Magic Logo

93.1 HD-2
banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner

100.3 HD2 | Rocking Oldies
The Best Of The 60's & 70's
Infinite Menus, Copyright 2006, OpenCube Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Social Icons


ABC News World
Subscribe To This Feed

(NEW YORK) -- Rendered numb from the news of a devastating earthquake in his home country, it took just an hour before Tohid Najafi, a Detroit-based Iranian medical professional, launched a Facebook fundraiser.

The quake, which struck along the Iran-Iraq border on Nov. 13, was the deadliest earthquake of 2017, killing at least 530 people and leaving about 7,500 injured and tens of thousands with no homes or infrastructure.

Relying on over 63,000 members of his “Persian Americans” Facebook group, Najafi set up the personal fundraiser “Raise to Support the Victims of Earthquake in Iran,” with a goal of raising $110,000 from Nov. 13 to Dec. 13.

“I didn’t know if I could reach the goal, but I knew what I had to worry about the most was how to send money to Iran once it was raised,” Najafi told ABC News.

Sanctions against Iran have made banking transactions with the country very tough, especially, as nongovernmental organization (NGO) activists say, upon natural crises. According to the U.S. Treasury, Americans are not authorized “to transfer financial donations directly to Iran or nongovernmental organizations in Iran.” But experts say anyone can apply for the licence that allows transactions.

The day after the earthquake, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., referred to the horrific earthquake in Iran on Twitter, saying, “I hope and expect that the United States will assist in disaster relief efforts for Iran as we did in 2003 and 2012.”

The same day as the quake Najafi emailed the U.S. Treasury to apply for the required licence needed for doing transaction with Iran.

“I knew it would take time, but I hoped, regarding the situation, they would expedite my case,” he said.

The next morning he woke up to a surprise. His fundraiser had already raised $80,000 over about eight hours.

“I couldn’t believe it was happening, and at the same time I worried about the next step -- the transaction,” he said.

The response he got from the Treasury disappointed him.

Najafi was told he would need to receive approval for transactions by going through the process of getting a licence from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), a much longer and arduous process.

“It can take months. ... It is harder if you are an individual without much previous involvement in such efforts,” said Richard Nephew, a Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University, who formerly worked as Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy at the Department of State. Although Nephew confirmed consequences of the sanctions on the NGO activities, he said it is “proportional to the risks.”

The U.S. Treasury declined to comment on the specific licensing request, telling ABC News, “We encourage those who seek to assist with disaster recovery to donate through an established nongovernmental organization in order to ensure that they comply with OFAC regulations.”

Explaining the reason, the spokesperson added, “Elements within the government of Iran have a long track record of malign behavior, which includes a lack of transparency and inadequate controls on money laundering and terrorist financing.”

But identifying “established nongovernmental organizations” which comply with the OFAC is not something international donors would easily know how to do during breaking news.

“When there are a lot of doubts and suspicions involved, many may even give up donating,” said Milad Bakhshayesh, 27, an Iranian Ph.D student in economics at Columbia University, who made a donation via the Child Foundation on Facebook.

“It would be specifically tough for foreigners to trust and donate, with all the negative propaganda they hear about Iran.”

Speeding up donations

For Shiva Shahmohammadi, 28, speed should be the highest priority when it comes to donations after natural disasters.

“Fast donations can save lives,” she said.

Shahmohammadi is an Iranian journalism student at Illinois University, who moved to the U.S. last August.

“I still have my account inside Iran and used that to help,” she said. “But that would be a challenge for the international donors without a local account there.”

It was bittersweet when Najafi realized his fundraiser hit $200,000 on just the second day.

“It was great, but it was a huge responsibility, too, as donors wanted their money to be sent quickly,” he said.

Najafi reached out to Facebook for help -- but, to his surprise, Facebook shut down the fundraiser with no explanation.

“I was totally confused, shocked and disappointed,” Najafi said. “Some donors got angry. Some even thought I was a fraud.”

Najafi said his first impression was that Facebook shut down the fundraiser due to the sanctions. But the case had another turn.

As Facebook explained, the problem was money had to be raised for a nonprofit, while Najafi’s campaign had been a personal one.

Meanwhile, Najafi received messages from some NGOs active in the earthquake-hit zones in Iran telling him they could receive and send the money to Iran on behalf of his campaign. Mothers Against Poverty was one of them. The San Francisco Bay area-based nonprofit is active in providing aid and infrastructure in many countries, and is one of the few NGOs that can transfer money to Iran.

But Najafi no longer had access to the fund -- it was with Facebook.

