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2nd Russian athlete fails doping test at Winter Olympics

Posted on: February 23rd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

The failed test comes as the IOC considers whether to lift the doping ban.

2nd Russian athlete fails doping test at Winter Olympics

Posted on: February 23rd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

The failed test comes as the IOC considers whether to lift the doping ban.

Ivanka Trump arrives in South Korea ahead of Olympics closing ceremony

Posted on: February 23rd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Trump will be leading the U.S. delegation and attending Sunday’s close.

Ivanka Trump arrives in South Korea ahead of Olympics closing ceremony

Posted on: February 23rd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Trump will be leading the U.S. delegation and attending Sunday’s close.

Argentina: Drug seizure at Russian embassy leads to arrests

Posted on: February 23rd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Argentine officials say that a police officer and a Russian diplomatic official were arrested after authorities seized a large cocaine shipment at the Russian embassy in Buenos Aires

Myanmar bulldozes what is left of Rohingya Muslim villages

Posted on: February 23rd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Myanmar bulldozes what is left of Rohingya Muslim villages in vast operation human rights groups say is destroying evidence of crimes

Officials apologize as schoolgirls remain missing after suspected Boko Haram attack

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Dozens of Nigerian schoolgirls remained missing Thursday, three days after suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked a school in northeast Yobe State.

Living in a ‘nightmare’: Airstrike interrupts Syrian activist’s ABC News interview

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

“Every day people die – we’re used to it,” Nour, 22, said. But people think we are a number, but actually we are human and people, and no one feel what we are suffering.”

Trump administration denies entry to Iranian Christian refugees

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Trump administration denies entry to Iranian Christian refugees

US women’s hockey wins first gold since 1998 in dramatic win over Canada

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

The U.S. women won the gold for the first time in 20 years.

US women’s hockey wins first gold since 1998 in dramatic win over Canada

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

The U.S. women won the gold for the first time in 20 years.

Russian curlers stripped of medal after doping violation

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

The curlers will be forced to give up their Olympic bronze medals.

Russian curlers stripped of medal after doping violation

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

The curlers will be forced to give up their Olympic bronze medals.

North Korea to send high-level delegation to Olympics closing ceremony

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Ivanka Trump will be in attendance with the U.S. delegation.

North Korea to send high-level delegation to Olympics closing ceremony

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Ivanka Trump will be in attendance with the U.S. delegation.

Lindsey Vonn misses gate in final Olympics race as Shiffrin rallies for silver

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Vonn’s Olympics career came to a disappointing conclusion in the combined.

Lindsey Vonn misses gate in final Olympics race as Shiffrin rallies for silver

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Vonn’s Olympics career came to a disappointing conclusion in the combined.

Women’s hockey twins had sights set only on winning gold against Canada

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

The sisters met in a game for gold early Thursday morning.

African asylum seekers facing expulsion have embraced Israel

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Tens of thousands of African asylum seekers fear their stay in Israel is coming to an abrupt end

‘Small explosion’ near US embassy in Montenegro, investigation ‘evolving’

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — There was a “small explosion” near the U.S. embassy compound in Podgorica, the capital of the Balkan nation of Montenegro, at approximately midnight local time Thursday, the State Department has confirmed to ABC News.

“At 00:30, in front of the @USEmbassyMNE building in #Podgorica, #Montenegro an unknown person committed suicide with an explosive device,” the government of Montenegro tweeted. “Immediately before, that person threw an explosive device from the intersection near the Sport Center into the US Embassy compound.”

A subsequent tweet read, “Most probably, the device was a hand grenade. Police investigation and identification is under way directed by the prosecutor.”

“At this time, embassy officials are working closely with police to identify the assailant(s),” a State Department spokesman said.

The spokesman said the investigation is “evolving.”

“The embassy is currently conducting an internal review to confirm the safety of all staff,” the spokesman added.

Initial reports indicate there was no impact on U.S. personnel, according to the State Department.

On its Facebook page, the embassy said visa services were cancelled on Thursday, and that “American Citizen Services will be available today on an emergency basis.”

The embassy had initially announced on its website that it was experiencing “an active security situation.”

The warning on the website said the embassy “advises U.S. citizens there is an active security situation at the U.S. embassy in Podgorica. Avoid the Embassy until further notice.”

