banner
banner
banner
World News
Subscribe To This Feed

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Dozens of passengers on a Jet Airways flight from Mumbai to Jaipur were injured after their plane lost cabin pressure on Thursday.

People onboard Jet Airways flight 9W 697 posted photos and videos of the incident on Twitter, in which the passengers can be seen wearing oxygen masks.

The flight made an emergency landing back in Mumbai 45 minutes after it departed.

Thirty–six passengers suffered from nose and ear bleed injuries, as well as headaches after the pilots failed to switch on the plane’s cabin pressure, Lalit Gupta, deputy director general at India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation told The Hindustan Times.

In a statement posted to its Facebook page, Jet Airways confirmed that 5 passengers were taken to a hospital for medical attention after the plane landed, but did not confirm what caused the injuries. The company said that the passengers have since been released from medical care.

During flights, cabin pressure is used to balance the loss of oxygen that naturally occurs when a plane reaches high altitudes. When that pressure is not stabilized, lack of oxygen can cause headaches, nosebleeds, shortness of breath, swelling of the brain, fluid in the lungs and even spontaneous lung collapse.

Jet Airways did not immediately respond to a request for further comment from ABC News.

The accident comes only months after two Jet Airways pilots were grounded for getting into an altercation mid-air on a flight from London to Mumbai. The airline has said it is cooperating with authorities to investigate the incident.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Luis Martinez/ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the remains of two U.S. Army soldiers missing in the Korean War nearly seven decades ago have been identified from the 55 boxes turned over by North Korea this summer.

The president tweeted out their names, noting they were "identified as a result of my Summit with Chairman Kim," referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"These HEROES are home, they may Rest In Peace, and hopefully their families can have closure," Trump tweeted.

The two soldiers were Master Sgt. Charles Hobart McDaniel and Private First Class William H. Jones who both went missing in November 1950.

McDaniel was a medic with the 8th Cavalry Regiment Medical Company, supporting the regiment's 3rd Battalion when he was reported missing in action on November 2, 1950, after his unit fought with Chinese military forces near the village of Unsan in North Korea.

Jones was a member of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, who was reported missing on November 26, 1950, after his unit fought Chinese forces near Pakchon, North Korea.

Shortly before the president tweeted, Kelly McKeague, the director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) told reporters two of the 55 boxes contained two partial skulls that had dental remains, along with two clavicles. DPAA researchers used dental records, chest x-rays and DNA samples to conclusively identify the remains of the two soldiers.

The Army notified both families earlier this week that the remains of their loved ones had been recovered.

McKeague said the names were being announced "as part of the National POW/MIA Recognition Day" on Friday.

On August 1, Vice President Mike Pence was in Hawaii to preside over the repatriation ceremony for the remains included in the 55 boxes.

On Thursday, Pence presented a flag that covered one of those cases to the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

"As the son of a Korean War combat veteran, I may have no greater honor in my service as your Vice President than the honor that was afforded by me by our Commander in Chief to attend that ceremony," said Pence. "And receive those heroic remains and this flag on that day."

The transfer of the boxes was a direct result of President Trump's June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

After the boxes were returned to the United States DPAA officials said they would begin immediate forensics work to identify some of the remains.

Among the 55 boxes, DPAA researchers also recovered a dog tag that belonged to McDaniel.

The dog tag was among other American-made artifacts including boots, buttons, canteens and a steel combat helmet found in the boxes.

In August, DPAA officials presented McDaniel's dog tag to his two sons Charles McDaniel Jr., 71, and Larry, 70. DPAA officials said at the time that they did not know whether McDaniel's remains might also be included in the 55 boxes.

DPAA officials said they did not know whether McDaniel's remains might also be included in the 55 boxes, but that did not matter to McDaniel's sons.

“This is my father,” said Charles Jr. "We’re just overwhelmed that out of all these boxes that came back, and out of all of these thousands of people, we’re the only ones that have certitude."

DPAA estimates there are 7,684 Americans unaccounted for from the Korean War. Of those, approximately 5,300 are believed to be located inside North Korea.

From 1990 to 1994, the U.S. recovered 208 caskets with as many as 400 remains contained inside of them, DPAA said. From 1996 to 2005, 229 additional caskets were found and transferred.

DPAA has identified locations where they believe there are major concentrations of remains inside North Korea.

Next Wednesday, the United States will repatriate to South Korea 64 sets of remains of South Korean service members that were included in the 208 caskets recovered from North Korea in the early 1990s.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(SYDNEY) -- A major Australian supermarket chain is temporarily pulling sewing needles from its shelves as authorities continue to investigate cases of needles being put in fruit.