Coming through

When Facebook wrote to Najafi on Nov. 16, asking him to discuss the case, he eagerly accepted.

While Facebook had to return the contributions back to the donors, based on its internal regulations and its security policies, the social network decided to make a donation of the same amount on behalf of the campaign.

“We refunded all donors and made a $200,000 donation to Dr. Tohid Najafi's nonprofit of choice ... to honor the amount and spirit of what the community intended with his fundraiser,” a Facebook spokesperson told ABC News.

Najafi was thrilled with the news.

“Finally I had some good news to tell my donors,” he said.

All he needed to do was to introduce a nonprofit to Facebook to receive the donation. Mothers Against Poverty was the obvious choice.

“Despite all the bad news we were getting from people’s suffering in Iran,” said Delfarib Fanaie, cofounder of Mothers Against Poverty. “Facebook’s measure was a heartwarming move.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Navy has called off search and rescue efforts for three missing sailors who were on board a C-2A “Greyhound” transport aircraft two days after it crashed into the Philippine Sea.

During the two-day search for the missing crew members, eight U.S. Navy and JMSDF ships, three helicopter squadrons, and maritime patrol aircraft were deployed to search over 1,000 square nautical miles. Initially, eight crew members were rescued about 40 minutes after the aircraft crashed.

The Navy tweeted that the victims were recovered and “transferred to #USSRonaldReagan for medical evaluation and are in good condition.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with our lost shipmates and their families,” Rear Adm. Marc Dalton, Commander, Task Force 70, said in a statement Wednesday, with news of the search being called off. "As difficult as this is, we are thankful for the rapid and effective response that led to the rescue of eight of our shipmates, and I appreciate the professionalism and dedication shown by all who participated in the search efforts.”

President Donald Trump also tweeted Wednesday, “We are monitoring the situation. Prayers for all involved.”

The Navy has withheld the missing sailors’ names until their next of kin have been notified.

The C-2A twin-propeller airplane was transporting passengers and cargo from Japan to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier as a part of a joint exercise between the U.S. and Japanese navies.

The Japan-based 7th Fleet has experienced two other fatal incidents in the last six months. In June, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine container ship killing 7 sailors. Two months later in August, the USS McCain collided with a merchant ship killing 10 crew members.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe, the Iranian-British dual citizen who is in jail in Tehran, has been informed by Iranian authorities that she will have a second trial on Dec. 10 on the charge of “spreading propaganda,” her husband Richard Ratcliffe told ABC News.

This latest development has dashed her husband's hopes of seeing his wife back in the U.K. anytime soon. It's just one more bump in the road, following comments made by British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson earlier this month that many observers feel jeopardized Nazanin's chance of a release.

The 38-year-old mother-of-one has been detained and imprisoned since April 2016, and is now serving a five-year jail sentence on a charge of attempts to topple the Iranian government by training journalists, a charge that she and her family denied.

Now, the news of a second trial and the possibility of extending her sentence have worried her and her family. "She was angry and upset," her husband told ABC News Thursday. "To us, court cases have always meant more charges and long sentences."

Nazanin, who had come to the U.K. from Iran to pursue her studies, made a second home in London, became a British citizen and married her husband, a British accountant.

As a project manager at Thomson Reuters Foundation, Nazanin was in charge of “administrative tasks (and) setting up workshops for journalists. Never in Iran,” Antonio Zappulla, chief operating officer of the foundation told ABC News. "She isn’t a journalist and she never trained a single journalist."

In April 2016, when she wanted to leave for Britain with her 22-month-old daughter, Gabriella, she was arrested at the airport in Tehran. The pair were on the way back home after a two-week visit to the country for the Iranian New Year.

Gabriella’s British passport was confiscated, and she has been living with her grandmother since then.

In September 2016, Nazanin was sentenced to five years in prison on the charge of attempting to topple the Iranian government by training journalists.

According to Mizan, the official news agency of Iran’s judiciary, Nazanin’s first arrest was related to her activities as a member of an “illegal team” who used to promote propaganda to “damage Iran’s national security” back in 2009 in the riots after the 10th presidential election in Iran.

Charges included “teaching journalists how to use pseudo-emails, make long complicated passwords and how to use encrypting programs,” said Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, according to an Oct. 17 report from the Iranian semi-official Mehr News Agency.

However, on Nov. 1, the case came on the spotlight again when British Foreign Minister Johnson surprised everyone at the House of Commons by saying that Nazanin has been teaching journalism in Iran.

"She was simply teaching people journalism, as I understand it, at the very limit," Johnson said.