It listed a series of “actions to take,” which included avoiding the area around the embassy, monitor local media, avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, follow the instructions of local authorities, and “employ sound security practices.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

$1M worth of gold bars seized from man trying to board flight in Kenya

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

A Tanzanian man has been arrested in Kenya’s capital city while trying to board a flight to Dubai with approximately $1 million worth of gold, Kenyan authorities said.

‘Small explosion’ near US embassy in Montenegro, investigation ‘evolving’

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

The embassy in the Balkan nation issues the alert Thursday morning.

US Jewish group withdraws Holocaust video offensive to Poles

Posted on: February 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

US Jewish foundation sparks outrage in Poland with video calling on the United States to sever its diplomatic ties with Poland over controversial new Holocaust legislation and by repeatedly using the historically incorrect term ‘Polish Holocaust’

Russian troll farm financier also backs Russian mercenaries in Syria: Officials

Posted on: February 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Kremlin ally indicted last week as a key figure in Russia’s online election influence operation is also tied to a shadowy military contractor whose Russian mercenaries recently launched an attack on American forces in Syria, U.S. officials tell ABC News.

Yevgeny Prigozhin — a Russian businessman and restaurateur dubbed “Putin’s chef” by the Russian media — is deeply involved in the Wagner Group, officials said, a paramilitary firm based in southern Russia. According to those officials, the firm deployed mercenaries in Syria who tried to strike U.S. special operations forces earlier this month. The attack failed, two intelligence officials told ABC News, as the mercenaries were decimated by U.S. airstrikes during their advance.

According to a senior U.S. official, Prigozhin finances the Wagner Group’s current operations in both Syria and Africa. Prigozhin has denied reports of his connections to the group.

“Every private military contractor needs a financial backer who has good relations with their government, and for this firm in Russia it is Prigozhin,” the senior official told ABC News.

The Russian Foreign Ministry denies that any Russian servicemen participated in the clash but acknowledged that Russian citizens were killed.

“There are Russian citizens in Syria who went there on their own and with different goals,” said the ministry in a statement. “It is not for the Foreign Ministry to assess its legality and legality of such decisions.”

Prigozhin’s connection to the group is important, the senior official told ABC News, as his private military work offers more evidence that he is pursuing Vladimir Putin’s global ambitions while providing the Russian leader some deniability that the actions are officially sanctioned.

In interviews with several media outlets, including ABC News, associates and relatives of some of the dead mercenaries have suggested there were substantial casualties. Russia’s foreign ministry this week confirmed there had been dozens of wounded. Reuters reported that the failed attack resulted in massive casualties — approximately 300 dead or wounded — though both U.S. and Russian officials have publicly downplayed the incident.

“We’re not going to speculate on the composition of the hostile force we engaged Feb. 7-8,” said Col. Thomas F. Veale, the anti-ISIS coalition’s spokesman.

Other officials familiar with the incident told ABC News that the mercenaries were mostly — if not exclusively — Russians from the Wagner Group. Those wounded in the conflict were evacuated to Russian hospitals, giving many intelligence officials further confidence that they had acted on Kremlin orders.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis, speaking to reporters while returning from Europe last week, said he did not know if the contractors were directed by the Russian government but questioned the impetus behind the obviously coordinated campaign.

“I doubt that 250-300 people all just decided on their individual own selves to suddenly cross the river into enemy territory and start shelling the location and maneuvering tanks against them, so whatever happened we’ll try to figure it out, we’ll work with obviously anyone who can answer that question, but I cannot at this time,” he said.

One official monitoring the clash told ABC News that the group was extraordinarily well-armed for a unit allegedly lacking state sponsorship.

“They had tanks and towed artillery pieces,” the official said. “Kind of unusual for ‘contractors.’”

According to the senior official, Syria isn’t the only battleground where Prigozhin-backed Wagner Group contractors are seemingly operating on behalf of Russian interests.

“They were in Ukraine too,” one senior official told ABC News.

Former Russian military service members were first seen in eastern Ukraine in 2015 to bolster the separatist movement. The U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned Prigozhin in 2016 for allegedly supporting “senior officials of the Russian Federation” in the conflict.

On Friday, the special counsel charged Prigozhin with using several businesses to fund the Internet Research Agency, the St. Petersburg “troll farm” that waged the interference campaign during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

He denied playing a role in the virtual campaign in comments to Russian state-owned news outlet RIA Novosti on Friday.

“Americans are very impressionable people, they see what they want to see, I treat them with great respect, I’m not at all upset that I’m on this list. If they want to see the devil, let them see,” Prigozhin said.

