to go alone with three interceptions.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio 

      Published: 7/27/2014 13:53:17 PM
    •  
    • US Releases Photos Purported to Show Russia Fired Artillery Into Ukraine

      iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The United States has released images that, it says, prove Russian military forces have fired artillery from Russian territory into Ukraine.

      The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released a series of overhead images that, it says, show evidence of artillery fire from the Russian side of the border directed at Ukrainian military positions in Ukraine.

      ODNI claims the images prove Russian military -- not Russian-backed separatists operating from across the border -- were responsible.

      "The following images provide evidence that Russian forces have fired across the border at Ukrainian military forces, and that Russia-backed separatists have used heavy artillery, provided by Russia, in attacks on Ukrainian forces from inside Ukraine," ODNI wrote atop a four-page file that includes four images ODNI says were taken July 21-26.

      The newly released images back up the claim of direct Russian involvment made Thursday by the State Department and the Pentagon, as international tensions have risen sharply over the conflict in eastern Ukraine since the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in rebel-held territory.

      "We have new evidence that the Russians intend to deliver heavier and more powerful multiple rocket launchers to the separatist forces in Ukraine, and have evidence that Russia is firing artillery from within Russia to attack Ukrainian military positions," State Dept. spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters at a daily press briefing on Thursday.

      The U.S. has alleged Russian complicity in the downing of the Malaysia Airlines jet, pointing to Russian support for separatists and alleged supplying of heavy weaponry. Recordings of phone conversations released by the Ukrainian government purportedly show separatists telling Russian officials they shot down the airliner.

      Russian President Vladimir Putin has not directly addressed recent allegations of Russian military support for the rebels, or that rebels downed the plane with a missile system provided to them by Russia.

      In a statement on MH17 released through the Kremlin on July 21, Putin warned that "no one should and no one has the right to use this tragedy to pursue their own political goals" and promised that "[f]or its part, Russia will do everything within its power to move the conflict in eastern Ukraine from the military phase we see today to the negotiating phase, with the parties using peaceful and diplomatic means alone."

      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/27/2014 13:33:17 PM
    •  
    • Texan Bipartisan Pair: American Public Wants an ‘Orderly Border’

      United States Congress(NEW YORK) -- With just five days left until Congress adjourns for summer recess, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, are attempting a bipartisan, last-ditch effort to address the border crisis in their home state – but there are few signs of support in Congress.

      “The American public wants us to have an orderly border,” Cuellar told ABC’s Jonathan Karl on This Week Sunday. “Right now… they’re seeing chaos at the border.”

      The Cornyn-Cuellar bill aims to change the existing 2008 law that differentiates between the process undocumented children coming from Central America and those coming from Mexico go through if they are returned to their home countries after entering the U.S. Specifically, the proposed legislation would allow the U.S. to expedite the deportation process for migrant children from Central America, which is how the U.S. currently handles Mexican immigrants.

      Despite the lack of strong support in favor of the proposal from congressional Democrats, Sen. Cornyn said he remains optimistic about House legislators using the Cornyn-Cuellar bill as a potential guide for a solution, while acknowledging difficulties on the Senate side.

      “Fortunately it sounds like the House of Representatives is going to move a piece of legislation this week, which would actually offer a solution, and it will include something along the lines Henry and I have proposed,” Cornyn said on This Week. “In the Senate, Senator Reid is – still opposes our proposed solution… My view is a solution beats no solution every day. And nobody has offered an alternative, so I hope we will act.”

      When pressed to further acknowledge the lack of support from high-ranking politicians on the left, Cuellar echoed Cornyn’s optimism by noting the White House’s efforts to find a solution to the crisis, while stressing the need to evaluate the current conditions on the border.

      “President Obama requested [cooperation] at the beginning; Secretary Johnson has been good, but again I represent the district. I don’t just go down there once in a while and see what’s going on, I live there.” Cuellar said.

