World
Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) -- President Donald Trump may have written the book on deal-making, but when it comes to the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, it appears he won’t be getting the bargain he wanted.

Documents filed with the official database of federal spending show that the State Department awarded the Maryland-based company Desbuild Limak D&K a contract for $21.2 million to design and build an “addition and compound security upgrades” at the embassy. These updates will be made to the former consular building in Jerusalem -- the embassy’s temporary location.

“We’re going to have it built very quickly and very inexpensively,” President Trump said of the embassy back in March, while sitting beside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office. “They put an order in front of my desk last week for a billion dollars. I said, ‘A billion? What’s that for?’”

“We’re actually doing it for about $250,000,” the president said.

Trump’s comments created confusion at the time, as many wondered if he was conflating the costs for modifying the consulate and the price for constructing a new embassy. But President Trump doubled down on most of his claims at an April press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, raising his estimate for the renovation to between $300,000 and $400,000.

“That’s the way government works,” Trump said. “They were going to spend a billion dollars and we are going to spend much less than a half a million.”

While the total bill may not be near the billion dollar mark yet, the expenses are adding up. In addition to the $21.2 million allotted for the next phase of upgrades, the government has already spent over $300,000 on initial modifications to the former consular building prior to opening the embassy in May.

The embassy’s 33 mile move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has racked up both costs and controversy, prompting weeks of protests from Palestinians and violent clashes with Israeli troops. Some world leaders, like Netanyahu, have praised Trump’s decision. Others have said it would contribute to instability in the region and further stoke conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, as both claim the city as their capital.

Previously, the United States and most other countries with diplomatic ties to Israel have avoided pre-empting any decision on the city’s official status by basing their operations in Tel Aviv. Formally recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was one of Trump’s 2016 campaign promises.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(JOHANESSBURG) -- Despite the "strange and uncertain" times President Barack Obama says we're living in he still believes in "a vision of equality and justice and freedom" he said in a speech on Tuesday to commemorate the late Nelson Mandela – Obama's first visit to Africa since leaving office.

"I believe in a vision of equality and justice and freedom and multiracial democracy built on the premise that all people are created equal," Obama said. "They are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. I believe that a world governed by such principle is possible and it can achieve more peace and more cooperation in pursuit of a common good. That’s what I believe. I believe we have no choice but to move forward. Madiba shows that those of use who believe in freedom in democracy, we’re going to have to fight harder to reduce inequality and promote lasting economic opportunity for all people.”

The speech falls on the day before Mandela’s 100th birthday and is part of the series of events the Nelson Mandela Foundation has planned for the milestone. Before the lecture, Mandela's wife, Graça Machel, told the crowd of more than 15,000 people that Obama is one of the "finest global leaders of the 21st century" and a "youthful symbol of transformative leadership."

Mandela is known for being "the epitome of civil action" after he was imprisoned for 27 years for attempting to end apartheid in Africa, a system of institutionalized segregation that existed in South Africa for years. The global icon died in 2013 and his legacy as the first black president of South Africa and years of activism will be celebrated with the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture.

Obama is the second U.S. president to deliver the lecture. Bill Clinton spoke in 2013.

This year’s theme is titled "Renewing the Mandela Legacy & Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World," and more than 4,000 people are expected to attend.

Obama sought to echo Mandela's message in a speech that touched on the need to work together despite differences. He said he shares the vision of such such leaders as Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln.

"Given the strange and uncertain times that we are in – and they are strange – and they are uncertain – with each day's news cycles bringing more head-spinning and disturbing headlines, I thought maybe it would be useful to step back for a moment and try to get some perspective," Obama said.

Obama stressed the importance of having an open-mind and teaching children critical thinking rather than "blind obedience." He added that the youth will be able to create change by continuing to persist.

“Keep believing,” Obama said. “Keep marching. Keep Building, Keep raising your voice. Every generation has the opportunity to remake the world. Mandela said ‘Young people are capable when aroused of bringing down the towers of oppression and raising the banners of freedom’ Now is a good time to be aroused. Now is a good time to be fired up.”

Obama closed his speech with a quote from Mandela: "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."

Obama tweeted the same quote in response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, the tweet became Twitter's the second most retweeted tweet of 2017.

For those in the crowd, Obama's soaring oratory was inspiring.

“Obama is one of the greatest orators of our time. He inspired me to be the change,” said Maria Morapedi.

