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Olivier Douliery/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As pedestrians walked by the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C. on Thursday night, many wondered: “Is a movie star staying here tonight?”

It would seem that way -- with a red carpet literally rolled out, adoring fans mashed up against police barricades, security details running around and even two dueling protests trying to take advantage of all the attention.

But the chaotic commotion wasn’t for the likes of George Clooney or Kim Kardashian. The guest of honor was King Salman bin alAziz of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who is in town to visit President Obama.

It’s the Saudi king’s first trip to the U.S. since taking over the throne after his brother’s death in January. His plans in the capital include meeting President Obama at the White House and getting into the nitty-gritty of the Iran nuclear deal.

Accompanying the king is an epic entourage -- as seen in a photo of a seemingly endless motorcade parked alongside the runway at Andrews Air Force Base.

 

Saudis seem to have enough vehicles for King Salman's visit - the car fleet parked at Joint Base Andrews pic.twitter.com/Gk4aLzuVL2

— Carol Lee (@carolelee) September 3, 2015

 

To accommodate this tidal wave of black cars arriving at the hotel during the peak of rush hour, one of the city’s main commuter arteries, M Street, was closed.

The king’s car was one of the first to arrive at the hotel, with his vehicle sliding into a tent where the red carpet was set up. Security quickly closed the tent’s curtains before anyone could see the king step out.

Security had been tight in preparation for the royal arrival. K-9 units did sweeps and various forms of police and security detail were peppered around the property. Metal detectors and bag x-rays were also set up in the 5-star hotel’s lobby, looking like possibly the fanciest TSA checkpoint in history.

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iStock/Thinkstock(PEACEHAVEN, England) -- Garbage bins in East Sussex, U.K., recently turned into Minions, and residents have been abuzz trying to figure who painted them, according to the local newspaper.

The cheeky, yellow cartoon characters appeared overnight this past Monday in the small southern U.K. towns of Peacehaven, Newhaven and Rottingdean, the Sussex Express reported. The bins were numbered one to 10, and it remains a mystery as to who painted them.

"We have no idea who is responsible or why they’ve done it, but it’s quite amusing," resident Daniel Moon told the paper. "People have been going around trying to find all ten."

The Peacehaven Town Council reportedly said it didn't know who was responsible for the "binions," as they've been called on social media, but said it "admired their creativity."

A spokesperson for the Lewes District Council said it doesn't have a clue as to who painted the mysterious Minions, but that council members are happy they are bringing positive comments and "smiles from people passing by."

"Anything that encourages people to use the litter bins provided is a good thing as we want to keep the district clean and tidy for all to enjoy," the spokesperson added.

 

The painted "minion" bins of Peacehaven, East Sussex. pic.twitter.com/IRwyY5Ic1m

— Titus de Boer (@tdbtci66) September 4, 2015

 

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Isa Terli/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(KOBANI, Syria) — The heartbroken Syrian father whose wife and two young sons drowned off a Turkish beach as they fled toward Europe on their way to Canada laid his relatives to rest Friday.

Abdullah Kurdi returned to his hometown of Kobani for the burials and now has no plans to leave.

The Kurdi family's plight gained international attention after a haunting photo was shared showing Abdullah's 3-year-old son Aylan lying face down in the sand and being carried off by a police officer.

Dozens of friends, relatives and members of the media attended the burial ceremony.

Abdullah Kurdi was pictured holding the wrapped bodies of his sons.

At a later moment, he addressed the crowd, telling the story of the fatal journey.

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Sean Gallup/Getty Images(BUDAPEST, Hungary) — Hundreds of refugees are in a standoff with police at the main train station in Budapest as officials continue to grapple with the raging migrant crisis in Europe.

Tens of thousands of people fleeing war-torn Syria and areas in the Middle East have been making the laborious, and dangerous, trek through Europe towards Germany in hopes of finding asylum.

After international criticism for a lacking response to the crisis, European leaders are being prompted to reconsider their immigration policies.

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that the U.K. will accept "thousands more" refugees from Syria, though that will not directly impact the people who have been pictured making the perilous trek through Europe. The thousands that they accept, Cameron clarified in a series of tweets, will be taking in people from inside already-established refugee camps along the Syrian border.

"Taking refugees direct from camps allows a safe route to the UK, rather than the hazardous journey that's cost so many lives," he wrote in one tweet.

This change in policy comes after the U.K. had only resettled 216 Syrian refugees prior Friday's announcement, though they had accepted applications from more than 5,000 who made it to the U.K. on their own and were granted asylum upon entry in the country.

The exodus of migrants starts largely with people from Syria, other parts of the Middle East, Africa and even Asia heading to Turkey. At that point, human smugglers are taking fees for getting the migrants on packed, mostly plastic boats, that then head to the Greek islands.