Woolworths, which has close to 1,000 locations across the country, announced on Thursday that it will temporarily stop selling needles.

"We’ve taken the precautionary step of temporarily removing sewing needles from sale in our stores," a Woolworths spokesperson confirmed to ABC News via email on Thursday. "The safety of our customers is our top priority."

Since people first reported finding sewing needles in strawberries last week, over 100 cases of fruit contamination have been reported in Australia, some of them likely "hoaxes" or "copycat events," officials said in a press conference Wednesday.

Andrew Colvin, the commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, also warned people that copycats or people perpetrating hoaxes would also be prosecuted.

"On that point, let me say this and let me be very clear: if there's anyone out there that thinks that this is in any way amusing or appropriate to walk into a supermarket anywhere in this country and place a foreign object into a piece of fruit, or they think that it's any way appropriate or amusing to take a photo of fruit that they may already have and to place an object in it and put it onto Twitter or put in onto Facebook and to spread it around and to contact health authorities, then they are seriously deluded and are potentially committing very serious criminal offences," Colvin said during Wednesday's press conference.

"Apart from distracting police from the real task that we have here, this is creating a lot of concern in the public and it needs to stop," Colvin added.

Earlier this week, a young boy was arrested for putting sewing needles inside strawberries in New South Wales, Australia. The boy, whose name has not been disclosed because of his age, confessed to putting the sewing needles in strawberries as a prank and is not believed to be the culprit behind other fruit contaminations in the region, New South Wales police authorities told ABC News.

The boy is the first person to be arrested since people reported finding sewing needles inside strawberries across Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia last week.

On Wednesday, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a press statement that the current maximum penalty for food contamination offenses will be increased from a 10 years to 15 years.

"For the most serious cases that have national security implications, we will amend the Commonwealth sabotage offences," Morrison said in the statement.

The penalties for such cases will range from 7 to 25 years in prison, he added.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(MELBOURNE, Australia) -- Authorities in Florida briefly shut down an international airport after a man believed to be a student tried to board a plane in the middle of the night.

The suspect jumped an airport fence and boarded an empty American Airlines plane at 2 a.m. Thursday, a spokeswoman for the Orlando Melbourne International Airport said.

The man, whose name has not been released, was spotted by one of the plane's attendants who called the police.

The Airbus 321, which seats about 190 passengers, was empty at the time of the incident and police responded to the scene within two minutes of the call, airport spokeswoman Lori Booker said.

The suspect was arrested on site. The 26-years-old man was born in Trinidad and has a Florida driver's license, Booker said, adding he is believed to be a student pilot.

The man arrived at the airport by car, leaving his vehicle running curbside before jumping the airport fence and boarding the plane, Booker said.

He appeared to have a well-laid plan and knowledge of the airport layout, she said.

The plane was not scheduled to fly Thursday and Melbourne airport police are working with the Joint Terrorism Task Force to identify a motive, Booker said.

The airport was closed at around 5:45 a.m. "due to police activity," as the airport police stated in a tweet.

It reopened a little over an hour later.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(SALISBURY, United Kingdom) -- The British public may have reportedly been duped after a couple appeared to fall ill at a restaurant in Salisbury, England, Sunday, sparking fears that the town had once again been exposed to a deadly nerve agent.

“A hoax is likely to be one line of inquiry” after Russian model Anna Shapiro and her husband, Alex King, collapsed at Prezzo restaurant just 350 yards from where a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned with Novichok in March, the BBC reported.

Shapiro, 30, and King have been released from the hospital after testing negative for traces of the poison, Salisbury Hospital announced in a statement.

Authorities evacuated the restaurant as police and experts in protective clothing arrived to investigate, according to The Guardian newspaper.

There have been a number of false alarms since the attack in March but this incident piqued reporters’ interest when an eyewitness described the “poisoned” woman as a Russian national.

But doubts have been cast over Shapiro’s story after she told British newspaper The Sun that she had been directly targeted by Russian President Vladimir Putin for being a critic of his government.

The article, which has since been removed from the paper’s website, ran with the headline, “Putin tried to kill me with rat poison” and declared the incident “Salisbury Attack No. 2.”

The interview raised eyebrows considering the model’s Twitter account is dominated by fitness routines and dieting tips, not the Kremlin’s usual areas of concern. The Sun declined to comment on whether it paid her for the interview.

Meanwhile, husband King, 42, is a convicted criminal who once conned his way into meeting Prince Charles, according to the BBC.