As for the attempted attack by the Russian mercenaries on U.S. military forces in Syria on Feb. 7, the American officials said the Russians made a severe miscalculation.

“They tried to hit our guys and they paid a price — they got crushed,” one official said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved

25 injured after ferry explosion

Posted on: February 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) —  An explosion on a ferry in Mexico has left a number of people injured, according to local officials in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.

The explosion took place when passengers were disembarking from the ferry, according to the municipality of Solidaridad, which includes Playa del Carmen.

There were 25 people injured in the explosion, the director of Civil Protection for Playa del Carmen told ABC News. Among the injured were five foreigners: two Americans and three Canadians, the director also said. There were no fatalities.

“The priority is people. The report they are giving us is that there are people injured by shrapnel with small cuts, fortunately nothing serious, no life is in danger, they have to make the necessary protocols of medical care for what they have been transferred,” the municipality said in a press release.

A preliminary indication for the cause of the explosion was “mechanical failure,” according to Quintana Roo officials.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved

One family’s struggle to conserve water in dire Cape Town drought

Posted on: February 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABCNews.com(CAPE TOWN, South Africa) —  Living sustainably borders almost on an obsession for the James family.

They grow much of their own food, only use organic products, keep chickens and have long used the many natural springs around Cape Town that provide alternative sources of water. They’ve always been careful.

But the prospect of “Day Zero” — the day when the South African city runs out of water — is a whole new reality.

Liesel James is busy collecting what the family calls “gray water” from around her house. That’s soapy or contaminated water that’s been used for cleaning or cooking, but can still be used elsewhere.

“I’ll collect this and put it down the toilet, or take it out to the garden for the plants,” she said. “But we have to make sure we only use organic cleaning products so we don’t pour chemicals on the food we are trying to grow.”

This story is part of an upcoming “Nightline” report. “Nightline” airs at 12:35 a.m. ET weekdays on ABC.

Containers are taken from the kitchen to the garden daily, and large buckets sit under the shower to stop water being wasted.

“I can’t remember the last time I had a bath,” says Liesel, looking at the tub. “I think I’ll sell it.”

Watch the full story on ABC News’ “Nightline” TONIGHT at 12:35 a.m. ET

Her three children, Tala 15, Safiya, 12 and Zenon, 9, are making adjustments too. “Our kids get very excited — it’s become almost a challenge to see how little water they can use. I’m very proud of them,” says Liesel.

But Tala is aware of the gravity of the situation. “Lots of our parents are children of war or post-war. And now in Cape Town, we’ll be drought babies, as opposed to war babies.”

“Children of climate change,” adds Tala’s father, Kevin James.

Showers are no more than two minutes long, and when using the toilet, the family subscribes to the familiar refrain, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”

“I don’t think enough people are doing this,” says Liesel. “Maybe people really need the pressure to make them think outside of the box.”

With nearly 4 million residents, Cape Town is South Africa’s second-most populous city. The average Capetonian may be trying to adhere to the strict water usage guidelines, but changing fundamental lifestyle habits is a taller order. Each person is allowed to use only 50 liters (13.2 gallons) per person per day from their taps. The average American uses about 200 to 500 liters (roughly 53 to 132 gallons) per day, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The date the city estimates it will run out of water has changed over the past few weeks. The city announced in a Feb. 19 statement that the date would be July 9.

The Jameses are managing — and have planned for the worst. But Liesel has other concerns. “I’m not too worried for us,” she says. “I’m more worried about what might happen around us. For war.”

Over the leafy hills from the Jameses’ suburban neighborhood is one of Cape Town’s largest townships — effectively slums where millions live without regular access to water or electricity. Hundreds must share communal taps. If the water turns off, the potential for unrest is frightening.

“South Africa is probably one of the most unequal countries in the world,” Kevin says. “I believe what’s going on now is a great leveler. Because no matter how affluent you are or how poor you are — I think the poor are possibly better prepared for the situation than the very affluent families who have taken this stuff for granted. So it feels like we are in a bit of a social experiment.

“It’s daunting,” Kevin continues. “It’s the first thing we wake up with. I liken it a lot of the time to how people must feel when there’s imminent war. Where there’s uncertainty about being invaded. It is potentially apocalyptic. We have no idea — it’s unprecedented. No major city in the world has experienced this. And I think most people have got absolutely no clue how reliant we are on water for every part of our daily lives.