The overcrowded boats and unsafe vessels have led to thousands of deaths this year alone. One in particular, that of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, prompted international outrage after he was pictured face down on a Turkish beach, having drowned alongside his mother and brother when the boat they were hit a storm.

Once the migrants reach Greece, they go first to Macedonia, then Serbia, and then Hungary, all in the dream of reaching Germany.

Though the vast majority of the migrants do not speak German nor do they have any connection to the country, it has largely been seen as an oasis for refugees since officials there announced that they would be willing to accept 800,000 refugees this year alone.

That offer has led to a cracking down by neighboring Hungary, where the tense standoff at the Budapest train station has been going on for days. Because all trains have been stopped there, many refugees are now resorting to making the 150-mile trek to Vienna, Austria, on foot.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NIIGATA, Japan) — Visitors to the recent Wara Art Festival in Niigata, Japan, were left in awe by the giant sculptures of dinosaurs -- up to 16 feet tall -- only made out of straw, according to the festival's official website.

The festival was started eight years ago as a way to celebrate the end of the rice harvest by turning the harvest's rice straw byproducts into amazing works of art.

This year's sculptures featured at Kamizeki Lagoon Park in Niigata, were created by a team of students at the Musashino Art University.

The giant straw sculptures are supported only by a simple wooden frame underneath.

Click here and here to see some of the amazing dinosaurs and other animals taking over the Japanese field.

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SHAMIL ZHUMATOV/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) — After a two-day journey to get to the International Space Station, three astronauts were all smiles as they exited the cramped Soyuz vessel and were welcomed by colleagues to their home in low-Earth orbit.

The trio, which includes a Russian, a Dane and a Kazakh, blasted off Wednesday on board a Soyuz rocket on a two-day journey to reach the ISS. While astronauts have taken a direct six-hour route in recent years, the Russian Federal Space Agency said it decided to switch to the traditional route because of security concerns after the space station adjusted its orbit in order to dodge space junk.

The route included 34 orbits of Earth to reach the space station, according to NASA.

The new arrivals bring the total number of astronauts at the International Space Station to nine, making it the first time since 2013 that many people lived at the station.

It won't be full for long, though. The Kazakh and the Dane are set to return to Earth Sept. 12, along with Gennady Padalka, who is the station commander, and will hand off the duty to U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly.

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Flowers are seen in the sea as people commemorate Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old boy dressed in shorts and a red T-shirt, and 12 Syrians who drowned in the Aegean Sea after two boats filled with refugees en route to Greece sank, at the beach where they washed ashore in Mugla, Turkey. (Photo by Mustafa Ciftci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- European nations must work together and do more to help deal with the "biggest refugee influx in decades," the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

"More than 300,000 people have risked their lives to cross the Mediterranean Sea so far this year," Guterres said. "Over 2,600 didn't survive the dangerous crossing, including three-year-old Aylan, whose photo has just stirred the hearts of the world public." He calls for "urgent and courageous measures to stabilize the situation," and eventually for countries to find "a way to truly share responsibility in the mid to longer term."

Noting that many of the refugees come from "conflict zones" including Syria and Iraq, Guterres says that all of those seeking asylum in Europe "deserve to see their human rights and dignity fully respected, independently of their legal status."

"Europe cannot go on responding to this crisis with a piecemeal or incremental approach," Guterres continued. "No country can do it alone, and no country can refuse to do its part." He called the situation "a defining moment for the European Union," which is preparing for meetings to decide how to respond to the situation.

"This massive flow of people will not stop until the root causes of their plight are addressed," Guterres concluded. "Much more must be done to prevent conflicts and stop the ongoing wars that are driving so many from their homes."

"Europe," he says, "is facing a moment of truth."

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An international crew of nine from the U.S.. Russia, Japan, Denmark and Kazakhstan will work together on the orbital laboratory until Sept. 11. Credit: NASA TV(NEW YORK) -- After a two-day journey to get to the International Space Station, three astronauts were all smiles as they exited the cramped Soyuz vessel and were welcomed by colleagues to their home in low-Earth orbit on Friday.

The trio, which includes a Russian, a Dane and a Kazakh, blasted off Wednesday on board a Soyuz rocket on a two-day journey to reach the ISS. While astronauts have taken a direct six-hour route in recent years, the Russian Federal Space Agency said it decided to switch to the traditional route because of security concerns after the space station adjusted its orbit in order to dodge space junk.

The route included 34 orbits of Earth to reach the space station, according to NASA.

The new arrivals bring the total number of astronauts at the International Space Station to nine, making it the first time since 2013 that many people lived at the station.

It won't be full for long, though. The Kazakh and the Dane are set to return to Earth Sept. 12, along with Gennady Padalka, who is the station commander, and will hand off the duty to U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly.

