World News

pawel.gaul/iStock(MOSCOW) -- Russian authorities have detained a man accused of building a fake fence in the woods close to the country’s border with Finland in order to trick a group of migrants into believing he had smuggled them across into the European Union.

The man set up fake border posts and persuaded four men from South Asia that he could lead them over the border for the cost of roughly 10,000 euros (about $11,100), according to Russia’s FSB border service.

To make it even more believable, the man led the four migrants on a complicated route, taking them along a road before then marching them around a lake in the Vyborg region, the agency’s press office said in a statement. The "guide" even brought an inflatable boat with him, telling the men it was for "just in case."

The alleged conman's plan was to tell the migrants that when they passed through the planted fence in the woods that they were now in Finland.

But the group never made it to the fake crossing -- border agents detained them last Thursday before they arrived at the fake border. Video footage released by Russian authorities showed men standing in the dark with their hands up in the air.

"The incredible adventure of the foreigners in the night-time quiet of the Vyborg woods ended with a decision of the Vyborg district court," the FSB statement said. The court on Wednesday found the four men guilty of violating their rules of stay in Russia and ordered they be fined and deported.

The man who tried to trick them may now be charged with fraud, the agency said.

Migrants and refugees from South Asia as well as the Middle East have often traveled to Russia in an attempt to continue on to Europe. The borders with Finland and Norway have been two of the most popular routes.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Oleksii Liskonih/iStock(WASHINGTON) --  As impeachment drama marches forward in Washington, D.C., focusing on a call between President Donald Trump and the president of Ukraine, Rudy Giuliani traveled to Kyiv.

The president's personal attorney is meeting with current and former Ukrainian officials who have served as key sources for his questionable theories about Ukrainian corruption and election meddling as part of a documentary series by far-right network One America News Network (OAN) that is intended to discredit the impeachment process.

OAN previously confirmed to ABC News that Giuliani is in Europe conducting interviews as part of their investigative documentary series, which seeks to debunk what it describes as "the impeachment hoax" and offer proof of Ukrainian corruption and 2016 election meddling, according to a spokesperson for the network.

Among those with whom Giuliani has met is pro-Russian Ukrainian MP Andriy Derkach, a former member of the Party of Regions, the political party of Ukraine's toppled pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych. In recent weeks, Derkach has held a series of press conferences pushing unsupported theories attacking ousted U.S. Ambassador Maria Yovanovitch and leveling allegations without proof that Hunter Biden received corrupt payments. At the press conferences, Derkach has presented dubious documents that he has also frequently misrepresented.

Derkach posted photos Thursday with Giuliani in Kyiv, and according to Derkach, the two discussed creating an anti-corruption group in Ukraine's parliament to investigate alleged misuse of American taxpayer money in Ukraine.

"Rudolf Giuliani landed in Kyiv. We straightway met with him about the question of creating an inter-parliamentary group 'Friends of Ukraine STOP Corruption,'" Derkach wrote in a length post on Facebook. "Unfortunately our country finds itself in the center of scandals relating to international corruption."

Derkach added that he believed Giuliani's participation in creating the anti-corruption group would be "very useful for us. In particular, he can help with including in this group international experts, analysts, journalists and all those who are able to realise the tasks of the group and to benefit the strategic relations between Ukraine and the U.S."

Allegations put forth by Giuliani -- including a debunked theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election and accusations of malpractice by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden -- helped formed the contours of an impeachment report issued this week by the House Intelligence Committee.

 In addition to his meeting with Derkach, Giuliani met with former Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko as part of the project, according to a spokesperson for Lutsenko. Removed from his post as the country's top law enforcement official earlier this year, Lutsenko has been one of Giuliani's key sources of information about Ukraine.

Giuliani's quest to concoct damaging narratives in Ukraine eventually played a major role in triggering the impeachment process, after Trump sought to push Ukraine's leadership into announcing investigations into the conspiracies.

In a previous episode of the OAN series that aired within the last few weeks, Giuliani said Trump had blessed his efforts in Ukraine, even as the White House continues to face scrutiny for holding up military aid to Kyiv in exchange for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's support of politically beneficial investigations, including one targeting a prospective 2020 rival, Joe Biden.

"The president of the United States, I can tell you this, is asking for this," Giuliani told OAN.

Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C, Democrats are moving swiftly in the impeachment of Trump. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday morning, within hours of news breaking that Giuliani had traveled to Ukraine, that she would ask relevant committee chairmen to begin drafting articles of impeachment.

"The facts are uncontested," Pelosi said. "The president abused his power for his own political benefit."

 Democrats in Congress issued a subpoena to Giuliani for documents and communication records related to his work in Ukraine. Giuliani has thus far refused to cooperate or provide the records. He is also the subject of an investigation in the Southern District of New York for his contacts with two Soviet-born associates with ties to Ukraine, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, sources have told ABC News.

Giuliani's work on matters related to Ukraine and his business dealings with two Soviet-born associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, is the subject of an on going investigation by prosecutors out of the Southern District of New York, sources have previously told ABC News.

As ABC News has previously reported, the House Intelligence Committee is in possession of audio and video recordings and photographs provided to the committee by Parnas.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


omersukrugoksu/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- A top Pentagon official confirmed on Thursday that the U.S. is considering sending additional American troops to the Middle East due to concerns about the threat stream emanating from Iran.

"The [defense] secretary, if he chooses to, can make a decision to deploy additional forces," John Rood, under secretary of defense for policy, said during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"It is possible that we would need to address our force posture," he later told senators, adding that it "could be a prudent step" to do so.

A U.S. official familiar with the planning told ABC News on Wednesday that the White House was weighing the possibility of sending thousands more American forces to the Middle East to deter continued Iranian provocations. But the source said the White House has not yet made a decision.

The idea of sending more American troops to the Middle East has been in the works for months but it is more likely given the threat from Iran right now, the source said.

Since the missile and drone attack on Saudi oil facilities in September, that the U.S. blames on Iran, the U.S. has continued to see provocations from Iran.

On Wednesday, it was disclosed that last week a U.S. Navy destroyer seized an Iranian dhow with missile parts headed to Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen. The New York Times also reported on Wednesday that in another provocative move, Iran has been using Iranian-backed militias to secretly flow an arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles into Iraq.

"People are not paying enough attention to the fact that ballistic missiles in the last year have been placed in Iraq by Iran with the ability to project violence on the region," Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., told the New York Times in an interview.

During a recent visit to Baghdad, the former Defense Department official cautioned Iraqi officials that if Iran launched a missile from inside Iraq it could risk continued U.S. training and support to Iraq.

Tensions with Iran have remained high since May when the U.S. perceived an imminent Iranian threat to U.S. forces and interests.

Since then, an additional 14,000 U.S. troops have been sent to the region to deter Iran including the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group, air defense forces and aircraft.

But those are temporary deployments and though some of the forces are being replaced by follow-on units, military planners have to plan for the possibility of a longer-lasting "enduring" presence.

That would mean establishing a regular rotation of forces to maintain current U.S. troop levels. It could also mean possibly sending additional capabilities that would entail sending more forces.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. was weighing sending 14,000 additional troops, including dozens of ships and new capabilities to the region. That report drew a sharp denial from Alyssa Farah, the Pentagon press secretary, who tweeted, "The U.S. is not sending 14,000 troops to the Middle east to confront Iran."

 A statement from Farah on Thursday doubled down on that denial of the 14,000 figure but did not elaborate what other options are under consideration.

"As discussed in the hearing today, we are constantly evaluating the threat situation around the world and considering our options," she said. "We adjust our force posture and troop levels based on adversary action and the dynamic security situation."

She added, "Secretary Esper spoke to Chairman [James] Inhofe this morning and reaffirmed that we are not considering sending 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East at this time."

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Cineberg/iStock(PARIS) -- Mass strikes taking place across the whole of France against proposed pension reforms have severely impacted transportation services and brought Paris to a near standstill on Thursday.

Nearly 6,000 police officers have been mobilized in the French capital to deal with the strike which is expected to be the largest the country has seen in years.

Strikers from a diverse range of industries, including nurses, travel operators and lawyers, are taking part in the general strike across the country. A number of “yellow vest” protesters have also been seen taking part of in the demonstrations. 245 demonstrations are taking place across France, according to the organizers, who have currently set no end date to the general strike.

The strikes are not directly linked to the yellow vest movement, which has seen anti-government protesters routinely taking to the streets, sometimes clashing violently with police, since November 2018.