At a film premiere in 2006, King, a Britich citizen, slipped into a lineup of film stars and shook hands with the royal, claiming it was part of a bet, according to the BBC.

Wiltshire police have not commented on whether the incident was a hoax but told ABC News they could not “rule anything in or out” until they spoke to King. Authorities said they are aware of his whereabouts and are due to interview him Thursday.

The town has once again been thrust back into the spotlight, only a week after Russians Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who are suspected of poisoning the former Russian spy, said they were no more than “tourists” with an interest in Salisbury Cathedral’s “123-meter spire."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(SEOUL, South Korea) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in Thursday reaffirmed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s determination to comply with complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization, after returning from a three-day summit with Kim in the North.

Although specifics were not included in a joint statement the two released Wednesday, Moon said Thursday he thought Kim would even demolish additional nuclear and missile facilities that already exist if the United States reciprocates in step-by-step stages.

What North Korea wants in return for dismantling the missile engine test site and launchpad in Tongchang-ri and shutting down the Yongbyon nuclear plant is a “political declaration” that war has ended, Moon said. By that, “the U.S. would guarantee regime safety, end hostile policies, then establish a new relationship” between Pyongyang and Washington, Moon told reporters on arrival back to Seoul Thursday.

Moon will now gear up for his voyage to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly next week.

Moon and his wife returned to Seoul Thursday from a three-day trip to the North's capital, Pyongyang. They also Thursday morning visited Mount Baektu, a sacred mountain that borders China and is said to contain the history of ancient Korea.

Moon and his wife spent a lot of time with Kim and his wife during the trip to Mount Baektu, considered the most sacred and symbolic mountain of the Korean nation.

Moon had said repeatedly that it was his longtime dream to trek up Mount Baektu. The South's presidential office announced Wednesday that the two leaders' visiting Mount Paektu represents the "80 million Korean people combined."

Moon left early Wednesday morning from Paekhwawon guest house and was escorted by Kim Yong Nam, head of North Korea's parliament. Tens of thousands of Pyongyang citizens lined the streets, again dressed in colorful national costumes, waving flowers and peninsula flags and North Korean flags high in the air.

Moon Wednesday night gave an emotional speech in front of 150,000 North Korean citizens at Rungrado 1st of May Stadium. It was the first time a South Korean head of state ever addressed North Korean citizens directly.

"I propose to take the next big leap to completely resolve the 70 years of hostility and be together as one again," Moon said. "Chairman Kim and I will rebuild our nation, with 80 million people of the North and South holding hand in hand, standing strong."

The speech came after watching the welcoming Mass Games, which were modified from its original version for the South Korean delegation. The audience, in typical North Korean style, gave a standing ovation.

"President Moon almost cried giving the address in Pyeongyang," Herry J. Kanzianism, director of defense studies at the center for the national interest, said during a specialist discussion session at Seoul Press Center. "He seems sincere in trying to end problems in the Korean peninsula. We need to give him big credit for engaging in such difficult challenge."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- An arrest warrant has been issued for the founder of a controversial 3D-printed gun company in connection to the alleged sexual assault of a minor, according to Texas authorities.

Suspect Cody Wilson, 30, owns Defense Distributed, which sells blueprints for producing plastic firearms using 3D printers.

The alleged victim, an unnamed 16-year-old girl from Central Texas, according to Austin police, told a counselor she’d had sex with Wilson Aug. 15, 2018, in an Austin hotel before he paid her $500, according to the arrest warrant affidavit filed Wednesday in Travis County District Court.

Austin police said they received a call from the counselor Aug. 22 who reported that a client, a girl under the age of 17, told her she’d had sex with a 30-year-old man a week before.

Police said they were present Aug. 27 when staff from the Center for Child Protection interviewed the alleged victim. The girl said she’d met the man on SugarDaddyMeet.com and that he’d used the screen name “Sanjuro,” according to police.

She said the two exchanged phone numbers and talked via iMessage, police said.

A search of the girl’s cellphone uncovered messages to SugarDaddyMeet.com as well as links to messages from Sanjuro, according to police. And, in one message, Sanjuro identified himself as Cody Wilson, police said.

“Victim said that ‘Sanjuro’ described himself to the victim as a ‘big deal,’” according to the affidavit.

Wilson’s Texas driver’s license picture also matched the “Sanjuro” profile image on SugarDaddyMeet.com, police said.

Wilson and the girl met at a coffee shop Aug. 15 and left together in a black Ford Edge, police said. They said the vehicle was similar to a 2015 black Ford Edge registered with Wilson’s business, Defense Distributed.

