Waniala Paul /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(KAMPALA, Uganda) -- An exuberant crowd of young people, 150,000 strong, welcomed Pope Francis on Saturday in Kampala, Uganda.
They sang. They danced, some wearing colorful grass skirts, others sporting feathered headdresses. And they smiled.
Their message to him: that Catholicism is more than a Sunday ritual to them. It is a tribe, an extended family and a shared sense of identity. Catholics make up nearly half the country.
Francis listened intently to testimony from 24-year-old Winnie Nansumba, who was born with an HIV infection and lost both her parents to AIDS before she was 7. He also heard from a young man, Emmanuel Odokonyero, who was abducted and tortured as a child by the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Francis reciprocated by tossing aside his prepared remarks and speaking from the heart, giving three pieces of advice.
Overcome difficulties, he said: Don’t allow yourself to be discouraged by life’s hardships, instead let faith give you courage.
Second, he advised: Do your best to turn the negative into the positive, citing Nansumba and Odokonyero as prime examples.
Thirdly, he told them, pray. Ask for help from a power higher than yourself.
"When we stumble or fall down or hurt ourselves, who better to turn to for help than our mother?" he asked.
"And who is our Mother?"
"Mother Mary," they shouted in unison, repeating it three times.
Then Pope Francis joined them in that most fundamental of Catholic prayers, the Hail Mary, with 150,000 voices sounding as one.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Russia says it will impose a package of economic sanctions against Turkey, reports the BBC.
The sanctions come just days after a Russian jet was shot down by Turkey near the Syrian border.
The sanctions cover the work of Turkish companies in Russia, Turkish nationals working in Russia for Russian companies, imports from Turkey and an end to the chartering of flights between the two nations, says BBC News. The visa-free arrangement between Russia and Turkey was also suspended.
Russian President Vladimir Putin refused to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mr. Erdogan refuses to apologize to Russia but said on Saturday the down of the jet "saddened" him.
Turkey claims the jet was violating it's airspace and gave the jet several warnings.
MarkRubens/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) -- The United Nations says a rocket attack occurred at a UN peacekeeper's base in Kidal, northern Mali resulting in the deaths of three people, reports the BBC.
Two peacekeepers and one contractor for the Multidimensional Integrated United Nations Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) were killed. The UN said 20 people were injured.
It is suspected that Islamist militants were behind Saturday's attack.
In a statement, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali and Head of MINUSMA, Mr. Mongi Hamdi said, "MINUSMA continues to strengthen measures against such threats to protect the Malian people and the UN personnel. I express my solidarity and salute the brave men and women serving MINUSMA throughout the country for their efforts to bringing lasting peace to Mali in these difficult conditions. MINUSMA and its partners are doing their utmost to put an end to such crimes and hold accountable those responsible for these cowardly attacks."
The attack comes just over a week since gunmen attacked the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali's capital, Bamako. Nineteen people were killed in that attack.
iStock/Thinkstock(SYDNEY) -- Police in Australia were called to a home to investigate domestic violence, but when they arrived all they found was a man and a spider.
The Harbourside Local Area Command of the New South Wales Police Force received numerous calls early Saturday morning from neighbors concerned about domestic violence at a residence in Wollstonecraft, Australia, police spokesman Dean Lindley told ABC News on Friday.
"We had numerous calls to our emergency number stating that a woman could be heard screaming with a man yelling, 'I'm going to kill you, die, die,' with what sounded like furniture being overturned and or a hitting sound," Lindley said.
Police showed up at the 32-year-old man’s house within three minutes, Lindley said, and asked him where his wife or partner was. After some questioning, the man became "sheepish" and admitted he was just trying to kill a spider, Lindley wrote in a post on the police force's Facebook page, where he also shared the transcript of the conversation.
"It quickly turned to embarrassment when he realized he would have to admit to the screaming like a girl thing," Lindley said.
After checking out the home to make sure there was no one else there, Lindley said police left.
"After a can of Mortein, I'm not so sad to report the spider did not make it," Lindley said. "I asked one of the probationary constables fresh from the academy to perform CPR and heart compressions, but of course he carried on like a big girl and refused. It's hard to get good help these days."
Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Russia is threatening retaliatory sanctions that could cost both it and Turkey hundreds of millions -- if not billions -- of dollars in trade and joint projects.