      “42,000 of the unaccompanied kids out of the 58,000 have come through that small area, so we’re at the epicenter,” Cuellar continued, describing his district, which includes 200 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. “The folks in the community have been dealing with this on a day-to-day basis. We need the resources and we also need a policy change.”

      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/27/2014 13:21:39 PM
    •  
    • California Wildfires Spread, Force Evacuations

      iStockphoto/Thinkstock(YOSEMITE, Calif.) -- A fire near Yosemite National Park has burned over 2,000 acres of land, more than four times as much land as it had on Saturday.

      Officials called in planes and helicopters and about 400 personnel to help battle the flames. Park spokeswoman Ashley Mayer told ABC News that there have been some evacuations, but officials were not certain whether any structures were lost in the fire.

      No injuries have been reported in the fire.

      The Sand Fire in northern California also continued to spread over the weekend with more than 3,800 acres burning on Sunday. Officials say that fire is 35 percent contained, but 10 homes have been destroyed and more than 500 are still at risk. Mandatory evacuations for the area remain in place.

      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/27/2014 13:14:45 PM
    •  
    • "Lucy" Outmuscles "Hercules" to Take Top Spot at Box Office

      Universal Pictures(NEW YORK) -- Scarlett Johansson's Lucy topped the box office this past weekend, fending off Dwayne Johnson's Hercules for the top spot.

      Johansson's character is able to manipulate time and matter by accessing 100 percent of her brain -- way above the normal 10 percent that the movie posits humans can access. Lucy may not have taken 100 percent of the box office, but did manage to hold off Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Hercules reboot.

      Last week's top film, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes finished in third place.

      Here are the top ten films of the weekend according to boxofficemojo.com:

      1. Lucy: $44.025 million
      2. Hercules (2014): $29 million
      3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: $16.4 million
      4. The Purge: Anarchy: $9.896 million
      5. Planes: Fire & Rescue: $9.303 million
      6. Sex Tape: $5.975 million
      7. Transformers: Age of Extinction: $4.6 million
      8. And So It Goes: $4.552 million
      9. Tammy: $3.4 million
      10. A Most Wanted Man: $2.717 million


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/27/2014 12:40:13 PM
    •  
    • Israel Resumes Attacks in Gaza, Hamas Offers Cease-Fire

      iStockphoto/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) -- The Israeli Army resumed its attacks on Gaza on Sunday, pointing at "incessant rocket fire" launched by Hamas throughout the previous humanitarian cease-fire.

      The two sides had, on Saturday, agreed to a temporary truce to allow residents of Gaza to gather supplies and retrieve the bodies of those killed in the ongoing tension. Israel stated late on Saturday that it would extend the cease-fire for 24 hours -- through Sunday -- but promised that it would respond to any Hamas rocket fire.

      Sunday morning, the Israel Defense Forces said that seven rockets were fired from Gaza. Two of the rockets were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defense system.

      Also on Sunday, Hamas spokesman Sami abu Zoihri said that the organization had agreed to call for a 24-hour cease-fire beginning at about 2 p.m. local time. Still, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Hamas was not abiding by that cease-fire, firing rockets at Israel, which prompted the Israeli military activity to resume.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/27/2014 12:17:39 PM
    •  
    • US Less Safe Than Several Years Ago, Top Intelligence Official Says

      Photo By: DIA Public Affairs/Public Domain(ASPEN, Colo.) --  The United States is now less safe than it was years ago, in part because a brutal terrorist group has been able to gain power in Iraq after the post-war government there "blew it," a top U.S. intelligence official said Saturday.

      The frank words came from Lt. Gen Michael Flynn, the outgoing head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, at a national security forum in Aspen, Colorado, where over several days top current and former counterterrorism officials warned of several simultaneous threats to the United States emanating from the Middle East and Africa.

      Asked if the United States is generally now safer than it was two or even 10 years ago, Flynn said, "My quick answer is we're not."