Later, valet surveillance video from a hotel recorded Wilson and the girl’s getting out of the car, according to police.

Police said they reviewed hotel surveillance footage “showing the victim and Wilson exiting an elevator onto the seventh floor. … Hotel records showed that Wilson was the lone registered guest for room 718 on that date.”

Wilson sexually assaulted her and then “retrieved five $100.00 bills from a bag on the floor” and gave her the money, the girl told police, according to the affidavit.

Video showed Wilson and her leaving the hotel, the affidavit alleged. He later dropped her off at a Whataburger restaurant, she told authorities.

ABC News' attempts to reach Wilson were unsuccessful.

Wilson is not in custody and his last known location was Taipei, Taiwan, according to Austin police. He missed a scheduled flight back to the U.S. and had left the country before police could interview him, authorities said Wednesday during a news conference.

Austin police said they were working with national and international authorities to locate him.

"We don't know why he went to Taiwan but we do know before he left, he was informed by a friend of the victim that she had spoken to police and police were investigating him," Cmdr. Troy Officer said.

Officer said he was not sure of Wilson's exact return date but the time had passed.

Detectives have spoken with the victim, Officer said, and "in their opinion, if someone mistakes her age, it would be because they think she’s younger, not older, than the 16 year old that she is.”

Police are still investigating, Officer said. Wilson could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted, according to ABC Austin affiliate KVUE-TV.

Wilson is a self-described "crypto-anarchist" at the center of a fierce legal battle over whether Americans should be able to print guns that would be unregulated and untraceable.

After Wilson in 2013 successfully fired a bullet from the world’s first 3D-printed handgun and posted its design online, the video got nearly half a million views, and the design was downloaded nearly 100,000 times. After a few days, the link was terminated by law enforcement officials.

Years of litigation followed, leading to a settlement in July allowing Wilson to re-release the gun’s downloadable blueprints, giving anyone with access to a 3D printer the ability to create their own so-called “ghost guns” – unregulated unregistered and untraceable firearms.

Over the summer, a federal judge temporarily stopped him from putting gun blueprints online and in August, a federal judge in Seattle extended the injunction, after a coalition of states and the District of Columbia said making plastic weapons available would create a public safety issue.

Later that month, Wilson said he'd started selling the plans for producing plastic firearms using 3-D printers despite an injunction blocking it because of concerns about public safety.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Joshua Gane via Storyful(NEW YORK) -- A young boy has been arrested for putting sewing needles inside strawberries in New South Wales, Australia.

The boy, whose name has not been disclosed because of his age, confessed to putting the sewing needles in strawberries as a prank and is not believed to be the culprit behind other fruit contaminations in the region, New South Wales police authorities told ABC News.

"What we’ve seen in this state we believe is the work of copycats and pranksters," Stuart Smith, the acting assistant commissioner of the New South Wales police, said in a press conference Wednesday.

The boy is the first person to be arrested since people reported finding sewing needles inside strawberries across Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia last week.

The New South Wales Police Force said in a press release Tuesday that they have received more than 20 reports of contaminated strawberries alone. Contamination of apples and bananas has also been reported, police said in the statement.

Smith said that people deliberately contaminating food can face up to 10 years in prison.

Smith also announced a $100,000 reward for information leading to the prosecution of any individual who contaminates a food source in the area.

"Whether it's done with the intention of prank, whether it's done with the intention of serious harm to another individual, it's no difference," Smith said Wednesday. "They are going to be charged with that offense and they are going to find themselves in front of a court."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Tristar Media/Getty Images(ISTANBUL) -- Celebrity chef Nusret Gokce, better known as "Salt Bae," was torched online after videos of him serving steak to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Turkey went viral on Monday.

Gokce posted three videos on Instagram of Maduro feasting, drinking and smoking a Cuban cigar with his wife, Cilia Flores, at one of Gokce’s restaurants in Istanbul.

Maduro said Monday night on Venezuelan television that the visit took place after a brief stopover in Turkey. Maduro was headed back to Venezuela after visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping, who agreed to extend a $5 billion credit line to help alleviate the current economic crisis in the country. China has already provided more than $60 billion in credit to Venezuela in the last decade alone.

“He loves Venezuela,” Maduro said of Gokce.

Gokce became famous in early 2017 when a video of him salting an Ottoman steak in a Swan-like arm position exploded online and became a meme. He has since removed the videos of Maduro from his social media accounts.