Before Obama delivered his speech on Tuesday, the former president made a stop in Kenya on Monday to assist in the grand opening of a sports and fitness center. Founded by Obama's half-sister Auma Obama, the facility is in the city of Kogelo, the birthplace of their father.

Since parting office in 2017, Obama has spent his time delivering speeches, meeting with potential 2020 presidential candidates and spending a substantial amount of time on his foundation based in Chicago. Obama’s speech in Johannesburg is considered one of the most high-profile appearances the president will attend since his presidency.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Media24/Gallo Images/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former President Barack Obama is scheduled to deliver a speech on Tuesday to commemorate the late Nelson Mandela, Obama’s first visit to Africa since leaving office.

Mandela is known for being "the epitome of civil action" after he was imprisoned for 27 years for attempting to end apartheid in Africa, a system of institutionalized segregation that existed in South Africa for years.

The global icon died in 2013 and his legacy as the first black president of South Africa and years of activism will be celebrated with the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture. This year’s theme is titled "Renewing the Mandela Legacy & Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World," more than 4,000 people are expected to attend.

The speech falls on the day before Mandela’s 100th birthday and is part of the series of events the Nelson Mandela Foundation has planned for the milestone.

Obama is expected to deliver a message of "creating conditions for bridging divides, working across ideological lines, and resisting oppression and inequality" the Nelson Mandela Foundation wrote in a statement. Obama will be the second U.S. president to deliver the lecture. Bill Clinton spoke in 2013.

Before Obama delivers his speech on Tuesday, the former president made a stop in Kenya on Monday to assist in the grand opening of a sports and fitness center. Founded by Obama's half-sister Auma Obama, the facility is in the city of Kogelo, the birthplace of their father.

Since parting office in 2017, Obama has spent his time delivering speeches, meeting with potential 2020 presidential candidates and spending a substantial amount of time on his foundation based in Chicago. Obama’s speech in Johannesburg is considered one of the most high-profile appearances the president will attend since his presidency.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(HELSINKI) -- Ahead of his summit with President Donald Trump, it had been widely said that all Russia’s president Vladimir Putin had to do to come out a winner was to show up to the meeting Finland’s capital, Helsinki on Monday.

Putin did come and by all accounts the result of his first full summit with Trump has been a hearty success for the Russian leader. Russian officials have predictably been praising the meeting and experts, even those generally critical of the Kremlin, can see little but positives for Putin from the encounter.

“It was the maximum possible and it really can become a good start for the restoration of cooperation on a systematic and regular basis,” said Konstantin Kosachev, who chairs Russia's senate foreign affairs commission.

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov enthused afterwards that the summit had gone “fabulously” and “better than super.”

Coming into the summit, the Kremlin had said that it would be successful if it could restore normal communications with the U.S. Doing so would signal that Russia had gone some distance in turning a page on the isolation that Moscow has lived under for the past four years. At least in terms of Trump himself, that goal appears to have been achieved.

“Putin has demonstrated that Russia is not isolated, without making any concessions,” said Maria Lipman, editor-in-chief of the journal Counterpoint and a veteran commentator on Russia.

At the press conference following his meeting with Putin in Helsinki’s presidential palace, Trump effectively tried to declare an end to the period of dire relations and herald an era of new cooperation between Russia and the U.S. The U.S.-Russia relationship had "never been worse than it is now," Trump said.

"However that changed as of about four hours ago," he added.

At the press conference, Trump found himself describing a narrative that the Kremlin has been arguing for years: that the U.S was to blame for the confrontation between Russia and the U.S.

“I think that we're all to blame,” Trump said. “I hold both countries responsible. We both made some mistakes.”

Before arriving for the meeting, Trump had gone even further, writing on Twitter that "Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity."

Russia's foreign ministry responded to that by re-tweeting it with the comment "We agree."

“Putin in a sense lures him into this rhetoric that it’s better to cooperate than to engage in confrontation,” Lipman said. She noted that it appeared as if the two were at times "playing along together."

Trump’s comments, and in particular his seeming acceptance of Putin’s denial that Russia had meddled in the 2016 presidential election, has sparked a furious backlash in the U.S, with senators from both parties condemning that assertion and Trump's performance generally as betrayal and a capitulation to Putin.

Sen. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee wrote in a statement that “President Trump’s performance today was the most damaging and shameful surrender of American values and interests in modern history.”