Instead, workers are striking against proposed changes to the country’s pension system by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron promised in his election campaign to merge the dozens of different pensions' schemes for different employment sectors into one universal system, which opponents say will see certain industries lose out. Under the current system, there is no fixed retirement age with pensions instead being collected after a minimum contribution period to a pension fund.

That could change under the proposed reforms, laid out in a report in June by the high commissioner for pensions, Jean Paul Delevoye. The reforms have not yet been finalized, but a series of new proposals published at the end of November have sparked a wave of anger across the country.

“The government is doing its utmost to limit the impact of the strike,” Edouard Phillipe, the prime minister, said in a statement.

Ninety percent of train journeys were canceled nationwide ahead of the strikes, the spokesperson of the national rail service, the SNCF, said at a press conference Tuesday. There have been 285 flight cancellations and 288 delays to flights in and out of Paris, according to Flightaware.

The demonstrations have also impacted key tourist attractions. The Eiffel Tower has been closed due to the national strike at the Eiffel Tower according to its website.

Many Parisians have opted to cycle to work due to severe disruption to the city’s transport services Thursday. Huge crowds gathered in the city center carrying signs calling on the government to reverse the proposed pension changes.

Jérôme Rodrigues, one of the key figures of the yellow vest movement, told ABC News that he felt he had no choice but to join the demonstrations.

“Yellow vests invest in the present and the future,” he told ABC News. “Today we have a demonstration that corresponds to our credo … as private workers, we have so little left. We have to keep it.”

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Australian Federal Police(MELBOURNE, Australia) -- Australian authorities have seized the country's largest methamphetamine lot, which had a price tag of $820 million and weighed nearly 3,200 pounds, officials said.

The Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force made the bust on Wednesday, the two agencies said in a joint statement. The methamphetamine was worth $1.197 billion in Australian dollars (or $820 million in U.S. currency).

The major seizure also included about 81 pounds of heroin that was worth $18.5 million in Australian dollars (or $12.62 million in U.S. dollars) -- marking the country's largest heroin seizure since 2017, the statement read.

The drugs allegedly came from Bangkok, Thailand, and were stashed in vacuum-sealed packages, which were hidden in stereo speakers.

Authorities said they were discovered after executing a series of search warrants throughout properties in Melbourne.

Three people have been arrested in relation to the bust, police said.

Two men, aged 37 and 38, and one woman, 37, have each been charged with one count of importing methamphetamine and one count of importing heroin.

They could face life in prison if convicted.

The country's deputy commissioner for police, Neil Gaughan, applauded his team and the border force for their efforts.

"This joint operation has identified and removed serious vulnerabilities from the Melbourne waterfront," Gaughan said in a statement.

The accused will appear in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Duchess Kate made a quick change from mingling with world leaders Tuesday to wearing boots and jeans Wednesday to help ring in the holiday season with kids.

The Duchess of Cambridge, a mom of three, joined kids at a Christmas tree farm outside of London to help them pick out trees to take back to their preschools and kindergartens.

Kate, decked out in a red puffer coat and green sweater, also helped the kids make Christmas decorations and eco-friendly reindeer food and send their letters to Santa Claus, according to Kensington Palace.

Kate's visit with kids at the "Elves Enchanted Forest" in Buckinghamshire was in support of Family Action, a U.K.-based charity that provides "practical, emotional and financial support to those who are experiencing poverty, disadvantage and social isolation," according to its website.

Kate, 37, was announced on Wednesday as the charity's royal patron, a role she is taking over from Queen Elizabeth II, who was patron of Family Action for 66 years.

Kate's support of the charity continues her focus on families and children, especially the early years of childhood. Just last month, Kate spent two days in the maternity ward of Kingston Hospital Maternity Unit in London to gain working experience.

The Duchess of Cambridge's festive Christmas outing with Family Action is also the latest sign she is fully in the holiday spirit.

Kate joined her husband Prince William to film a holiday special with British cooking legend Mary Berry slated to air on Dec. 16 at 8:30 p.m. on BBC One.

Kate and William were photographed wearing aprons alongside Berry, a former judge on "The Great British Bake Off."

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iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. military seized a "cache of weapons and advanced missile components" believed to be of Iranian origin in the northern Arabian Sea, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

The small vessel carrying the weapons, referred to as a dhow, was believed to be headed to Yemen, a U.S. official told ABC News, where the missile parts would likely support Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. The dhow carried dissembled part for anti-ship cruise missiles, land attack cruise missiles, air defense missiles and anti-tank missiles, the official said.