Over 1.6 million of Venezuelans have left the country since 2015, fleeing a growing economic crisis that has left the country with food shortages and a hyperinflation that is expected to hit 1,000,000 percent this year.

Gokce declined ABC News’ request for comment.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- UK police are investigating an attack Wednesday morning near a Muslim community center that injured three men.

A car drove into a crowd of people leaving the North London mosque, with the occupants of the car allegedly shouting Islamophobic taunts, authorities said.

Two men were taken to the hospital for treatment after the incident. One victim, a man in his fifties, suffered “a serious leg injury,” authorities said. A third person did not require hospital treatment.

The incident is not being treated as an act of terrorism, police said.

Four people were allegedly drinking, taking drugs and engaging in “anti-social behavior” at the center's private car park, according to police. Three men and a woman in their mid-twenties allegedly refused to leave when security officials arrived and a confrontation ensued, police said.

The car proceeded to drive off at a high speed.

The Hussaini Association, which had been hosting a religious lecture before the attack, released a statement on Twitter describing the collision as “a suspected premeditated Islamophobic attack” in which people were “indiscriminately mown down.” It claims the drivers of the vehicle were all “of Caucasian origin.”

The organization praised “a number of volunteers [who] bravely stood between the speeding vehicle and patrons heading home. These acts of bravery potentially saved the lives of dozens of innocent people.”

Ali Salman, an eyewitness, told ABC News the attack occurred at “exact time the program finished and everyone was coming out.”

He initially saw a group of people surrounding the car, which was “almost trapped trying to get out.” The car sped away from the group when a security guard smashed one of the windows, he said. Salman then pushed his friend to safety before “the car came full force at us to trying to run us over.”

Local police are investigating the incident. No arrests have yet been made.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Kassem Family(CAIRO) -- After five years in prison and facing 15 more, an American citizen jailed on trumped up charges in Egypt is pleading for his life to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

In two letters sent to the administration, obtained exclusively by ABC News, Mustafa Kassem recounts how he was beaten and arrested after Egyptian security officials discovered his U.S. passport amid a mass crackdown on opposition -- and how he has started a hunger strike "because I am losing my will and don't know how else to get your attention."

A 53-year-old diabetic, his family has urged him to stop, and his lawyer tells ABC News that his health is failing. He appeared very frail and weak during a visit Sunday, with his hands visibly shaking and his blood sugar dropping to a dangerously low level.

But Kassem writes that while he knows "full well that I may not survive," he has no choice.

"I want my children to know that I fought tooth and nail for my freedom. I want them to know America is great because our government will fight tooth and nail for its citizens," he wrote in the letter addressed to Pence. Both are dated Sept. 12 and were sent to the White House on Sept. 13, according to his lawyer.

A New York City taxicab driver, Kassem started his hunger strike last week after being convicted of trying to overthrow the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi and sentenced to 15 years in jail in a mass trial with more than 700 co-defendants.

Praveen Madhiraju, executive director of Pretrial Rights International and one of Kassem's lawyers, has called the charges against his client "bogus," adding that he's "an innocent American" and the situation is a "disgrace."

Kassem was in Egypt in August 2013 visiting his wife and two children, then 3 and 6 years old. It was a particularly volatile moment in Egypt's recent history -- one month after the military seized power following days of protests against the democratically elected government of Mohamed Morsi.

In Morsi's place, then-General Sisi took control, implementing a crackdown on political opposition and civil society that has since expanded. About 20 Americans currently are in Egyptian jails, but there are as many as 60,000 political prisoners across Egypt, according to a Human Rights Watch report last year.

On Aug. 14, 2013 -- the night before Kassem was set to return to the U.S. -- he went out to exchange some money and shop when security officials detained him and his brother-in-law, accusing them of participating in protests against the military takeover in a nearby square. The military was cracking down on the demonstrations in what human rights groups say was the single deadliest incident in Sisi's sweep to power, with as many as 800 killed.

While his brother-in-law was released, Kassem was accused of being an American spy because of his U.S. passport.

"Although the beatings eventually stopped, these prisons and their guards did they best to wear me down for more than five years," he wrote to Trump.

In Egyptian jails, he has been denied regular access to medical treatment, including insulin, his lawyers said, leading to dangerous drops in blood sugar like the one this past week. Multiple requests by his family to have him hospitalized have been denied or simply ignored by Egyptian authorities, but he has been moved to solitary confinement to monitor his health.

Still, now that he is on hunger strike, his family worries he is running out of time.

"My brother is dying slowly. He is giving up hope," his sister, Iman Kassem, told ABC News in a statement.