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iStock/Thinkstock(MOUNT SINAI, Egypt) --  According to the Pentagon, four U.S. military service members serving as peacekeepers in the Sinai Peninsula were injured in two roadside bomb explosions.

The Pentagon said their injuries were not life threatening.

The Americans are part of the observer force that has been in the Sinai for decades to support the Camp David Treaty between Israel and Egypt, a rotating mission typically carried out by a U.S. Army unit.

The two blasts injured four U.S. observers and two other Multinational Force Observers. The MFO evacuated the soldiers to a medical facility where they are receiving treatment.

"We wish all the wounded soldiers a speedy recovery," said Director of Press Operations Capt. Jeff Davis. "The safety and security of U.S. forces remains our top priority and we are committed to taking necessary steps for their protection. The United States continues to support the role of the Multinational Force and Observers in supporting the Treaty of Peace between Israel and Egypt.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- How many trees are there on Earth? It's the ultimate estimation game, but a group of Yale researchers believe they have arrived at the most precise answer yet.

There are 3.04 trillion trees on Earth -- nearly eight times as many as was previously thought, according to the study, which was released in the journal Nature. Scientists who worked on the study relied on satellite imagery, forest inventories and supercomputers to help map the number of trees on Earth down to the square-kilometer level.

"Trees are among the most prominent and critical organisms on Earth, yet we are only recently beginning to comprehend their global extent and distribution," Thomas Crowther, a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and lead author of the study, said in a statement.

The latest count shatters a previous estimate of 400 billion trees worldwide, a number that was arrived at using satellite imagery and estimates of forest area but with no ground-level information.

While Crowther and his team said they were surprised to be dealing with a number in the trillions, it wasn't all good news for Earth's ecosystems. The team estimated the total number of trees has declined 46 percent since the dawn of human civilization, with an estimated 15 billion trees being cut down each year.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two bellydancers in Egypt have been sentenced to half a year in jail, according to the BBC.

The two bellydancers were arrested for inciting debauchery by their performance in a video.

BBC News reports that lawyers claimed the dancers were harming the image of Egyptian women and public morality.

The two dancers, Suha Mohammed Ali and Dalia Kamal Youssef will each serve six months in jail.

The cameraman was also sentenced to six months in jail.

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iStock/Thinkstock(CANBERRA, Australia) -- A major haircut took place in Australia Wednesday after a sheep with nearly five years worth of wool on him was found wandering outside of Canberra.

The sheep, who has been nicknamed “Chris," was rescued Wednesday by RSPCA Australia officials after someone spotted him wandering with a much bigger-than-average mass of wool.

RSPCA officials immediately put out a plea for a shearer who could handle the difficult task, given that the sheep was thought to be in grave danger from the stress of his predicament.

“While he could barely walk or fit through our paddock doors, our biggest fear was that he might have serious infections under that mass of wool,” the RSPCA wrote on its website. “…We were also unsure if he could live through this ordeal as he was clearly stressed and could die easily of shock.”

The RSPCA and its CEO, Tammy Ven Dange, live tweeted much of the sheering once it took place.

In the end, officials said 40.45 kilograms, or roughly 89 pounds, of wool was removed from the sheep, an amount the RSPCA called a “new unofficial world record.”

The RSPCA says the sheep is “looking like a new man” and will remain under observation for a few days before being put up for adoption.

The nickname "Chris," according to the RSCPA, was given to the sheep by the person who found him, and they are letting it stick.

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ABC News(WELLINGTON, New Zealand) -- When most people think of wool, itchy blankets and sweaters might come to mind.

But a unique breed of sheep is redefining how consumers think of wool and revolutionizing the world of performance athletic wear.

At a farm in the southern Alps of New Zealand, Tom Rowley is a third generation sheep farmer raising merino sheep. While normal wool can be itchy and uncomfortable, merino wool is much finer which is why it's soft against your skin.

“The softness makes you understand you can wear this against your skin because the fibers are so fine and soft. The prickly feeling you usually have with wool is because of the thickness of the fiber,” Rowley told ABC News’ Nightline.

Rob Fyfe is the CEO of the New Zealand clothing company IceBreaker, which specializes in merino products, and has promoted items made of the super soft wool.

"Because these sheep live in such a tough environment and altitude, the wool that they’ve developed is unique from any other sheep,” Fyfe told Nightline. “It’s so soft. It’s so gorgeous against the skin, a real silky feel.”

Though it’s known for the feel and as fabric for cold weather clothing, Fyfe says merino wool is much more than that.

“The functional properties are what really make it different,” Fyfe said. “It breathes. It doesn't smell, doesn't hold odor. It's great for wicking moisture.”