Johnson’s statements angered Nazanin and her family and the public minds in the U.K., as it could be dangerous to her case.

Iranian state TV called Johnson’s statements “confessions” revealing Nazanin’s real intention of her visits to Iran. While her final sentence had been issued and she was serving her term, she was summoned to another court session and threatened of increasing her imprisonment.

It led to pressures against Johnson to resign for the risk of increasing Nazanin’s imprisonment. However, Richard Ratcliffe disagreed that his resignation could help his wife’s case. Instead, he met with the minister for the first time after his wife’s arrest and asked Johnson to take him to Iran in his planned diplomatic visit to Tehran before the end of the New Year.

“I hope I can join the minister in this visit and I hope I can have my wife in the seat next to me on the way back,” Richard told ABC News, before hearing the news of the second trial yesterday.

But that hope is gone now, he told ABC News, after hearing the news of the second trial.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Argentina Navy/EPA(NEW YORK) --  Family members of the 44 sailors aboard a missing Argentine sub were told that their loved ones were believed to be dead, one of the family members told ABC News Thursday.

Itati Leguizamon, whose husband German Suarez was aboard the ARA San Juan, said the families had been given the grim news.

Outside the ship's destination in Mar del Plata, where family members gathered, a brother of one of the missing sailors was heard screaming "They killed my brother!"

The news came as Argentine naval officials said that a sound that was detected during the desperate search for the sub, which vanished last week in the South Atlantic Ocean, was consistent with an explosion.

The vessel was last heard from Nov. 15 and officials feared that it would run out of oxygen soon.

According to the Argentine navy officials, the sound, described as "consistent with a non-nuclear explosion" that was "abnormal, singular, short, violent" was detected just three hours after the last known communication.

The sound, which occurred about 270 miles east of the Gulf of San Jorge in the southern part of the country, was picked up by U.S. sensors and international agencies that are capable of detecting nuclear explosions.

According to the officials the site of the detected noise has a radius of 77 miles and a possible depth of approximately 650-10,000 feet.

The officials do not believe the sound resulted from an attack or terrorism and said there was an indication on the morning of the last known communication of an electrical fault in the vessel.

According the officials, there would not be a debris field because an explosion at that depth would be considered an implosion.

Rescuers had been searching a 186,000 square mile area off the coast and rough weather had hampered their efforts.

The vessel had been en route to Mar del Plata from a base in Ushia, Argentina.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Five hundred students stand in front of the school's main gate. With determined attitude, they take off their school uniform jackets, raise their fists in the air and, with all their might, yell as loud as they can. Their voices together form a loud thunder. But this eye-catching performance is not a prep rally for a football or basketball game -- it's South Korea's annual event to cheer on students who take the college entrance exam.

As part of the country's tradition, on the day before the national exam, high schools in South Korea throw exuberant ceremonies to cheer up students who leave for the exam. The eve of the exam is considered an important part of test preparation. Students check out their seats at the exam site so they won’t get lost on the biggest day of their lives.

South Korea is a competitive country where nearly 70 percent of high school graduates enter college. This year, nearly 590,000 students sat for Thursday's exam -- officially called the College Scholastic Ability Test -- that will most likely determine their paths to a successful career.

Due to its grave importance, the whole country pays sharp attention to make sure there is no interference in the exam. Even airplane landings and departures are held back during the hours of English listening tests to prevent any fuss. The country's stock market even opens late.

This year, the college entrance exam was delayed a week for safety concerns. A series of earthquakes hit the southeastern part of Korea on the eve of exam leading to the first postponement in the exam’s 24-year existence.

Cheering ahead of this year’s examination was extra loud to give test takers more emotional support.

High school sophomores and juniors in South Korea cheer for their seniors in various ways. There are flags and chants in each school to reflect their school tradition and characteristics. Among those, Joongdong High School’s event is famous for being the biggest and the loudest.

Student council members play a key role in managing this cheering. The chants and routines go on for 30 minutes. The highlight of this once-a-year event is when they form a huge circle together and roll their feet on the ground for the final chant. After that, most of them are soaked in sweat despite the sub-freezing temperatures.

First graders in Joongdong High school volunteer to cheer for the seniors. At the beginning of a fall semester, student council members put up a notice to recruit those who want to participate in this traditional event upheld for more than a decade. For months, these students give up their lunch breaks just to practice chants and routines.

"Students come up with cheer routines to pass on the positive energy to seniors taking the exam," said Minha Kim, representative of the student council at Joongdong High School.