On Thursday, Russia announced it would be imposing economic “response measures” against Turkey. Prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said his government was developing sanctions that would hit Turkish interests across Russia’s economy, which could include a trade embargo, limiting investments, shutting down tourism and transportation links, as well as suspending major joint construction projects.
The government has given itself two days to finalize the measures but it left an ax hanging over Turkish involvement in swathes of the Russian economy.
Turkey is one of Russia’s biggest trade partners, with trade worth $44 billion dollars last year and Russian exports there worth $15 billion. It’s also a major Russian tourist destination, with 4 million Russians visiting a-year. Turkish goods account for around 15 percent of Russia’s vegetable imports, worth roughly $1 billion, and Turkish companies hold a major share of the construction market here.
All of these sectors are now under threat. Russian government agencies have lined up to declare that the sanctions may apply to their sector. Russia’s tourism agency said it would halt sales of trips to Turkey and transport officials warned Russian ports and airport could close to Turkish vessels. Crimea’s regional government announced it was freezing Turkish projects worth $500 million. Officials, ranging from Russia’s migration service to the agricultural ministry, have denounced what they called Turkish “treachery”.
“In the property sector, especially in the commercial sector, there are quite a lot of Turkish companies working and we don’t exclude that part of them will go from some major projects in the country. Our trust in them as partners is undermined,” Mikhail Myen, head of Russia’s Construction Ministry, told the business paper, RBK.
Vladimir Putin lamented that Turkey had “thoughtlessly” destroyed what he called the “unprecedented” good relations with Russia and demanded that Turkey apologize for downing the jet on the Syria border. Turkey has refused to apologized and insisted the Russian Su-24 bomber had violated its airspace, a claim Russia disputes.
Putin laid into the Turkish government again on Thursday night, calling president Tayyip Erdogan’s suggestion that Turkey had been unsure the plane was Russian “nonsense” and lashing out at the United States as well, saying Russia had informed American officials where the jet would be but they had done nothing to prevent the shooting down.
It was unclear yet how tough Russia sanctions will be in their final form. Sergei Aleksashenko, an economist with the Brookings Institute, said he believed the Kremlin was looking for “something loud and visible”.
On Friday, a partial embargo already seemed to be in place, as Russia’s consumer watchdogs imposed heightened border checks on Turkish goods, particularly fruits and vegetables that account for a third of Turkish imports. Local media reported Turkish goods-trucks backed up at the border, while Interfax reported the southern port of Novorossiisk-- through which 50 percent of Turkish vegetable imports come-- had ceased to take Turkish ships.
But while the sanctions would hurt Turkey, they are also likely to blow-back on the Russian economy. Turkey is the largest market for many Russian companies; the value of Russia’s exports there is five times that of Turkey’s to Russia. With Russia’s economy already battered by low oil prices and European sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, shutting out another major trading partner risked further braking its slow recovery.
The moves also threaten two flagship projects. The planned Akkuyu nuclear plant, that Russia was to build in Turkey, was now in doubt. Moscow has already invested $3 billion in the project, which was to be worth $22 billion. Likewise, the “Turkish Stream” gas pipeline that was to be a crucial alternative route for Russian gas to Europe may also now be pulled, Russian officials said.
Russia’s minister for Economic Development, Aleksei Ulyukaev, said both projects-- like all major joint ventures with Turkey-- were now under review.
Some analysts doubted whether Russia will really follow through on the worst of its threats. Christopher Shiells, an emerging markets analyst at Informa Global Markets, said he felt the gas pipeline was too big a deal to stop.
“With Putin it’s all about image,” Shiells said. “Once things blow over, I think you see some of these projects coming back online.”
iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NAIROBI, Kenya) -- On any papal trip, there are long waits as crowds gather hours ahead of the scheduled event. No problem today for the crowd of young people at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi.
Thousands of Catholic school kids in their school uniforms filled the huge stadium awaiting an hour-long audience with Pope Francis.
First they passed the time doing the wave, their cheers ricocheting around the stadium like a football match was in full swing.
Then they started a Conga line. There were jubilant gyrations, rollicking rhythms, and more than a few shimmy-shakes.
The mood was so infectious -- even the bishops joined in.
Then the whole stadium erupted as the Popemobile rolled into view.
iStock/Thinkstock(BERLIN) -- The two men arrested in Berlin for allegedly plotting an attack on the German capital were released Friday after investigators didn't find evidence to keep them in custody, police said.