The House Speaker, Paul Ryan said that “there is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals.”

Experts in Russia, however, felt the results were less dramatic, cautioning that, in reality, they saw very little substance in what was announced by the two leaders and noting that it remained to be seen whether Trump could actually deliver on the commitments he had made.

Fyodor Lukyanov, chairman of the Council of Foreign and Defense Policy, who sometimes advises the Russian government, dismissed much of the two leaders' comments as "atmospherics" that would have little direct effect on the relationship with Russia, no matter its intense political impact in the U.S.

“I guess that this performance will provoke a storm in the United States and the question is whether he will be able to stand up to that and still commit to what they discussed or not," Lukyanov said.

Lukyanov, though, said he believes that two issues of substance had come out of the summit. First, he said, he believes Putin and Trump’s comments on Syria suggested a concrete agreement had likely been reached to curtail Iran’s presence close to Israel in southern Syria. Lukyanov also said he believes that the two presidents' pledges to push to reinvigorate key nuclear arms control treaties meant that could now likely happen.

However, Lukyanov said that beyond those areas he had doubts that Trump would be able to hold to a course of more fundamental change in the U.S.-Russia relationship, noting that proposals that came out of Trump's first meeting with Putin in Germany last year collapsed almost immediately.

“It’s quite obvious that his capacity is limited," Lukyanov said. "Again it’s a question about his resilience. If he, as he did last year, he will start to distance himself from things that were discussed, as he did last year, then nothing will change."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images(HELSINKI) -- Russian president Vladimir Putin paused a joint press conference after answering a question on whether the ball is "in the Russian court" regarding cooperative efforts in Syria to hand President Donald Trump a soccer ball in Helsinki, Finland Monday.

"Speaking about having the ball in our court in Syria, President Trump has just mentioned that we've successfully concluded the World Football Cup. Speaking of the football, actually..." Putin said, stepping from his podium to retrieve a 2018 World Cup soccer ball. "Mr. President, I will give this ball to you, and now the ball is in your court."

Putin noted that the United States will host the tournament in 2026 after passing the ball to the president.

"That will go to my son Barron," Trump said. "In fact, Melania, here you go."

At that the President lobbed the ball to the first lady, who sat abreast Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the front of the room.

The reporter who asked the question on Syria referred specifically to the language used by Pompeo, who tweeted the night before, "A better relationship with the Russian government would benefit all, but the ball is in Russia’s court."

Several GOP lawmakers gave Trump scathing reviews of his performance at the summit. Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina went on to address Putin's spherical gift.

"If it were me, I’d check the soccer ball for listening devices and never allow it in the White House," he tweeted.

The passing of the ball is not without precedent. Putin offered an apparently identical ball to the emir of Qatar, the next nation to host the World Cup, one day before his meeting with Trump.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

DeAgostini/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A massive iceberg that has been floating close to a village in Greenland and threatening its residents appears to be veering away from the coast, toward the north, officials said.

The village of Innaarsuit is home to 169 residents, some of whom have been evacuated as the iceberg looms over the coast.

“Fortunately, the iceberg moved further north over the weekend,” Jakob Rousøe, head of operations for Joint Arctic Command, an authority within the Danish Defense, which is supporting local police and emergency services. “Powerful wind from the south and a current headed north pushed the iceberg to the north.”

It is not clear if the iceberg will continue to move north or if it could move back closer to the village.

As the iceberg melts, the fear is that gravity will cause a big chunk of it to break free, or that it will tip over, which could cause a huge wave to wash over the village, Rousøe explained.

“There are big cracks in the iceberg, which could indicate that it could break,” he said.

Joint Arctic Command has sent an inspection vessel and a surveillance aircraft to the area. Rousøe said he is now waiting for more detailed information about what kind of threat the iceberg might pose from experts who are examining it.

The residents of the village are used to icebergs floating by, but they are not usually as big as this one, he said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(BORYEONG, South Korea)-- Splash mud over strangers, push others into the muddy pool, and cover yourself with mud from head to toe. All of these actions make sense at the mud festival in South Korea.

The 21st Boryeong Mud Festival opened up in Daecheon beach, three hours (120 miles) away from Seoul. The annual festivity lures several million visitors every summer, to cover themselves with mud and run around in a mud playground. Last year, over 560,000 guests came for the muddy delight.