As senior students pass by the enthusiastic cheering, teachers wait in front of the main gate. They give warm hugs and words of encouragement to ready their pupils for the big day. This elaborate cheering tradition is not only meaningful for the students themselves, but also teachers and parents. Some parents even light candles and pray for the success of their children on the exams.

"Students take high pride in this cheering for seniors," said Hong-ju Kim, whose son takes the exam this year. "My son was one of the sophomores cheering, and now he’s taking the exam. It is very touching."

The fervent longing for their school seniors to excel on the exams continues until the actual day of the examination. Excited and nervous at the same time, the cheering squad gather on the eve of the test day and wait overnight in front of the designated exam sites to greet seniors early in the morning from the best spot.

"I was moved by the cheering in front of the gate," said Jun-yong Lee, a senior at Joongdong High School taking the college entrance exam this year. "The cheers gave me strength and I want to do well on the exam to not let them down."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(SEOUL, South Korea) -- Hospital records from a young North Korean soldier who defected earlier this month offer telling details about health problems in the closed country.

The soldier had both parasitic infections and a dangerous hepatitis infection -- conditions that speak to the poor sanitation and rough conditions those in the hermit nation experience on a day-to-day basis.

The most shocking details, perhaps, are the reports of large parasitic worms, some measuring 11 inches, recovered from the 24-year-old’s intestines.

“An estimated five million people in North Korea have intestinal roundworms, that’s 20 percent of the population,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor.

Doctors found the parasites -- likely Ascaris roundworms -- when repairing intestinal damage from multiple bullet wounds the soldier sustained during his escape. The eggs of these worms are frequently found in the soil, especially in developing countries that use human waste as an inexpensive fertilizer. Once inside the body, these eggs hatch to form larvae, eventually developing into large, mature worms that infect the small intestine. They can reach lengths of more than 13 inches.

But despite the size of these creatures, Ascaris roundworm infections may not be accompanied by noticeable symptoms. However, Hotez said they can lead to malnutrition in those infected. In children, this can lead to developmental delays and short stature.

"Instead of feeding the kid, you’re feeding the worms," said Hotez. "They rob children of nutrition."

Multiple large worms in an infected person, however, can also cause intestinal blockages, and these worms can travel to the nearby liver, gallbladder, or pancreas and cause damage and inflammation to these organs as well, Hotez said.

While dramatic in appearance, roundworm infections are easy to treat, generally requiring only a single dose of anti-parasitic medication.

Likewise, another parasitic worm infection the soldier reportedly had, Toxocara, is also fairly easily treated. Toxocara is a parasite similar to Ascaris, though it is normally found in the intestines of dogs and cats; the worms do not usually grow as large in the intestines of humans. The larvae of these parasites often migrate to other organs in the body –- often the liver, brain, lungs and eyes –- causing damage to the affected organs.

But even more problematic than these parasitic infections are reports that the soldier was also infected with hepatitis B, a viral infection of the liver that can lead to life-threatening cirrhosis if untreated.

The soldier is just the latest case report of health problems among hundreds of other refugees and defectors from North Korea. Past reports have shown that many who have successfully fled suffer from these maladies, as well as tuberculosis, a common and frequently difficult to treat lung infection.

Studies comparing North Korean defectors to other refugee populations found they were more likely to be underweight -- and another estimated that about one-third of North Korean children under the age of 5 is malnourished. Dental and vision problems, such as cataracts, are also frequently reported.

Though the reclusive nature of the country limits what is known about its active and ongoing health problems, Hotez said these health issues are common to other places in the world that face devastating economic conditions.

“These are not unique to North Korea,” he said. “These are all infections that are extremely common in the poorest parts of Asia. Toxocara is found in poor neighborhoods in the United States, as well.”

Worm eradication programs were successfully implemented in South Korea following the Korean War, Hotez added, and pharmaceutical companies have been willing to donate global supply of anti-parasitic drugs to countries in need.

Other conditions afflicting North Koreans, such as hepatitis B, are completely preventable through vaccination programs.

But North Korea's tense political and economic relations with other countries makes assessing, and attempting to eradicate, these conditions in the country complicated.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(SEOUL, South Korea) -- The North Korean soldier who was captured on video defecting to the South is enjoying watching South Korean music videos and the American movie "Transformers 3," his doctor says.

The 24-year-old defector, identified only by his last name, Oh, was shot at least five times by North Korean guards before he made it past the demarcation line on Nov. 13. But Oh is "not going to die," Lee Cook-jong, the lead surgeon who operated on the defected soldier, said at a press conference Wednesday.