These same properties have helped the merino wool business boom. Manufacturers like Smartwool, Lululemon, Patagonia and The North Face have all touted the durability, breathability, anti-bacterial and odor-reducing qualities of their merino products.

Fyfe said his company originally worked hard to convince people to use merino wool over synthetic fabric, but eventually with their success, competitors are now using merino wool in some of their products.

“It’s a lot more expensive than a synthetic fiber, so it took a while for people to get hold of the benefits,” Fyfe said.

With the increasing consumer demand for eco-friendly and sustainable products, Fyfe said the benefits go beyond how the clothing performs.

“It’s about born in nature and worn in nature, so we’re about connecting people back with the land, not covering yourself up in synthetics and plastics,” Fyfe said.

“Being able to stitch that whole ecosystem together and make it both commercially sustainable and delivering to the world an environmentally sustainable product and a whole new twist on what wool can be and how you can wear wool -- it’s special.”


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Giovanna Carabella(ALBERTA, Canada) -- Years of heartache turned to joy Monday night when a dog owner was happily reunited with her pet pug after unknown assailants snatched him off his leash in front of a supermarket five years ago.

"When we could see her coming down the escalator, I said, 'Is that your Mommy?'" said Giovanna Carabella, who brought the pair together again. "His tail started wagging and he started squealing. He couldn’t wait to get out of my arms.

"She held him and he started licking her face and she was crying. It was just amazing.

Carabella, a private investigator who helps with animals, told ABC News a man found Tyson the pug roaming the streets Aug. 19 and brought him to her the next day.

"The man, who didn’t want to be named, brought him to me because he knows I do pug rescue," she said. "I didn’t realize he belonged to someone. I called the authorities and took him to the vet to see if he had a microchip or a tattoo."

Carabella said veterinarian technicians in Alberta, Canada, discovered a tattoo inside Tyson's ear, which revealed the information of his rightful family, who lived in Ontario, almost five hours away.

Through her own investigations, she soon realized that the dog had been stolen from his owner, Justine Holmlund, in October 2010.

Holmlund said, "I tied him up outside of a Safeway [supermarket] for a few minutes while I ran into use the ATM machine. After his abduction, I had posted posters throughout the city with a $3,000 reward. He meant the world to me."

Afrer Tyson's abduction, Holmlund said, she never lost hope, putting all her energy into trying to track him down.

"I also got a hold of the Safeway security department, which I watched the surveillance video of him being stolen," she added.

The video, Carabella said, revealed two males and a female exiting a van.

They were then seen in the footage petting the dog before removing him off his collar and driving away with him.

Five years later, Holmlund received a Facebook message from Carabella, whom she'd never met before, informing her that Tyson had been found.

"On August 24, 2015 the Airdrie RCMP detachment officers were made aware of a found dog in the Crossfield area, north of Calgary, Alberta, Canada," the Royal Canadian Mountain Police said in a statement. "The dog had been reported stolen in Calgary in 2010. It was retrieved and is now with its original owner.

"The Airdrie RCMP is working with the Calgary Police Services and this matter remains under investigation."

Carabella and Holmlund met at the Calgary Airport Monday night where Tyson was reunited with his beloved owner.

"She was so thankful she was in tears to get Tyson," Carabella said. “She was very, very grateful. Five years later, who knew that this pup would come across my direction. I picked him up, not sure who he belonged to, and I was going to do whatever I could to find the owner."

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Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images(ISTANBUL) -- The Syrian father whose two young sons died after falling off an overcrowded boat headed to Turkey was captured in a photo on Thursday, crying as he left the morgue.

The heartbreaking deaths of the two boys, 3-year-old Alan and 5-year-old Galip, are not the only ones that their father Abdullah Kurdi is dealing with right now.

His wife was on board the boat and also died during the crossing.

A series of photos of Alan lying drowned on a Turkish beach has prompted outrage over the lack of help refugees are being given in Europe.

The Kurdi family was fleeing from Kobani in Syria, reportedly headed for Canada where Abdullah's sister Tima Kurdi lives.

The Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada noted on Thursday that there was no record the agency received an application for Abdullah Kurdi and his family. But the agency did receive an application for his brother, Mohammad Kurdi, and Mohammad Kurdi's family "but was returned as it was incomplete as it did not meet regulatory requirements for proof of refugee status recognition."

Tima Kurdi spoke to the press in Canada on Thursday, telling how on the night the family set off from Turkey, her brother Abdullah had texted her at 2:30 a.m. local time to say they were leaving and asking her to pray for them. She called her father in Syria to tell him the family was leaving. Despite it being just a 30 minute crossing, she said she did not hear from them for two days. At 5 a.m. Wednesday, she woke to find 100 missed calls from Syria and Turkey.

"I don't want people to die any more. The world has to wake up," she said.

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