The men, 28 and 46, were arrested Thursday in Southeast Berlin after police were informed of a potential threat, described as "preparation of a serious act of violence endangering the state."
Police did not say who gave them the tip.
Based on the information, police raided an Islamic cultural club and searched the car of one of the suspects for explosives in two different areas of the German capital. The men were in the car when they were arrested.
Police cordoned the area around the car and evacuated several houses around it "as a precaution."
After the search, Berlin police tweeted there were "no dangerous items" at the cultural club or in the car were the men were arrested.
This is not the first raid German police conduct to trump potential terror threats. In September, Berlin police raided eight buildings following an investigation into Islamist extremists. Police said at the time that there was no evidence that suspects had been involved in planning attacks in Germany.
The men were released in Berlin just as another man was arrested in southern Germany on suspicion of supplying the weapons used in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks that left 130 people dead.
SpaceX(LONDON) -- A large chunk of an American space rocket -- likely from the ill-fated SpaceX Falcon 9 -- has been found off the coast of England, officials aid.
Covered in barnacles and measuring 32 feet by 14 feet, the metal structure has an American flag painted on it. Martin Leslie, Coastal Area Commander, said the debris was "most likely to be the unmanned Space X Falcon 9," which blew up in June.
The unmanned Space X was carrying 4,000 pounds of supplies and school science experiments to the International Space Station in June when it exploded shortly after liftoff in Florida. The Isles of Scilly are more than 4,000 miles away from the launch site.
In a statement, the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency said that the debris were spotted on the sea's surface and recovered with the help of local boatmen.
"It was pretty shocking to scrape the barnacles off and then find out it was a rocket ship," said Joe Thomas, a skipper for Tresco Boat Services who said he came across the metal 100 meters off the shore.
The structure has been towed to the beach of the island of Tresco, where it sits under guard.
"It’s not every day a bit of a rocket floats up at home," said Thomas.
towed in and beached a piece of flotsam earlier. thoughts were could be aviation parts ..didnt imagine space race pic.twitter.com/f7esX0ixGb
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images(PARIS) — France remembered the 130 victims of the terror attacks two weeks ago in a memorial ceremony in Paris Friday morning.
Addressing a small crowd at Les Invalides, a French national monument, President Francois Hollande promised mourners that France will “destroy the army of fanatics” who carried out the attacks.
“The parents who will never see their children, children who will grow up without their parents, couples who’ve been torn apart by losing close ones, loved ones, sisters and brothers have been separated forever,” Hollande said Friday.
Hollande called the attackers a cult of death, but noted “we have love, love for life.”
“To you all, I solemnly promise you that France will put everything it has at its disposal to destroy the army of fanatics who have carried out this crime,” he said.
The memorial included also included musical tributes and reading the names of those who parished in the attacks.
Belgium Police Federale(BRUSSELS) — The family of wanted Belgian terror suspect Mohamed Abrini insisted he was innocent of helping the Paris attackers in an exclusive interview with ABC News.
There were 130 people killed as a result of the six attacks, with more then 300 people injured.
Abrini's mother and fiancee, who only spoke to ABC News if their identities weren't revealed, said they wished he would turn himself into police. Authorities have said Abrini, 30, was seen driving with Salah Abdeslam on a highway in Ressons, France, two days before the attacks that killed 130 people earlier this month.
"We are with you and we know you are not guilty," said his fiancee. "He is not a dangerous person. He is not a killer."
Belgium authorities have issued a warrant for his arrest. Police have described Abrini as “dangerous and probably armed.”
"If he can hear me, please turn yourself in," said his mother. "I don't eat anymore. I don't sleep."
Abrini’s name was on a list of people who had traveled to Syria and then returned to Belgium, the authorities said. It was not clear when he allegedly traveled to Syria.
He was allegedly caught on camera at a gas station with suspected Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam on Nov. 11, driving the same Renault Clio that was used two days later by the attackers.
Abrini’s mother told ABC’s Aicha El Hammar her son is innocent and wasn’t radicalized. “He was a kind man. Helpful. He dressed normally," she said.
She says they had a close relationship, he was close to his brothers and sisters, he liked to make jokes and enjoying laughing.