The United Nations Command in control of the border between the two Koreas released dramatic video footage that shows Oh speeding south in a Jeep, before getting out and running from North Korean soldiers who open fire on him. Oh was later dragged to freedom by South Korean soldiers after being shot.

Oh has been in the North Korean military for eight years, at times working as a vehicle driver. After being rescued, he was immediately transported to Ajou Hospital in Suwon, south of Seoul, where he underwent two critical surgeries. He has since fully regained consciousness and confessed that he defected to the south on his own will, Lee said.

An emergency surgery took place just 30 minutes after Oh arrived at the hospital. The second surgery followed two days later, when surgeons removed five bullets from his body. Lee explained that Oh will be able to leave the intensive care unit as early as this weekend, but it could take over a month until the patient is ready for in-depth interviews, he said.

The medical team discovered parasitic worms in the man's intestines. He is also under examination for signs of post-traumatic stress disorder and is suffering from tuberculosis as well as chronic hepatitis, according to Lee.

Lee told reporters Oh is still shy and reticent. Hospital staff do not allow Oh to watch news programming in fear of triggering PTSD. Instead, they have played three K-pop music videos for Oh, including a song called "Gee" by the girl group Girls' Generation, which Oh liked, according to Lee.

Oh has also been watching Korean TV, particularly the movie channel, including the third installment of "Transformers." He likes watching the American crime drama series "CSI" as well as films starring American actors Jim Carrey and Morgan Freeman, Lee said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Masfiqur Sohan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described the violence against the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar's Rakhine state as ethnic cleansing for the first time on Wednesday.
Tillerson did not use the term during his brief visit to Myanmar's capital, Naypyidaw, on Nov. 15, deciding only after visiting and analyzing the situation to describe the situation that way.

What does declaring the violence ethnic cleansing do in effect?

In reality, the new descriptor does not immediately accomplish much. Ethnic cleansing is a term that is not legally defined by U.S. or international law. A declaration does not trigger any sort of obligation or consequence.

For now, State Department officials said they are looking into targeted sanctions against individuals who may have carried out violence if the specific allegations can be confirmed. Some sanctions placed on Burma in 1998 due to anti-democratic activities of a military junta were lifted in 2016.

State officials said they expect the determination to "increase pressure" on the civilian government and military in Myanmar to reach an agreement on repatriating the 600,000 or so Rohingya who have fled as refugees into neighboring Bangladesh.

Who is perpetrating the ethnic cleansing?

Though ethnic cleansing has been declared, the perpetrator has not been defined as the Myanmar military. State Department officials said there are a number of "potential sources" of conflict, including both military forces and vigilante groups.

What will happen to the victims of the violence?

The State Department is focusing on returning the Rohingya who have fled to Bangladesh as refugees back to their homes. Even still, officials acknowledge that repatriating even a few hundred Rohingya per day would mean the process could last for years -- a huge logistical challenge at this point. The department will focus on voluntary repatriation, meaning they realize many Rohingya might not want to return to their former homes.

Last week, Tillerson announced an additional $47 million in humanitarian assistance for those affected, bringing the total amount spent to aid the victims since August of last year to $87 million.

Why aren't broader sanctions being imposed?

Broader sanctions remain a challenge, as State Department officials are wary of hindering the fragile civilian government in Myanmar, which has shared power with the military as laid out in the Burmese Constitution about 18 months ago. Transition of power to the fledgling civilian government is a delicate process and could benefit all the persecuted civilian groups in Myanmar -- if it can be accomplished.

What is Aung San Suu Kyi doing about the crisis?

The State Department had little to say about the role of the de facto civilian leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, who many have criticized for not doing enough to stem the violence. State Department officials look to Suu Kyi's leadership but did not lay out a specific goal or role for her to play.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A U.S. Navy aircraft with 11 passengers and crew crashed into the Philippine Sea on Wednesday on its return to the USS Ronald Reagan, according to the Navy's 7th Fleet. Eight of the 11 have been rescued and are in good condition, the Navy said.

Search and rescue efforts continue for the other three people onboard the aircraft when it went down.

The crash, which took place about 500 nautical miles (575 miles) southeast of Okinawa, Japan, happened at 2:45 p.m. local time, which is 12:45 a.m. ET.

The USS Ronald Reagan is conducting search and rescue operations, the Navy said.

The cause of the crash is unknown.

The Navy said the C2-A aircraft was conducting "a routine transport flight carrying passengers and cargo from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to USS Ronald Reagan."