      Flynn also took a different view over whether "core al Qaeda" is on the run, as many U.S. officials have claimed. Flynn said he believes "core al Qaeda" is the ideology, not any individuals associated with it, and that is "not on the run."

      "That ideology ... sadly feels like it's exponentially grown," he said.

      Speaking about the unraveling situation in Iraq, where the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is wreaking havoc and threatening the West, Flynn said the U.S. government knew they were gaining influence months ago but was "taken by surprise" when the group so quickly took over parts of Iraq "like a hot knife in butter."

      He put the blame for that, though, at the feet of the Iraqi government.

      "The Iraqis blew it ... and boy is it coming back to haunt them now," he said.

      Though he argued that the United States is no safer than it was years ago, "We understand that we're not, and we're working to organize ourselves better," Flynn said at the forum.

      In addition, despite U.S. efforts to broker a peace deal between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, the bloody conflict between them might never end, Flynn said.

      "I have two grandchildren and they will deal with this," he said. "Is there gonna be peace in the Middle East? Not in my lifetime. Not in my lifetime."

      Flynn warned the Israelis "to be careful" about how they go after Hamas, saying, "If Hamas were completely destroyed and gone, we would probably end up with something much worse."

      He also called on Hamas militants fighting Israel to put their skills to better use. Israeli authorities recently uncovered a series of sophisticated tunnels built by Hamas to launch an attack.

      Flynn said a significant amount of "physical energy," money and "engineering intellect" was invested into a "subterranean ability to ... bring violence to not just Israel but to the region."

      Hamas should put "those resources and the skills that did that ... into the street-level to build jobs and schools and hospitals and turn it into wealth," said Flynn.

      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/27/2014 11:32:07 AM
    •  
    • Reward Offered in Carjacking that Killed Three Children

      iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) --  Philadelphia police are offering a $110,000 reward to anyone who can help them find two men suspected of carjacking an SUV and killing three children and injuring three adults when they crashed it.

      Siblings Thomas Reed, 10, Keiearra Williams, 15, and Terrence Williams, 7, were selling fruit outside their church Friday when they were hit and killed by a white Toyota 4Runner SUV that blew a tire while making a turn at a high speed.

      The children's mother was also hit in the crash and taken to a hospital in critical condition. Another woman who was hit by the SUV was also injured, and the SUV's owner, who was in the vehicle when it crashed, was also injured.

      "Taking innocent people's lives. That's my son, you took him away from me. Turn yourself in, dog. Whoever y'all is, turn yourself in," the father of Thomas Reed told ABC's Philadelphia affiliate WPVI.

      The SUV crashed into the fruit stand and then crashed into a nearby grove of trees, where two suspects got out of the vehicle and fled on foot, police said.

      They are still at large and police on Sunday announced the reward to anyone who can help track them down.

      The two suspects are described as one Hispanic male wearing a white shirt and one black male wearing a white shirt, according to WPVI.

      "We have a tragedy here. We will use all the resources at our disposal to find the people responsible," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told WPVI.

      "I've been in the homicide unit for six years and this is one of the saddest cases that I've come across," Capt. James Clark of the Philadelphia Police added. "You have three innocent children who had the rest of their lives in front of them who were taken in this fashion. It is very sad and very tragic."

      An estimated 40,000 carjackings occur every year in the United States, particularly in hot spots like Northern New Jersey where proximity to ports like Newark that ship luxury vehicles overseas entice carjackers.

      "The crime of carjacking has reached epidemic levels," New Jersey Acting Attorney General John Hoffman told ABC News.

      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

       

      Published: 7/27/2014 10:51:08 AM
    •  
    • "New York Times" Editorial Page Editor: 'I Have Smoked Pot'

      iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After the New York Times editorial board came out in support of national legalization of marijuana on Saturday, the editorial page editor for the Grey Lady told ABC’s Jon Karl Sunday on This Week, that he has indeed smoked pot.