“This is the highlight of my summer vacation,” said Ruby Lee, who brought her whole family to the festival this year. “I love the fact that I can get dirty as much as I want and no one will care!”

From mud slides to mud baths, mud soccer, mud wrestling and mud fights, participants can engage in more mud-related activities than they could ever imagine. Volunteers spray cold water at people to wash off the summer heat and sun-dried mud. At one site, people line up to get a make-over at the mud face painting stall.

The festival has gained popularity among foreign visitors in South Korea for its unique concept and the wide variety of mud experiences available.

“I read a book called ‘101 ways to have fun in life’ and found out about this mud festival,” Jeremy, an American lawyer currently working in Korea -- who claimed a glorious victory in his mud soccer game -- told ABC News.

“I couldn’t miss this opportunity to have fun especially since I’m in Korea right now,” he said, declining to provide his last name.

The 10-day long festival began on July 13 and will run until July 22.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

TF-Images/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The now world-famous Trump baby blimp, which floated over protests in London earlier this month, may soon be headed to Central Park -- if some U.S. anti-Trump activists get their way.

The blimp, which depicts Trump as an angry orange baby holding a smartphone and wearing a diaper, captured the attention of the world as thousands of protesters marched under it to vent their anger at the American president during his recent visit to the U.K.

Didier Jiminez-Castro, an activist from Hillsborough, New Jersey, set up a GoFundMe page to bring the blimp to Bedminster, New Jersey, where the President often golfs.

The fund has far surpassed its goal of $4,500, receiving more than $6,500 by Monday morning.

And early Monday morning, Jiminez-Castro sent a tweet to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio - a vocal and strident Trump critic – seeking permission to fly the blimp over the city’s crowned jewel – the 843-acre green park in Upper Manhattan.

Jiminez-Castro said his goal is simple: aggravate the President of the United States.

"During an interviewed (sic) he mention (sic) he does not feel welcome with the Baby Trump in display and we need to get under his skin as much as we can," Jiminez-Castro wrote on the GoFundMe page. He wrote that the blimp will arrive in the U.S. in four weeks.

The London appearance of the blimp did seem to bother Trump.

He stayed away from London to avoid the protests and told The Sun newspaperv before his visit, "I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London. I used to love London as a city... But when they make you feel unwelcome, why would I stay there?"

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images(HELSINKI)-- President Donald Trump has already reached an agreement with one top Russian government official, who appears to be in lockstep with the U.S. leader, at least on Twitter, over his assessment of White House-Kremlin relations.

Just hours before his first formal faceoff with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump tweeted, "Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!"

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affair, headed by Sergey Lavrov, responded to Trump's tweet with a two-word Twitter post: "We Agree."

The Russian government has blamed the United States for the dire state of relations between the two superpowers for years, accusing it of launching unilateral sanctions, trying to stir up unrest in Russia and its former Soviet satellites and, most recently, of inventing the election meddling story.

The precipitous nosedive in diplomatic relations began with Russia's seizure of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. The United States under the Obama administration responded, along with Europe and much of the international community, by trying to isolate Russia and imposing stiff sanctions. Since then, relations have grown rockier.

Trump and Putin are meeting one on one in Helsinki, Finland, in their first substantial talks since Trump became president.

The summit comes just days after special counsel Robert Mueller issued indictments on 12 Russian spies for their alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Trump is under pressure from Democrats and some Republicans, including Arizona Sen. John McCain, to confront Putin on Russia's tampering with the election.

Trump has insisted that there was no collusion between Russia and members of his presidential campaign staff.

It was the second time since the dozen Russian intelligence officers were indicted Friday that Trump described the Mueller probe as a "rigged witch hunt."

During an interview Sunday on ABC News’ "This Week," White House national security adviser John Bolton tried to explain the deeper meaning of Trump's "rigged witch hunt" tweets.

"I think that what he's suggesting is that his political opponents in the United States for well over a year and a half have been trying to say that somehow he's a dupe of the Russian Intelligence Services, that he's an agent of the Kremlin, that he's been compromised by Russia, that he's linked to Russia, that he takes orders from Vladimir Putin," Bolton said. "I mean, really the conspiracies are about as obscure as you can imagine, just subjects of people's imagination. That's what he's talking about."



Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Thailands Ministry of Public Health(CHIANG RAI, Thailand) -- The "Superman" army doctor who took care of 12 boys and their soccer coach while they were trapped in a Thai cave shared a glimpse of their emotional reunion in the hospital Monday.