The USS Ronald Reagan is currently operating in the Philippine Sea. The ship was taking part in Annual Exercise 2017 (AE17), a bilateral field-training exercise with the Japanese Navy conducted in waters off Japan from Nov. 16 to Nov. 26.

It is one of three carriers currently operating in the area, along with the USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt. They took part in a military exercise a little over a week ago as a show of strength toward North Korea.

The accident is the latest in a series of disasters in 2017 for the 7th Fleet, which is stationed in Japan. In January, the USS Antietam ran aground off the coast of Japan, damaging its propellers and spilling oil into the water. The USS Lake Champlain collided with South Korean fishing boat on May 9.

Seven U.S. sailors were killed when the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine-flagged container ship in the middle of the night off the coast of Yokosuka on June 17.

And the deadliest accident came on Aug. 21, when 10 U.S. sailors were killed when the USS John S. McCain collided with commercial vessel Alnic MC in waters east of Singapore, according to the Navy.

The commander of the 7th Fleet was removed of his command in late August following the USS John S. McCain accident. Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin was relieved of duty due to a "loss of confidence in his ability to command," according to the Navy.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The United Nations Command in control of the border between the two Koreas released dramatic video footage on Tuesday of what happened when a North Korean solider defected to the South earlier this month.

The video shows the defector speeding south in a Jeep, before getting out, pursued by North Korean soldiers who open fire on the man, and later dragged to freedom by South Korean soldiers after being shot at least five times.

The surveillance video also showed one of the North Korean guards step across the demarcation line, a violation of the ceasefire agreement, while chasing and shooting after the defector as he ran for freedom.

The 24-year-old defector, identified only by his last name, Oh, is shown driving a four-wheel military jeep along a road on the northern side of the border toward the South. It approaches a white building, a checkpoint under North Korean control, then passes by the building at full speed after turning on its headlights.

A North Korean guard is seen running after the vehicle as it drives across a bridge and then passes a memorial to North Korean founder Kim Il Sung. This memorial is a well-known tourist spot for visitors to the Joint Security Area (JSA) inside the demilitarized zone.

The jeep appears to run into a ditch just a few feet away from a white demarcation line officially separating the two Koreas. After failed attempts to free the vehicle, the defector jumps out and sprints for his life toward the South. But North Korean armed guards who had hurried to the jeep fire shots behind the defector. The dramatic moment is shown in the video when he succeeds in running past the demarcation line then falls on the side of a concrete wall controlled by the South Korean side.

The United Nations Command also released infrared video images of how the allied soldiers carefully crawled toward the defector lying on a pile of fallen leaves, and drag him to safety.

"After thoroughly reviewing the investigation results, I assess the actions taken by the UNC Security Battalion were in a manner that is consistent with the Armistice Agreement, namely -- to respect the Demilitarized Zone and to take actions that deter a resumption of hostilities," Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, the UNC commander, said in a statement. "The armistice agreement was challenged, but it remains in place."

Violation of the armistice agreement

Analysis of the video shows that North Korea violated the armistice agreement by firing weapons across the military demarcation line (MDL) and actually crossing the line temporarily, according to Chad Carroll, Director of Public Affairs for the UNC.

Signed in 1953 by the U.N., North Korea and China, the Armistice Agreement put an end to the Korean War that stretched on for three years. The agreement states, "Neither side shall execute any hostile act within, from, or against the demilitarized zone. No person, military or civilian, shall be permitted to cross the military demarcation line unless specifically authorized to do so by the Military Armistice Commission."

Although North Korea has announced its withdrawal from the agreement repeatedly since then, the U.N. has continuously argued that it is still in effect. The open fire across the demilitarized zone and crossing of the MDL shown in the video is therefore taken as a provocative violation of the ceasefire designed to ensure peace in the peninsula.

The North Korean Army was notified of these violations on Wednesday through communication channels in Panmunjom, a village just north of the border. The UNC personnel have also requested a meeting to discuss the investigation results and measures to prevent further transgressions.

North Korea is yet to comment on the defected soldier or the violation of the agreement.

Medical condition

Despite being shot at least five times, the soldier is "not going to die," Lee Cook-jong, the lead surgeon who operated on the defected soldier, told press on Wednesday.

Oh regained consciousness and confessed that he defected to the south on his own will. The 24-year-old has been in the military for eight years, at times working as a vehicle driver. Hospital staff played three K-pop music videos to Oh, which he liked, said Lee. Lately he has been watching Korean TV, especially the movie channel, including the Hollywood action film "Transporter 3." Lee told reporters that they do not play the news for the patient in fear of a post-traumatic stress syndrome, and added that Oh is still shy and reticent.