      “I’ve never asked the people that work for me whether they smoke pot, and I’m not going to ask. I have smoked pot in my life. I went to college in Colorado in the 1970′s, you figure it out,” Andrew Rosenthal told Karl.

      On Saturday, the Times editorial board published their endorsement of the legalization of marijuana nationwide, stating the “federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana. We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times’s Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.”

      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/27/2014 10:14:30 AM
    •  
    • Prince George Learns to Swim

      JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) --  It's the biggest little secret and now it can be revealed: Everyone's favorite prince is learning to swim.

      Like his father and grandfather before him, Prince George is experiencing the royal splash-about with his mother at the world's most exclusive gym, the Buckingham Palace pool. Kate was seen driving in to the grounds of Buckingham Palace with George and a nanny in tow on his birthday Tuesday.

      Many assumed she had brought him to visit his grandfather, but the Duchess of Cambridge has been teaching the future king how to swim.

      Both William and Kate are avid water sports buffs. Prince William captained his water polo team and Kate is understood to do laps at the Palace pool to stay fit.

      Princess Diana took William and Harry to Buckingham Palace as young boys. She too was an avid swimmer, and wanted her sons to benefit from all the enjoyment that water sports bring.

      The pool is located in the rear of the Palace in a stunning conservatory-type area adjacent to the beautiful back gardens. Generations of royal children have enjoyed the pool and now Prince George is among them.

      At a recent event at the British Sub-Aqua Club, Prince Charles passed the presidency to his son Prince William and reminisced how he too taught his son to love the water.

      "I threw him in the pool on occasions. Instead of putting him off, it enthused him," Charles said.

      "I hope one day my son George might follow in our footsteps," added William. "At the moment, bath time is quite painful but hopefully donning a snorkel and mask might calm him down "

      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/27/2014 09:54:48 AM
    •  
    • Kayakers Breach Security System at New York's JFK Airport

      iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A pair of kayakers who overturned in Jamaica Bay reportedly breached a secure area at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday, getting through the airport's security system.

      The two men pulled themselves from the water at the end of a pier that sticks out into the bay near one of the airport's runways, says ABC's New York affiliate WABC. That pier supports navigation equipment that assists planes with takeoff and landing.

      Maintenance workers spotted the two men at about 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, WABC reports.

      Port Authority Police Benevolent Association Spokesman Bobby Egbert said that the breach "raises serious concerns" about the security system.

      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/27/2014 09:47:21 AM
    •  
    • American Doctor in Liberia Tests Positive for Ebola

      iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MONROVIA, Liberia) -- An American doctor working with an international relief organization in Liberia tested positive for the Ebola virus.

      Dr. Kent Brantly had been working as the medical director for Samaritan's Purse, an organization working to provide aid to those affected by the spread of Ebola. Brantly is undergoing treatment in an isolation center and was reported to be sitting up in his isolated hospital bed and working on his computer after he contracted the deadly virus this week.

      Samaritan's Purse released a statement saying that it was "committed to doing everything possible to help Dr. Brantly during this time of crisis."

      Later on Sunday, the organization announced another American contracted the disease. Nancy Writebol is employed by SIM in Liberia and was helping the joint SIM/Samaritan's Purse team that is treating Ebola patients at the Case Management Center in Monrovia.

      SIM manages ELWA Hospital in Morovia, and the two organizations have been working closely to combat Ebola since the current outbreak began in Liberia in March.

      Writebol is married with two children.

      Also on Sunday, the disease took the life of a high-profile African doctor, Samuel Brisbane.

      Ebola, a contagious and deadly disease, is spreading in part because of trade across the borders of three countries: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, health officials said. The World Health Organization reported at least 930 cases of Ebola in the three countries, with the virus causing over 580 deaths.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/27/2014 09:29:44 AM
    •  
    • Love Takes Himself Off Team USA

      Minnesota Timberwovles/NBA(NEW YORK) -- Kevin Love won't be playing for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup this summer.