Kassem's case has been followed by the Trump administration, with Pence saying he raised it directly with Sisi when the two met in Cairo in January. In his letter to Pence, Kassem thanks him for those words, calling them "little rays of light" and hope that "my government still cared for me."

"But since January, I have seen no change and little action from either the Egyptian government or our government," he wrote to Pence. "I am losing hope that you and our government are willing to take a hard stance and secure my freedom."

"Mr. Pence, I need your help. You once spoke for me. I now beg you to fight for me," he concludes.

Both letters were transcribed by a family member because Kassem was too weak to write them out himself, according to his family. He could sign his name to both, and his signature was verified by ABC News using previous legal documents.

The White House did not respond to questions Tuesday, including whether it had received the letters or if would raise Kassem's case directly with Sisi, whom Trump may meet next week during the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Madhiraju, Kassem's lawyer, said they also did not hear back from the White House or Pence's office.

The State Department has said the U.S. is "deeply concerned about his conviction and his sentencing. ... His case has been raised repeatedly with the Egyptian Government," according to spokesperson Heather Nauert. Officials from the U.S. embassy have conducted consular visits with him to check on his condition.

The Trump administration has been accused of going soft on Egypt, especially in recent weeks, even as Kassem and more than 700 "co-defendants" were sentenced en masse on Sept. 8 for the August 2013 protest. Seventy-five people received the death penalty, and more than 600 were sentenced to prison, including Kassem and the award-winning Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, also known as Shawkan, who was covering the protests.

After withholding $195 million in aid to Egypt over human rights concerns in 2017, the State Department announced in July it was releasing that money "in the spirit of our efforts to further strengthen this partnership," an official told ABC News.

Just this week, the administration announced it had approved the possible sale of $99 million worth of tank rounds to Egypt, calling it a "friendly country" and "important strategic partner."

Annually, the U.S. typically provides Egypt with more than a billion dollars in aid and military assistance. That billion-dollar package is one reason Kassem said he believes "my government has slowly abandoned me."

But Trump's tight bond and warm words with the strongman Sisi have yielded some results, too.

In April 2017, Egypt freed Aya Hijazi, a U.S. citizen and humanitarian aid worker, her husband Mohamed Hassanein and four others after Trump and top aides urged Sisi to do so as a goodwill gesture. Afterward, Hijazi met Trump in the Oval Office, which he called a "great honor."

Kassem wrote to Trump that he has been left praying for a similar reception: "I pray that you have a plan for me. I have seen you defend other jailed Americans. I ask you -- why not me?"

His family said they have lost their patience.

"His life is in danger because he showed his American passport, but President Trump has done nothing about it and Vice President Pence has not done enough," his sister, Iman, told ABC News. "They know about Mustafa's condition, and they can save him. They are as responsible for his life as anyone else."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Korea Summit Press Pool/Getty Images(PYONGYANG, North Korea) -- Behind the scenes of Pyongyang’s grand welcome ceremony for a South Korean delegation Tuesday was the mysterious Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un.

Kim Yo Jong was the watch commander of the greeting event, caught on camera running around the red-carpeted airstrip in Sunan International Airport making sure everyone knew their path. Sitting beside Kim Jong Un during the first round of inter-Korean talks in the three-day summit, she made her presence known as his trusted confidante.

Widely known as Kim Jong Un’s younger sister, Kim Yo Jong was appointed the first vice department director of the central committee of the Workers' Party of Korea this February. Before that, she was named vice director of the Workers' Party's Propaganda and Agitation Department, according to CNN.

Kim Yo Jong roamed around Tuesday's events in a black two-piece suit, stealing the show on the live broadcast screen in Seoul's press center for inter-Korean summit. Nearly 3,000 journalists watched her giving directions to South Korean President Moon Jae-in himself as the two Korean leaders stood on stage facing North Korean honor guards. She stood only a few steps behind the first couples, closely engaged the whole time.

"Kim Yo Jong is practically Kim Jong Un's political partner and right hand," Han-Bum Cho, senior research fellow at the Korea Institute for National Unification, told ABC News. "She takes the role of his political comrade by being the chief secretary, chief presidential secretary and policy director She is the only person that Kim trusts."

Kim Yo Jong first caught the public's attention as part of North Korea's delegation to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February, and as the North Korean leader’s special envoy to deliver his letter to Moon.

Since then she has been part of every landmark moment in inter-Korean relations. Not only did she attend the first inter-Korean summit in April at the border village of Panmunjom, she also played her role as Kim Jong Un's shadow during the historic U.S.-DPRK summit in Singapore in June.