Immediately after the rescue, the North Korean soldier was quickly transported to Ajou Hospital in Suwon, south of Seoul. He has fully regained consciousness after withstanding two critical surgeries. An emergency surgery took place on Nov. 13, just 30 minutes after he arrived at the hospital. The second surgery followed two days later, when surgeons removed five bullets from his body. Lee explained that Oh will be able to leave the intensive care unit as early as this weekend. It could take over a month until the patient is ready for in-depth interviews.

After the first surgery, there were reports that parasitic worms were found in the young man's small intestines, demonstrating poor hygiene in North Korea. The medical team discovered that the patient is suffering from a chronic hepatitis. The defector is also under examination for signs of post-traumatic stress

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Argentine Navy(BUENOS AIRES, Argentina) -- The search for a missing Argentine submarine is entering the "critical" stage, the country's navy said Tuesday.

The ARA San Juan, which is carrying 44 crew members on board, was last heard from last Wednesday. Searchers continued Tuesday to search an area of over 186,000 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean off Argentina where it is thought the San Juan vanished.

Assuming the ship surface before its last-known communication last Wednesday, tomorrow would mark its seventh day underwater and oxygen will soon be running out, an Argentine navy spokesperson said Tuesday.

Weather conditions have been rough in the region, hampering the search. Conditions are expected to improve Wednesday and be excellent for searching. But the window of good weather is narrow: Conditions will again worsen on Thursday.

Four thousand people from seven countries are working around the clock on the search efforts, the navy said.

The submarine went missing while traveling from a base in Ushia, Argentina, on South America’s southern tip, to its home base of Mar del Plata, farther north. It was last heard from about 275 miles off the San Jorge Gulf in southern Argentina, according to the navy.

In Mar del Plata, relatives of the missing sailors congregated and waited for updates on Monday.
Twice, Argentine navy officials have dashed hopes some sign of life may had come from the vessel -- once on Saturday, and then again on Tuesday.

A brother of a machinist on the submarine suddenly interrupted an interview with ABC News Tuesday to say he had to tend to the wife of the machinist, Fernando Mendoza.

"I have to run," said the brother, Carlos Mendoza, on Monday. "My sister-in-law just fainted in her room in the base."

Marcela Tagliapetra, a relative of another sailor aboard the submarine, said she felt despair.

“We are waiting for good news so we can have something to celebrate,” she told ABC News Monday. “We are going to get it. We are sure that we are going to get it.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Mobile gangs using mostly stolen mopeds and scooters have been terrorizing London, committing robberies and attacks on people walking along city streets, police say.

London’s Metropolitan police say that up to 50,000 crimes have been committed a year by mobs on these vehicles; about 1,500 mopeds or scooters are stolen and 2,500 thefts carried out on them every month.

The two-wheeled vehicles are agile and enable criminals to easily smash and grab items from victims. Many times, they mount sidewalks to grab items from pedestrians, then make quick getaways.

Police say the crimes are two-fold: Scooters are stolen and then used to commit crimes. The vehicles are often stolen from areas of Outer London and used to commit robberies in the affluent Central London neighborhoods.

The dangers posed by these gangs coming in close contact with the public has made it difficult for the police to chase them.”

The police said they are employing new tactics to defeat this latest crime wave. They include using remote control spikes, DNA-tagging sprays and slimmer police motorcycles.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Getty Images/Chris Jackson(LONDON) -- Meghan Markle has arrived in London to spend time with Prince Harry after finishing shooting on her television show "Suits."

The actress, 36, was spotted shopping in London’s Chelsea neighborhood on Tuesday.

Markle has joined Harry in his two-bedroom home at Nottingham Cottage located just behind Prince William and Princess Kate's apartment in Kensington Palace.

Now that Markle has completed her acting commitment to the TV series, it is expected she will move in with Harry full-time and leave Toronto, the city that has been her home base.

The couple is expected to spend the Thanksgiving holiday together as they begin the next chapter of their relationship.

Markle's arrival ahead of the holidays has sparked speculation that an engagement announcement is imminent.

In September, Markle made her first official appearance alongside Prince Harry attending the wheelchair tennis match at the Invictus Games, the Paralympic competition for wounded service members that was founded by Harry in 2014. Several days later, Markle’s mother joined the couple in a luxury box for the the Invictus Games closing ceremony in Toronto.

Royal watchers point to the inclusion of Markle’s mother at such a high-profile event as a sign that an engagement was no longer a matter of if but when.

Markle first publicly declared her love for Harry when she appeared on the October issue of Vanity Fair magazine.