"On November 25th, a U.S. warship conducted a flag verification boarding in the Arabian sea in accordance with international law of what was subsequently determined to be a stateless vessel, and discovered a cache of weapons and advanced missile components," said Pentagon spokesperson Cmdr. Sean Robertson in a statement. "An initial investigation indicates that these advanced missile components are of Iranian origin. A more thorough investigation is underway."

The USS Forrest Sherman, a Navy destroyer, interdicted the dhow early last week in the northern Arabian Sea, and a U.S. Coast Guard boarding party seized the guided-missile parts, a second U.S. official said.

The dhow's crew was held aboard the U.S. destroyer while the missile components were transferred aboard the ship, that official said. The crew has already been released and given to Yemeni authorities, the first official said, but it's unclear where the dhow and crew were transferred.

On Wednesday morning, a top Pentagon official said that the U.S. continues to see "indications" that Iranian aggression could occur. That warning came one day after CNN reported that "fresh intelligence" showed there is a "potential Iranian threat against U.S. forces and interests in the Middle East," as evidenced by the movement of Iranian forces and weapons in the region.

"We also continue to see indications, and for obvious reasons I won't go into the details, that potential Iranian aggression could occur," Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood told a small group of reporters.

Rood said that in the aftermath of Iranian attacks over the summer -- attacks which targeted commercial ships, a Saudi oil facility and a U.S. drone -- the U.S. moved about 14,000 additional U.S. troops into the Middle East and "stepped up messaging" to Iran in order to discourage further attacks.

"Watch this space," he said. "I think we're going to be dynamic in our deployments, in our response and how we message. In private, you should know we've sent very clear and blunt signals to the Iranian government about the potential consequences of aggression."

The USS Abraham Lincoln carrier group was one of the U.S. assets rushed to the Middle East in May to deter what at the time appeared to be imminent threats to U.S. interests and forces in the region from Iran.

The carrier transited the Strait of Hormuz out of the Persian Gulf on Wednesday, after spending almost two weeks there. While in the Persian Gulf, the Lincoln made a port call in Bahrain, the first port visit during its Middle East deployment that is expected to come to an end soon with the expected arrival of the USS Harry S. Truman.

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Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images(LONDON) -- A video shot inside Buckingham Palace at the NATO reception on Tuesday has garnered mass attention on social media after people called into question a gesture between the queen and her daughter.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump shook hands and spoke with Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Phillip, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall while the queen's daughter, Princess Anne, was standing off to the side with the reception line.

In the clip, which has been viewed and shared by thousands on Twitter, the queen appeared to turn to Anne who shrugged in reply prompting the president to laugh.

Some considered the moment to be an awkward interaction or misunderstood moment, while others interpreted it as royal shade.

From comical to critical, here are a few of the mixed reactions on the internet.

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., chimed in on Twitter, writing, "What Princess Anne did was unnecessary and disrespectful."

Making an assumption w/o knowing the whole context of the interaction might not be accurate. For me, it's clear the Queen is done talking to @realDonaldTrump and gestures to move the line along. Princess Anne is next in line and doesn't want to step forward...and is respectful.

— @VoiceOfReason (@VoiceOf07623181) December 4, 2019

But others were quick to remind him that there is a standard operating procedure with reception lines.

"You're totally mis-reading the situation," one Twitter user replied. "Princess Anne's was more of a helpless 'what do you want me to do?' gesture."

Another echoed the sentiment and added that it's hard to make any assumption "without knowing the whole context of the interaction."

"It's clear the Queen is done talking to [President Trump] and gestures to move the line along. Princess Anne is next in line and doesn't want to step forward...and is respectful," the user said.

One reporter for The Times of London wrote a comprehensive thread with a hot take on whether Princess Anne snubbed Trump or not.

Whether the moment was "a mood" or a misunderstanding, it certainly got folks talking

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


EyeJoy/iStock(PARIS) --  Hateful tags that were found in the town hall of Schaffhouse-sur-Zorn, France, lead investigators to a Jewish cemetery 12 miles away where 107 graves were sprawled with anti-Semitic symbols, officials said.

Officials reported to the municipality on Tuesday where anti-Semitic tags and the word "Westhoffen" were displayed. Westhoffen is the location of a Jewish cemetery.