Dr. Pak Loharnshoon of the Royal Thai Army -- who stayed with the boys in the cave as authorities devised a plan to get them out and was dubbed "Superman" -- visited the group inside the Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital in Chiang Rai, Thailand. In photos posted to Loharnshoon's Facebook page, he is shown giving each of the boys a big hug and rallying the "Wild Boars" team members in a huddle.

In the same Facebook post, the doctor wrote about how impressed he was with the "determination" and "optimism" of the whole team, even in a "crisis situation."

The 12 boys and their coach have been recovering in the hospital since early last week, when they were rescued from a cave in northern Thailand after surviving without food for more than nine days. Hundreds of people, including expert divers from around the world, mounted a daring rescue to save the boys and their coach from the flooded cave complex.

In his post, Loharnshoon also recounted how the boys had dug a hole -- as deep as 16 feet -- to try to crawl to safety. He also commended their coach, calling him a martyr, and said that overall, the health of the group was much better than he had expected.

British divers who helped bring them out of the cave, one by one, described the conditions as some of the worst they had ever seen, with zero visibility in the murky water.

In images released by Thai health officials on Sunday, the team was seen writing messages on a poster featuring the portrait of the former Thai Royal Navy SEAL who died while assisting in the rescue. In the photos, some of the boys were seen wiping away tears with their hospital gowns.

Thailand's Ministry of Public Health said the entire group would be allowed to go home tentatively on Thursday and that they would continue to receive care locally.



Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Ng Han Guan - Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Senior European officials tell ABC News they're starting to see President Donald Trump as separate from the United States, and are instead focusing on the long history of partnership between the U.S. and Europe rather than his words, after he called the European Union a "foe" in an interview with CBS.

European Council President Donald Tusk, taking the lead on this new interpretation of the EU-U.S. relationship, tweeted Sunday night, "America and the EU are best friends. Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news."

Trump does not follow Tusk on Twitter.

One senior European official called it "shocking" and another called it "outrageous" to hear a U.S. president compare the relationship with the European Union to that of China and Russia.

At the same time, these officials admitted that if Trump is re-elected to a second term it will be a strong message from the American people that the U.S.'s relationship with Europe has significantly changed.

Even before Trump's "foe" comment, EU officials tell ABC News that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg privately told them, "Don't pay attention to the words, look to the deeds."

A senior NATO official noted that no policy was changed substantially at the NATO summit, and in fact many saw the final communique as a win.

That joint declaration, signed onto by all 29 NATO members and issued Wednesday, made no mention of any new funding commitments, as claimed by Trump in a press conference at the end of the summit. And the president’s declaration was also directly contradicted by one of his closest personal allies, French President Emanuel Macron.

Ahead of the Helsinki summit, European officials say they fear Trump more than Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Putin has a strategic line of confrontation with Europe, but with Trump we don't know what to expect, there is no line of thought," the European official said.

Tusk tweeted Monday morning his concerns that Trump will further rock the world order today at his meeting with Putin.

"Europe and China, America and Russia, today in Beijing and in Helsinki, are jointly responsible for improving the world order, not for destroying it. I hope this message reaches Helsinki," Tusk tweeted.

Trump sparred with Stoltenberg at a breakfast on the first morning of the NATO summit, railing against German investment in Russian oil and calling for an increase in defense spending by NATO members.



Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(HERAT, Afghanistan) -- High school students in Afghanistan have spoken out against Taliban and ISIS insurgents who have threatened and targeted girl’s education in the country.

ABC News was given rare access to a school in the western city of Herat. More than 6,000 students attend the all-girls school, including members of the Afghan girls robotics team.

They made headlines last year when President Trump personally intervened to grant them visas to the United States, where they were due to attend an inter-school competition.

Permissions to enter the U.S. had been initially denied.

Within two weeks of returning from the competition, however, the father of the team's captain was killed in an ISIS attack on his mosque in the city.

ABC News went to visit the girls in Herat, where they spoke about their hopes and fears for the future of the country and the role of women.

Even though there are still strong social, cultural and religious pressures on girls and women in the deeply conservative country, the schoolgirls and their principal say they will not be cowed by threats, intimidation or attacks by insurgents.

The principal, a former student at the school, has seen many changes for women in Afghanistan.