"I can tell you that at the end of the day, I think it's really simple," Markle told the magazine. "We're two people who are really happy and in love."

ABC News' royal contributor Victoria Murphy said the article "shows the strength" of Harry's and Markle's relationship.

"She would have had permission from Kensington Palace to give the [Vanity Fair] interview," Murphy said. "It definitely shows the strength of their relationship and her confidence in their love."

In August, the couple traveled to Africa together on a three-week holiday to celebrate Markle's 36th birthday in Botswana before a romantic visit to Victoria Falls.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

(BANGALORE, India) -- iStock/ThinkstockThe Indian Army said this week that 58 of its personnel had crammed onto a single, moving motorcycle in an attempt to break the world record.

The stunt took place in the suburb of Bangalore, India, and the men were dressed in the colors of the Indian flag.

The riders, who are members of a team called the Tornadoes, performed the feat at the Yelahanka Air Force Station, according to Indian network NDTV.

They have performed worldwide for decades, and in 2010 put 56 men on a moving motorcycle, according to NDTV.

Their attempt on Sunday turned out to be a success.


Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Sean Gallup/Getty Images(BERLIN) -- Months after being hailed by media as the new leader of the free world, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing the greatest political crisis of her 12 years in office. The breakdown of coalition talks leaves the country in a state of uncertainty, which many fear could provide an opening for the far right.

Weeks of preliminary discussions about building a coalition of several political parties in Germany collapsed on Sunday night. The breakdown came after the head of the free-market liberal FDP left the talks, citing a lack of trust among the parties.

"We believed we were on a path where we could have reached an agreement," Merkel said addressing the press with her trademark cool composure.

She said she regretted the breakdown of the talks and pledged to lead the country through "a difficult time."

The parties involved — Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Green Party and the Free Democrats (FDP) — had high hopes for what they referred to as the Jamaica coalition, named for the parties’ colors, which match the Jamaican flag’s.

The failure signals a rocky path ahead for Merkel while raising the possibility that new elections will be held in 2018, in which the far right could make further gains.

What went wrong?

Considering their disparate policy positions, the coalition had formidable challenges to find common ground. The parties diverge significantly on energy and immigration policy and missed several self-imposed deadlines to reach agreements during discussions.

"It is better not to govern than to govern falsely," the head of the FDP, Christian Lindner, told reporters after leaving the negotiating table shortly before midnight on Sunday. In a statement released by his party, he cited irreconcilable differences and a lack of trust among the parties.

Lindner has already come under fire for what some critics are calling an ego-driven decision. Green Party lawmaker Reinhard Butikofer tweeted that Lindner "has chosen his own brand of populist agitation over political responsibility."

The options for Merkel now

Merkel's conservative block can choose to continue talks with the Greens to form a minority coalition, which she would lead.

Alternatively, Merkel could also attempt to court the second-biggest party, the SPD, to form a second consecutive grand coalition. However, the SPD is still reeling from unexpected losses in September's federal elections, and its acting head, Martin Schultz, reiterated on Sunday night that the party's role in the parliament will most certainly be in the opposition.

If coalition negotiations fail, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier may set in motion a complicated process to dissolve the current parliament and call fresh elections in 2018, with Merkel acting as interim chancellor.

Concerns about new elections

During a press conference after meeting with Merkel on Monday morning, Steinmeier seemed to downplay the possibility of holding new elections. Instead, he reminded parties of their responsibility to form a government, saying he expected "all parties to be ready to enter discussions." He called on his party, the SPD, to take one for Team Germany, as well as the CDU, CSU, Greens and FDP.

But there was one party that Steinmeier did not include in his call to action: the far-right populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. AfD is the first far-right party to enter government since the Nazi era, and all the other parties have pledged not to govern with it.

To the shock of many, AfD won 12.6 percent of the vote in September, making it the third-largest party in the new parliament. It won 27 percent of the vote in Saxony, making it the most popular party in the state.

Many are concerned that voters may be more skeptical of the establishment after these failed coalition negotiations, which could result in more votes for AfD.

Merkel told German broadcaster ARD on Monday that she was very "skeptical" about ruling with a minority government and said she would stand as a candidate again in 2018 if elections take place.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Magic 93.1 HD2 / 100.9 Now Playing!
Kdixie 100.3 HD2 Now Playing
Phone Apps

The Magic 100.9



Phone Apps Are Available

Now!  Free Of Charge.

Go To The Android Or Apple Store

And Do A Search.


State News
Entertainment News
LinkedUpRadio Envisionwise Web Services