When police arrived to the graveyard, swastikas and the No. 14 -- a symbol used by white supremacists -- were sprayed on 107 graves, according to a press release issued by a spokesperson for the Lower-Rhine region.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner traveled to Westhoffen on Wednesday for a remembrance ceremony and announced the creation of a national anti-hate crime office within the gendarmerie that will be responsible for the investigation of hate crimes.

President Emmanuel Macron took to Twitter to express his support for the Jewish community as, yet, another racially-charged incident occurred against Jewish cemeteries in the country.

"Jews are and make France" and that "those who attack them, even in their graves, are not worthy of the idea we have of France," wrote Macron.

More than 90 graves in a Jewish cemetery in Quatzenheim were stained with anti-Semitic tags in February 2019. That incident followed a December 2018 incident where a cemetery in Herrlisheim was defaced.

These incidents contribute to the rise of anti-Semitic acts in France over the past couple years.

In 2018, anti-Semitic acts increased by 74%, where municipalities and schools have also been the targets, according to the France’s Interior Ministry.

In April 2019, racist and anti-Semitic tags were discovered on the walls of the town hall of Dieffenthal in Lower-Rhine, according to local media Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace. Anti-Semitic writings were also found in March 2019 in front of a school in Strasbourg.

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tunaly/iStock(LONDON) -- A dog in the United Kingdom inadvertently started a kitchen fire when it somehow managed to turn on a microwave in its owner’s home.

The husky who was home alone at the time of the incident turned on the microwave, which was positioned off the floor on the kitchen counter, which then ignited a bag of bread rolls that were being stored in the microwave at the time.

“Clearly, this is a very strange incident involving the man’s dog, but it could have been more serious,” said Geoff Wheal, Watch Manager at Corringham Fire Station in Stanford-Le-Hope, Essex.

The dog’s owner was not in the two-story home at the time of the incident but realized that smoke was filling the kitchen when he checked a camera feed on his phone that he had set up in the home.

“When we arrived, the kitchen was filled with smoke,” said Wheal in a statement. “Firefighters ensured that the damage did not spread beyond the kitchen area -- but it demonstrates that microwaves shouldn’t be used to store food when they aren’t in use.”

The Essex County Fire & Rescue Service used this bizarre incident to serve as a reminder to the public about safety hazards in the home.

“Our advice is to always keep your microwave clean and free of clutter or food and any packaging. Animals or children can turn them on more easily than you might think -- so please don’t run the risk,” they said in a statement.

The husky, who remains unnamed, was not harmed in the incident.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead(LONDON) — The 29-member bloc of NATO gathered in London to mark 70 years since its founding in 1949, a time of unease in Europe over the expansion of the Soviet Union after World War II.

Now the military alliance, originally made of 12 members, stretches from the U.S. across the Atlantic, right up to the border with Russia.

World leaders put on a show of unity at Buckingham Palace in central London on Tuesday, posing for the traditional "family photograph," with host Queen Elizabeth center stage, along with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on either side.

But amid the smiles, political fault lines and tensions underscoring disparate elements of the alliance was spilling out and threatening to overshadow the summit.

The 'brain-death' of NATO

Tensions between world leaders has been magnified during Turkey's incursion against the Kurds in Northern Syria in early October.

After a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Oct. 6 that Turkey was set to invade Syria and all U.S. forces were to be moved from the "immediate area."

Turkey considers Turkish forces -- namely the PKK and its Syrian counterpart the YPG -- as terrorist organizations.

British and French special forces were deployed in northern Syria with the Kurds -- and the announcement was met with initial confusion in Europe, as it became apparent that they had not been given advance warning.

French President Emmanuel Macron, in an hour-long interview with The Economist newspaper in late October, warned that Europe could no longer depend on America to defend its NATO allies, saying the alliance was suffering a "brain death" over the lack of coordination between member states.

In a shift of position, President Trump, who in his 2016 presidential campaign railed against NATO as "obsolete" and threatened U.S. funding, rebuked Macron as “very, very nasty” for his comments.

In a bilateral meeting with Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump said "You just can’t go around making statements like that about NATO."

Macron expressed continued concern on Tuesday over NATO's role in the conflict in Turkey.

“When I look at Turkey, they are now fighting against those who fought with us shoulder to shoulder against ISIS," Macron said ahead of the summit.