"Kim Yo Jong is an authority figure," Philo Kim, an associate professor at the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University, told ABC News. "She is the one who can speak frankly to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, not only as a high official of North Korea’s ruling party, but also as a family member."

Standing by her brother's side as he and Moon signed a denuclearization agreement Wednesday, Kim Jong Un would only use the pen Kim Yo Jong handed him to sign the joint statements.

Kim Yo Jong shares with Kim Jong Un the Baektu bloodline that flows from late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, which they say legitimizes the Kim dynasty’s regime. They both have the same mother, Ko Yong Hui.

While Kim Jong Un said Wednesday he plans to visit Seoul, his sister was the first member of the Kim family dynasty to step foot on South Korean soil when she arrived ahead of the Olympics.

She is also known to have accompanied the North Korean leader in his overseas studies in Switzerland.

During Tuesday's two-hour closed-door meeting with Moon, the golden sister sat to the left of Kim Jong Un, proving her position as an influential figure in the Worker’s Party of Korea.

On the right was Kim Yong Chol, the vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Worker's Party of North Korea, who has kept his spot during every important summit talk Kim Jong Un has held. He also visited the White House earlier this year as the U.S. and North Korea prepared for June's historic summit. Moon sat with Chung Eui-yong, South Korea's top security adviser, and National Intelligence Chief Suh Hoon.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(SEOUL) -- North and South Korea issued a joint statement Wednesday laying out more steps North Korea is prepared to take to denuclearize, but offering few details as to how they will get there.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged to permanently shut down the Tongchang-ri missile launch and engine testing facilities with independent inspectors present. Kim also said he is prepared to permanently shut down his nuclear production facility at Yongbyon, but only if the U.S. takes "reciprocal steps" in the spirit of the June 12 agreement signed by U.S. President Donald Trump.

It was unclear what those "reciprocal steps" would be.

Trump excitedly responded to the agreement in a pair of tweets late Tuesday. He said that Kim had allowed nuclear inspections "subject to final negotiations" -- an agreement not mentioned by the Koreas Wednesday -- and highlighted that the two Koreas will also submit a bid to host the 2032 Summer Olympics. He did not shed further light on what the U.S.'s reciprocal steps would be either.

The Koreas also agreed to work toward easing military tensions on the Korean peninsula, increasing communication and cooperation and facilitating more family reunions.

Kim promised he “will visit Seoul in the near future,” and Moon commented Kim would be the first North Korean leader to visit the South.

North Korean Defense Minister No Kwang Chol and South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo signed a military agreement to implement the Panmunjom agreement.

The second day of summit talks took place Wednesday at Baekhwawon state guesthouse in Pyongyang, North Korea.

The guesthouse is the same location where former South Korean Presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun stayed during the inter-Korean summit talks with late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in 2000 and 2007, respectively.

The South’s delegation’s was served lunch at Okryugwan, a Pyongyang restaurant famous for its cold noodles. Moon was scheduled to visit facilities related to science and technology in and around Pyongyang city Wednesday afternoon.

A farewell dinner banquet is to follow. Moon is expected to return to Seoul on Thursday morning.

Moon and his 150-member delegation arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday, greeted by Kim and his wife with much flag-waving and music followed by a fancy car parade through Pyongyang's streets.

After a closed-door summit, the South’s delegation, including top business executives and musicians, joined Kim and North Korean officials at Pyongyang Grand Theatre for an orchestral performance by the North’s Samjiyon orchestra.

The dinner banquet that followed was amicable throughout the whole three hours, officials said, with it wrapping up past 11 p.m.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(BERLIN) -- Petya Verzilov, a member of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot, has likely been poisoned, doctors treating him in Germany said Tuesday.

Verzilov, one of the early members of the group that has for years staged provocative demonstrations against Russia's government, was rushed to a hospital last week in Moscow after he suddenly began suffering vision and motion loss and fell unconscious. His relatives and fellow activists quickly suspected Verzilov was the victim of poisoning and on Tuesday doctors at the Berlin hospital where he has been transferred for treatment said they had no other explanation for his sudden sickness.

"The impression and the findings that we now have, as well as those provided by colleagues from Moscow, suggest that it was highly plausible that it was a case of poisoning,” Dr. Kai-Uwe Eckardt of Berlin's Charite hospital told reporters.

Eckardt said doctors currently have "no evidence whatsoever that there would be another explanation for his condition.”

The hospital’s chairman, Karl Max Einhaeupl, told reporters that Verzilov was no longer in life-threatening danger and that his condition was “improving day by day.”