“We’re about to find out.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved

Airstrikes pound Damascus suburb for fourth day, leaving more than 300 civilians dead

Posted on: February 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Diaa Al-Din Samout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Pro-government forces pounded rebel-held Eastern Ghouta for the fourth day in a row Wednesday, killing at least 38 civilians, including four children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based monitoring group said.

Since Sunday night, Syrian and Russian airstrikes and shelling killed at least 310 civilians, including 72 children, in Eastern Ghouta, Rami Abdurrahman, the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told ABC News.

“The warplanes are still in the sky,” Nour Adam, a media activist in Eastern Ghouta, who asked that his real family name be withheld out of safety concerns for family members in government-held territory, told ABC News on Wednesday. “People are in the shelters and shops are closed.”

An estimated 400,000 people are trapped in Eastern Ghouta with little access to food, water, fuel, electricity and health care, according to the UN. Many of them have left their homes and moved into underground shelters, where they spend their days and nights in hiding due to the intensity of the strikes.

The recent surge in violence in Eastern Ghouta, which has been besieged by the Syrian government since 2013, is part of President Bashar al-Assad’s campaign to seize Syria’s last remaining opposition-held territories.

On Monday and Tuesday, a total of 13 medical facilities were attacked in Eastern Ghouta, according to the Syrian American Medical Society. Three of SAMS’ medical staff in Eastern Ghouta were killed during those two days. One of them, a nurse, lost her life as she tried to escape the bombing on the hospital where she worked in the town of Arbin on Tuesday, SAMS said. Airstrikes continued to “relentlessly target the vicinity of the hospital for five hours, also directly hitting ambulances,” SAMS said in a statement. At least 300 patients and medical staff were trapped in the hospital as staff moved patients to safer areas within the hospital, according to SAMS.

The United Nations secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, appealed on Wednesday for an immediate ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta, allowing humanitarian aid to reach people there. A truce should also allow the evacuation of an estimated 700 people who need urgent treatment outside of the besieged enclave, he said.

“I am deeply saddened by the terrible suffering of the civilian population in eastern Ghouta – 400,000 people that live in hell on earth,” he told the U.N. Security Council. “I know that very important consultations are taking place in this Council, aiming at a cessation of hostilities during one month in Syria, with a number of conditions, and of course I fully support that effort, but I believe eastern Ghouta cannot wait.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved

One family’s struggle to conserve water as city’s ‘Day Zero’ nears

Posted on: February 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

The James family has been finding ways to reuse water as much as possible.

One family’s struggle to conserve water as city’s ‘Day Zero’ nears

Posted on: February 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

The James family has been finding ways to reuse water as much as possible.

Secret meeting between Pence, North Koreans scrapped at last minute, official says

Posted on: February 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Carl Court/Getty Images(PYEONGCHANG, South Korea) — A secret meeting planned between Vice President Mike Pence and North Korean officials at the Olympics was scrapped at the last minute, an official in Pence’s office has confirmed to ABC News.

An account of the planned meeting was first reported in the Washington Post. The meeting was set for Feb. 10 between Pence and Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and Kim Yong Nam, North Korea’s nominal head of state. But the North Koreans pulled out, citing new sanctions the U.S. announced before Pence’s arrival in South Korea, according to the official.

In a statement, Nick Ayers, Pence’s chief of staff, said North Korea “dangled a meeting in hopes of the vice president softening his message, which would have ceded the world stage for their propaganda during the Olympics.” Ayers added that Pence would have confronted the North Koreans about human rights abuses and their nuclear weapons ambitions.

Citing White House officials, the Post reported that President Donald Trump and Pence had agreed beforehand that the goal of any meeting would not be to open any negotiations with Kim’s regime, but to deliver the administration’s tough stance against North Korea face to face.

“This administration will stand in the way of Kim’s desire to whitewash their murderous regime with nice photo ops at the Olympics,” Ayers said. “Perhaps that’s why they walked away from a meeting, or perhaps they were never sincere about sitting down. The president made a decision that if they wanted to talk, we would deliver our uncompromising message. If they asked for a meeting, we would meet. He also made clear that until they agreed to complete denuclearization, we weren’t going to change any of our positions or negotiate.”

At the Olympics opening ceremony, Pence sat just a few feet away from Kim Yo Jong, but did not acknowledge her.

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