The threat in the East

Also at odds with European members is Turkey’s recent acquisition this summer of the Russian S-400 air defense system. The Europeans are concerned that having a Russian weapons system in Europe could make NATO military hardware -- such as stealth jets manufactured by U.S. defense firm Lockheed Martin -- susceptible to Russian military intelligence.

Just over a week before the NATO summit, Turkey began testing its Russian-purchased defense system with F-16 fighter jets.

As a response, the U.S. kicked Turkey off its F-35 fighter jet program, and warned of sanctions if it activated the system.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week’s tests were "concerning" but that Washington and Ankara were working to resolve the issue.

"We are still talking to the Turks, still trying to figure out our way through this thing," Pompeo said.

President Macron hinted on Tuesday that Turkey’s purchase of Russian hardware was at odds with being a member of NATO. "Technically it is not possible," he said.

The looming threat from Russia remained high on the agenda. Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking ahead of the summit, said that "NATO’s expansion and the development of its military infrastructure near the Russian border poses a potential threat to our national security."


#Putin: NATO’s expansion, the development of its military infrastructure near the Russian border, pose a potential threat to our national security. The technical overhaul of the Russian Armed Forces will remain the focus of our closest attention #NATO70

— Russia in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) December 3, 2019


"Therefore," he added, "I would like to note the technical overhaul of the Russian Armed Forces has been and will remain the focus of our closest attention."

NATO states on the European frontier with Russia have the most unease about Russian aggression. Last month, Reuters reported that Erdogan was blocking a NATO defense plan for the Baltics and Poland unless NATO agreed to formally class Syria’s Kurdish fighters as terrorists -- a move that has been rejected by France and the U.S.

But the secretary general dismissed questions on whether the alliance was fracturing, saying "Disagreements will always attract more attention than when we agree."

"We are 29 different counties, from both sides of the Atlantic, with different history, different geography, and different political parties in power. So of course there are differences. Anything else would be very strange," Stoltengerg said on Wednesday.

He added that "the strength of NATO is that we have always been able to overcome these differences."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead(LONDON) -- A candid moment caught on camera of Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau casually chatting with other world leaders has stirred speculation that the Canadian leader was mocking President Donald Trump, who in response called the Canadian leader "two-faced."

In video of a conversation with French President Emanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte during a reception Tuesday evening at Buckingham Palace, Johnson can be heard asking Macron, "Is that why you were late?"

Macron’s response is inaudible on the video, but Trudeau then chimes in with a remark.

"He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top," Trudeau says.

It is not clear who Trudeau is referring to, and Trump’s name is never specifically mentioned throughout the video of the captured conversation.

.@JustinTrudeau, @EmmanuelMacron, @BorisJohnson and other VIPs shared a few words at a Buckingham Palace reception Tuesday. No one mentions @realDonaldTrump by name, but they seem to be discussing his lengthy impromptu press conferences from earlier in the day. (Video: Host Pool)

— Power & Politics (@PnPCBC) December 3, 2019

Trudeau can later be heard saying, "You just watched his team's jaws drop to the floor."

Earlier in the day, Trump took reporters' questions for 39 minutes during a photo-op of his bilateral meeting with Macron. Later in the day, the president held a separate bilateral meeting with Trudeau, during which the president engaged with the press seated next to the Canadian prime minister for a half-hour.

Asked by ABC News if Trudeau was referring to Trump and to what the prime minister was discussing, Trudeau's office declined to comment.

On Wednesday morning, when a reporter asked Trump about the video, Trump called Trudeau "two-faced."

But then he added: "And honestly with Trudeau, he's a nice guy, I find him to be a very nice guy."

Trump said that he had "called him out on the fact that" Canada is spending less than 2 percent of its GDP on defense, to which NATO leaders had agreed and which Trump has made a signature issue.

"The truth is, I called him out on the fact that he's not paying 2 percent, and I guess he's not very happy about it," Trump said, adding: "So I called him out on that, and I'm sure he wasn't happy about it, but that's the way it is."

But as he sat next to Trudeau in front of reporters on Tuesday, Trump was asked if he was "happy with Canadian defense spending as it is right now," and said he was "satisfied" with Canada's increased levels of spending.

"Well, they’re moving up, and they’re moving up substantially," Trump said. "And they’re starting to do very well, economically. And that has something to do with it. And, yeah, they’re getting up to a level that's getting to be very acceptable. They have been under the 2 percent, obviously, but they’re moving up. We discuss it. I’m satisfied with it."