Verzilov, 30, fell sick following a friend's court hearing in Moscow on Sept. 11 and was taken by ambulance to hospital, where he was placed in intensive care. Verzilov's symptoms included disorientation and widened pupils and Russian doctors began treating him for possible poisoning, Eckardt said, emptying his stomach and performing a dialysis.

Verzilov, who has Russian and Canadian citizenship, was then moved to Germany by air ambulance on Saturday, flown there by the Cinema for Peace Foundation, an NGO that has supported Pussy Riot.

Eckardt said Verzilov was suffering from anticholinergic syndrome, which can disrupt the nervous system.

He said that laboratory tests were currently being carried out to identify the exact substance used to poison Verzilov but said it was unlikely that would be possible given the amount of time that had passed since he was exposed.

Eckardt ruled out that Verzilov could have taken the drug himself, saying there was “no evidence that there is a drug problem” and that it would be highly unusual for someone to take the drug in such a high dose unless the person was suicidal, which he said they had “no indications of.”

Eckardt said he hoped Verzilov would now make a full recovery and would not suffer any long-term health consequences.

Verzilov is one of the best-known members of Pussy Riot and is the estranged husband of Nadya Tolokonnikova, whose arrest in 2012 with two other activists over their protest in a Moscow cathedral led to the group becoming world famous. During that period Verzilov, a veteran activist and provocateur, became a kind of impresario for the group, often handling media inquiries.

In recent years, he has continued to arrange stunts targeting president Vladimir Putin's rule even as Tolokonnikova and the group's other leading member, Maria Alekhina, have increasingly stopped performing together. In July, Verzilov and two other Pussy Riot members were sentenced to 15 days jail for a demonstration during the World Cup final, in which they ran onto the field dressed as police officers to protest police oppression in Russia.

There have been a number of high profile poisoning cases involving opponents of the Russian government recently, including the poisoning of former spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter.

Another prominent activist, Vladimir Kara-Murza, from the liberal group Open Russia, in 2015 and 2017 was poisoned twice with an unknown substance. Kara-Murza suffered organ failure on both occasions and now walks with a cane. Despite extensive tests, doctors were unable to identify the poison.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Pyeongyang Press Corps/Getty Images(PYONGYANG, North Korea) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un greeted South Korean President Moon Jae-in with a lavish welcome ceremony Tuesday at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, as the two leaders kicked off their third summit this year.

Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, hugged the first couple from the South at the red-carpeted airfield as a crowd of thousands lined up to cheer for them -- some holding national flags, some holding unified-peninsula flags and some holding colorful plastic bouquets.

North Korea's ceremonial guards honored the South's delegation. Kim's influential sister, Kim Yo Jong, first vice department director of the central committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, also was on hand to escort the visitors.

Moon flew to Pyongyang Tuesday for the third inter-Korean summit with Kim.

The South Korean delegation, which was about 200 people from all walks of life, including businessmen and musicians, landed around 10 a.m. local time.

Moon and Kim rode in a lavish parade, standing together and waving to the crowd from an open-top black Mercedes limousine. Tens of thousands of citizens dressed in colorful national costumes and waving flags and paper-flower bouquets lined up in the streets chanting “Unification!”

The two leaders arrived at the Baekhwawon guesthouse, had separate luncheons, and then began the first of a three-day summit talk.

“You traveled to best places around the world but our accommodation is plain compared to developed countries,” Kim told Moon just before going into closed-door meetings. “Though our standards may be low, I hope you understand our efforts with full heart that we did our best to prepare the best accommodation and schedule [for this trip].”

A priority on the agenda is to ease military tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Im Jong-seok, the South Korean presidential office's chief of staff, said at a press conference Monday. The two leaders will spend considerable time reviewing in detail the progress of their joint agreement made in April and then draw up a "concrete and practical" agreement.

Moon also will focus on bridging the gap between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump regarding denuclearization. So far, the U.S. wants concrete steps by the North to prove denuclearization, for example, a "list" of nuclear facilities. On the other hand, North Korea wants a regime-security guarantee that includes declaring the Korean War over and signing a non-aggression peace treaty.

It's "difficult to have an optimistic outlook" on the progress of denuclearization, although it will depend on the honest conversations between Moon and Kim to reach such an agreement, Im said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



 

 

 

DOWNLOAD OUR MOBILE APP

FOR YOUR PHONE OR TABLET!

  

 

 

On Air Now
Best Country Hits
Best Country Hits
6:00pm - 12:00am
Night Show
Weather