She admits to being afraid every time she walks to school in the morning, but like the girls she teaches, she refuses to be intimidated.

“We won’t surrender," she said. "We will continue!"

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABCNews.com(DUBLIN) -- Over 30 passengers were hospitalized, with some complaining about bleeding from their ears, after a Ryanair flight plummeted 28,000 feet in less than 10 minutes on Friday, according to authorities and flight tracking software.

“I can safely say it was the most terrifying thing I ever experienced,” passenger Roxanne Brownlee told ABC News.

A spokesperson from Ryanair said an “inflight depressurization” on the plane, which was carrying 189 people, from Dublin, Ireland, to Zadar, Croatia, caused oxygen masks to deploy. The plane made an emergency landing at Frankfurt-Hahn Airport in Germany.

“The oxygen masks just fell down in front of us -- we were given no context, there was no announcement,” said Brownlee. “We were all kind of scrambling trying to put the oxygen masks on and people were screaming, crying and shouting.”

When the plane began to plummet, Brownlee and another passenger, Sara Sihelnik, said they had no updates from the hostesses or captain.

“It was that moment we were plummeting that we were thinking, ‘This is it, we’re going to die,’” said Brownlee.

Once the plane arrived at the airport, 33 people were taken to the hospital “to be treated for headaches and earaches and nausea,” according to authorities. Sky News reported that some people complained they were bleeding from their ears.

Brownlee and Sihelnik described the treatment they received after landing as “disgraceful.”

“They brought in about 100 burgers, for 189 of us there. They said elderly and families with small children can sleep on cots in the basement, the rest of us was just sort of left floating around,” said Brownlee. “So we were all awake upwards of 36 hours of the entire ordeal -- just completely exhausted, shattered and I would just say shocked with the treatment that we received from Ryanair.”

According to a Ryanair spokesperson, “Customers were provided with refreshment vouchers and hotel accommodation was authorised, however there was a shortage of available accommodation.”

On Saturday, another Ryanair flight took a majority of the passengers to their destination in Croatia. Out of the 33 people admitted to the hospital, 22 were released and bused to Croatia because they were told not to fly.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan) -- ABC News has been given exclusive access to U.S. Special Forces troops fighting on the frontlines against ISIS in Afghanistan.

The small, elite unit of Green Berets is working alongside Afghan commandos to try to root out the insurgents from Nangarhar Province near the border with Pakistan.

The conflict in Afghanistan is America’s longest war and despite successes, the insurgents have proven remarkably resilient, not least because of the sanctuary and support they receive from neighboring countries.

Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. and other foreign forces in Afghanistan, says troops are fighting ISIS in Afghanistan so America does not have to face further terrorist attacks at home.

Unlike the Taliban, which is primarily a homegrown group of hardline religious nationalists, ISIS is a relatively new and somewhat alien presence in Afghanistan. American military commanders say it is bolstered by jihadis from Pakistan, Chechnya, Uzbekistan and India.

Nicholson admits that an insurgency that receives support from a neighboring country -- not to mention sanctuary -- is almost impossible to defeat.

Two U.S. service members were killed last week in separate "insider attacks."

The terrain is tough and demanding with steep jagged snow-capped mountains and plunging valleys. ISIS insurgents have riddled the roads and homes with improvised explosive devises and launched attacks on American forces, but they appear to be on the retreat.

A handful of districts have been wrested from insurgent control, and the Special Forces troops are helping local forces reestablish a presence, building checkpoints and outposts on key terrain.

But the challenge, as it has always been in Afghanistan, will be how to hold onto the territory it has taken.

The overwhelming firepower at America’s disposal means it can easily drive out insurgent groups. But from Helmand to Kandahar, history shows it is less capable of keeping it in government hands, not least because of the weakness and sometimes corruption and incompetence of local partner forces.

America’s military leaders believe Afghanistan is now changing, with a new generation of well-trained, experienced and competent Afghan forces.

But it is telling that almost no one talks of military victory these days. From Nicholson on down, there is now a consensus that only a political process will achieve an end to the fighting.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Steffen Kugler/BPA/Getty Images(HELSINKI, Finland) -- When President Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, some countries that border Russia will watch with concern.

Finland -- the host for the summit -- and Russia's neighbors in the Baltics will pay particular attention to any language by Trump on Ukraine, current and former senior European officials told ABC News.