Trudeau's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Trump's most recent statements about the Canadian prime minister on Wednesday.

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nigelcarse/iStock(SEOUL, South Korea) -- Fledgling South Korean actor Cha In-ha was found dead by his manager at his home in Seoul Tuesday.

Cha is the third entertainment figure in South Korea to have died in just the last two months, following the deaths of K-pop stars Goo Hara on Nov. 24 and Sulli on Oct. 14.

Police are working to determine the cause of Cha's death as well as the time that he died.

"There was no suicide note left at the scene," a Suseo police representative told ABC News. "We cannot disclose any further details except for the fact that he died."

The 27-year-old made his debut two years ago as one of four new actors who released a digital mini-album, I DO, a project put together by his agency, Fantagio. The album failed to make it onto any music charts.

"We are devastated to deliver this heartbreaking news that actor Cha In-ha passed away on December 3rd," his agency Fantagio said in a statement.

Cha had recently been starring in the TV series Love With Flaws, in a supporting role.

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gilaxia/iStock(SEOUL, South Korea) -- Producers for a popular K-pop television audition show Produce 101 were indicted by the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office for business obstruction and fraud on Tuesday.

Produce 101 was a largely popular show on Mnet cable channel, owned by CJ ENM, the largest music entertainment network in South Korea. Four seasons went on air since 2016; Produce 101, Produce 101 Season 2, Produce 48 and Produce X 101.

The series successfully attracted viewers for its unique way of choosing winners. Television viewers had the privilege of judging contestants in every show by voting online. The final winners were chosen via online voting and mobile texting as well.

However, the show has now turned out to have had rigged voting results.

Ahn Joon-young, producer of all four Produce 101 series, and chief producer Kim Yong-beom allegedly fixed the final vote results to be favorable to specific participants, according to the prosecutors’ office.

Six others were indicted, including a producer for the program and five entertainment agency officials who are accused of bribing Ahn.

Ahn and Kim confessed the fabrication in contestant ranking for seasons 3 and 4 of the show during the investigation, according to Yonhap.

“We deeply apologize to viewers, fans, idol contestants and entertainment agency officials for arousing public criticism for the program. We are cooperating with the investigations and will take stern measures according to results,” Mnet said in an official statement regarding the case.

Investigators began looking into the vote-rigging allegations on the program after some fans raised doubts about the vote counts disclosed during the final competition of its most recent season this past July.

“I started having doubts when participants from large entertainment companies were shown more often on the show,” Jiyun Choi, who had attended the Produce 101 Season 2 boyband WannaOne’s concert this year, said.

“I felt like my efforts of daily voting was betrayed. I was thrilled to find out that the member I rooted for made the debut team, but now I don’t know if it was a fair game,” Yooji Jeong, who was a fan of all four Produce 101 series, told ABC News.

The high profile audition show has given life to popular K-pop groups, I.O.I, WannaOne, IZ*ONE and X1 but the latter two groups have stopped performing and touring as controversy has grown over the program.

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Ricky Deacon/iStock(LONDON) -- A dog in the United Kingdom inadvertently started a kitchen fire when it somehow managed to turn on a microwave in its owner’s home.

The husky who was home alone at the time of the incident turned on the microwave, which was positioned off the floor on the kitchen counter, which then ignited a bag of bread rolls that were being stored in the microwave at the time.

“Clearly, this is a very strange incident involving the man’s dog, but it could have been more serious,” said Geoff Wheal, Watch Manager at Corringham Fire Station in Stanford-Le-Hope, Essex.

The dog’s owner was not in the two-story home at the time of the incident but realized that smoke was filling the kitchen when he checked a camera feed on his phone that he had set up in the home.

“When we arrived, the kitchen was filled with smoke,” said Wheal in a statement. “Firefighters ensured that the damage did not spread beyond the kitchen area -- but it demonstrates that microwaves shouldn’t be used to store food when they aren’t in use.”

The Essex County Fire & Rescue Service used this bizarre incident to serve as a reminder to the public about safety hazards in the home.

“Our advice is to always keep your microwave clean and free of clutter or food and any packaging. Animals or children can turn them on more easily than you might think -- so please don’t run the risk,” they said in a statement.

The husky, who remains unnamed, was not harmed in the incident.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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