      The 25-year-old Love is the center of trade speculation which led him to withdraw from the team.

      "The fact is we can only look to the players we have available," Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. "Our job is to get the job done with our very, very deep roster, and we're anxious to get things started."

      There has been speculation that Love, who currently plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves, could be traded to a number of teams, with Cleveland being the likeliest destination. But Cavaliers rookie Andrew Wiggins, who would probably be a center piece of the deal, just signed a contract with Cleveland and can't be traded for 30 days (Aug. 23)

      Love won gold medals with Team USA at the 2012 Olympics and 2010 world championship.

      The 6-foot-10, 260 pound forward has played in six NBA seasons averaging 19.2 points, 12.2 boards and 2.7 assists per game.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

       

      Published: 7/27/2014 07:50:00 AM
    •  
    • Ty Dillon Holds Off Kyle Busch for First N'Wide Victory

      Todd Warshaw/Getty Image(INDIANAPOLIS) -- Ty Dillon held off veteran driver Kyle Busch to earn his first Nationwide Series victory of his career Saturday, at Indianapolis Speedway.

      Dillon passed Busch for the lead with 25 laps to go on the final restart of the race and never fell behind, as the 22-year-old got to kiss the bricks at Indianapolis.

      "When you've got the best guy in the business behind you, it's tough," Dillon said. "It's tough to stay focused and not give up. I've raced against Brad (Keselowski) and Kyle (Busch) a lot, those guys are the best in the business."

      It's Dillon's first win in 31 career Nationwide starts.

      Matt Kenseth came in third followed by Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/27/2014 01:07:00 AM
    •  
    • Scoreboard Roundup - 7/26/14

      Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- MLB: Toronto Blue Jays 6 (55-50) - New York Yankees 4 (54-49)

      Cincinnati Reds 1 (52-51) - Washington Nationals 0 (56-45)

      Seattle Mariners 4 (54-50) - Baltimore Orioles 3 (57-46)

      St. Louis Cardinals 6 (55-48) - Chicago Cubs 3 (42-60)

      NASCAR: Nationwide Series: Ty Dillon took home his first career victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/26/2014 23:00:00 PM
    •  
    • Over 100 Million Could Face Severe Weather This Weekend

      Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Severe storms are threatening the midwestern United States this weekend with over 100 million Americans at risk of facing severe weather.

      Parts of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Iowa are under a severe weather outlook for Saturday evening, the National Weather Service says. The storms could bring hazardous hail, strong winds and potential tornadoes.

      The system is also thought to threaten parts of Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania on Sunday, with areas as far north as Boston and as far south as Nashville being at risk of thunderstorms.

      A powerful tornado touched down near an airpark in Edgewater, Florida on Saturday. David Sharp of the National Weather Service says the storm brought winds that touched 100 to 105 mph. No injuries were reported immediately. ABC's Orlando affiliate WFTV said no injuries were reported.

      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/26/2014 17:42:54 PM
    •  
    • Tyson Foods to Close Three Facilities to Improve Business

      Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images(SPRINGDALE, Ark.) -- Tyson Foods will close three of its facilities by the middle of 2015 in an effort to "improve the performance of its prepared foods business."

      According to a release from the company, Tyson will close plants in Cherokee, Iowa, Buffalo, N.Y., and Santa Teresa, N.M. The Iowa plant will close on Sept. 27, and the other two will be closed "during the first half of...2015."

      The decision impacts approximately 950 employees, who the company says will be encouraged to apply for openings within the company and will receive invitations to Tyson-hosted job fairs.

      Tyson says the closures are caused by "changing product needs, the age of the Cherokee facility and prohibitive cost of its renovation, and the distance of the Buffalo and Santa Teresa plants from their raw material supply base in the Midwest."

      Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

      Published: 7/26/2014 17:15:06 PM
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