If Trump indicates that the U.S. may now recognize or accept Russia's annexation of Crimea -- perhaps in exchange for Russia's withdrawing its troops from Syria -- that could be seen as giving a green light to Russian aggression.

Another concern is that Trump could agree to stop U.S. military exercises in the Baltics as he did with drills in South Korea during his summit last month in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The Baltic states include Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

When Trump was asked at the NATO meeting this week if he would consider reducing the U.S. military presence in the Baltics, he told reporters, “Perhaps we’ll talk about that.”

"There is legitimate concern that he's dividing the world into areas of interest and disregarding the small countries," said a European ambassador from a Baltic state.

U.S. administration officials have privately tried to calm any fears among European officials by saying they don't expect the summit to produce "major surprises," according to the ambassador.

For the U.S., the meeting with Putin is an opportunity to revitalize disarmament talks, an American official said.

"The most important thing is that the summit is taking place," the U.S. official said, according to the ambassador.

But some are still skeptical that Trump would stick to any such vague script.

Others hope that Congress would be a buffer to any major changes in U.S. policy with Russia.

Trump "can't do too much damage because Congress is leading the Russia policy," said Fabrice Pothier, former NATO director of policy planning and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

"But the optics can hurt. Putin may say, 'Ukraine is like your Mexico. I'm not getting involved in your Mexico, so don't get involved in Ukraine.'"

Many European officials who spoke to ABC News about the NATO summit in Brussels last week said that despite Trump's veiled threat to "go it alone" without that alliance unless its members increased their defense spending, there was ultimately a "sigh of relief."

"There was a concern that he would leave -- especially among Poland, the Czech Republic and the Baltic States," said senior Czech official Rudolf Jindrák, who attended the NATO talks.

A Swedish-language Finnish paper HBL was more skeptical, as suggested by a sarcastic question in a blaring headline, "A fantastic defense meeting?"

Finland and Sweden are not NATO members but have a partnership with the alliance. The fact that Macedonia was admitted as a new member is seen as a positive development for the two countries, who want the option open in case their territory is invaded. Both Finland and Sweden have, at times in the past, been controlled by Russia.

Finland was during the Cold War because even though it was not a part of the Soviet Union, it maintained ties with Moscow.

On Saturday, just outside of the Presidential Palace in Finland where Trump and Putin will meet, there is a reminder of the country's history -- the national symbol of Russia, a double-headed eagle, on an obelisk.

Before Trump's summit with Putin on Monday, he will meet with Finnish President Sauli Ninisto, where one topic will be the Finnish Defense Forces' consideration of a contract for up to $10 billion with American arms dealer Lockheed Martin for 64 fighter jets, according to European officials.

On the eve of the summit, there are expected to be protests by human rights groups outside the Presidential Palace starting at noon. In the evening, the Human Rights Campaign will stage a "guerrilla visibility" to highlight the persecution and murder of LGBTQ people in Chechnya.

Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Stephen Peters said in an email that over the past 15 months, more than 100 LGBTQ people have been “rounded up, tortured and abused,” and that as many as 20 have been killed.

Security around Finland's Presidential Place has been tightening, with the country's Navy having taken steps to repel any possible threats from the air during the summit, according to a report in Finland's Seura magazine on Friday.

The Navy has put on alert three ships tasked with observation of airspace and repulsion of aerial threats. They have been fitted out with missiles, and their crews have received confidential instructions on hypothetical emergency situations.

The commanding staff of Finland’s Defense Forces, the press service of the naval forces and the Helsinki police have declined to comment. Officials at the Defense Forces said the operational tasks of the troops were confidential.

From 1,000 to 2,000 police officers will also be on guard in the capital on the day of the summit. They will come to Helsinki from all the regional police departments of the country, up north to Lapland.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



God Bless America & Our Home Louisiana

970 KSYL On Air Now
Mark Levin
Mark Levin
5:00pm - 8:00pm
Mark Levin
Bloomberg

Kim Komando

Click For Kim Komando's Daily Tip!!

RM Worlds Travel

Saturday's @ Noon!

Kdixie.com

The Best Of The 60's & 70's

Now On Air At 100.3 HD2

Or Click The Logo Above

To Listen.

 

North Rapides Business & Industry Alliance

Weekends

 

All Weekend Long

It's a

Political Free Zone!

Resources
Fresh Central

LinkedUpRadio Envisionwise Web Services