Mohamed’s brother Suleyman, 20, fled to Syria to join ISIS when their mother was away on vacation, according to his mother.
Abrini’s mother told ABC they didn’t know Suleyman was in Syria, but a week after he left, “somebody sent us a message from ISIS to let us know he was in Syria."
"If I had known it, I would not have gone on vacation. He didn’t show any signs. He was working… When I came back, he only left two days before my return."
"For me, they are not jihads. This is nothing to do with Islam," she said.
On the day of the Paris attacks, Abrini’s mother claims he was with her in Belgium until early evening, before he and his fiancée went to sign a lease on a new apartment in Belgium. His mother says his fiancée then dropped him at his work -- a fast food place -- about an hour before the attacks started.
"I was not worried, he’s 31 years old. He is not a boy," his mother said.
His fiancée has pleaded with him to turn himself in, “Turn yourself in. Don’t forget you have a family who care. We support you as always. We will not let you down. We just want to know what happened.”
When ABC’s Aicha El Hammar asked about their relationship, she says they had a normal relationship, were getting married in Feb 2016 and planning their future.
“We are together for years. Not at all radical. Just like normal people. We go out. We take drinks. We go to see movies. Just like normal people," she said.
Abrini’s fiancée admits he had made mistakes, he’d had spent some time in jail previously but his fiancée says it was a result of mistakes made as a young man, “It’s not because you went to jail that it means you are a bad person. Or it doesn’t mean you have no future.”
"He’s not a dangerous person. He is not a killer. He is not influenced. Maybe he has been influenced… I don’t think it’s him. I don’t think it’s him."
Nigel Waldron/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- French President Francois Hollande has added another world leader to his working anti-terror coalition after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin Thursday.
"We have a common enemy, and it has the name 'Daesh,' the Islamic State," Hollande said during his visit to Moscow.
Putin is the latest world leader to meet with Hollande, as the French president met with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday, traveled to Washington D.C. on Tuesday to meet with President Obama and returned to France on Wednesday to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris. Earlier today, Hollande met with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Paris.
"I have come to Moscow to work out how we... should react, to find a way to coordinate our actions against the terrorists, but also to seek a political solution for Syria," Hollande said.
"It's necessary to create a large coalition to strike these terrorists."
For his part, Putin said that Russia was ready to work with the French in their fight against terrorists because they have been in a similar position, though he stipulated that he would only cooperate if the U.S. would as well.
"Russia has long known heavy terrorist acts and therefore we can sympathize with your losses," Putin said.
Putin also said that the two leaders agreed to avoid targeting groups who are ready to fight "terrorism" and even ready to cooperate with opposition groups fighting ISIS. Hollande said that the two countries must coordinate their strikes on ISIS' oil trucks.
There was one notable area difference between the two leaders, however, and that came when it was time to discuss the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Hollande said that Assad has no role in Syria's future, but Putin said that Assad's forces are the "natural ally" in the fight against ISIS because they have troops on the ground and that Assad's fate should be determined by the Syrian people.
Hollande's international push for support comes in the wake of the coordinated attacks in Paris that left 130 dead and hundreds of others injured.
At least one impact of the talks has already shown itself, as Germany announced today that they plan to increase their role in the fight against ISIS.
The German defense minister said today that they will be providing a naval frigate, satellite images and aerial refueling, all of which Hollande requested of Merkel on Wednesday.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Russia and Turkey’s relations continued to deteriorate Thursday as Russian President Vladimir Putin said Turkey’s government was driving relations with them "into a dead-end."
The remarks came as Moscow tightened control on the import of Turkish goods and threatened widespread economic retaliation in the wake of a Russian bomber being shot down by Turkish jets and Turkey refusing to apologize for the incident.
Putin described Turkey’s government as "a sponsor of terrorism", saying it profited from the sale of oil by ISIS, and criticized Turkey for refusing to apologize for the shooting down.
"We have the impression that the Turkish government is deliberately driving relations with Russia into a dead-end," Putin told a televised gathering of new foreign ambassadors, freshly arrived in Moscow.
Turkey’s leader, President Tayyip Erdogan, struck back, telling local governors in his palace that it was Russia’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who bought ISIS oil and that those making the claims were "slanderers."
He also told CNN that "if there is a party that needs to apologize, it is not us."
"Those who violated our airspace are the ones who need to apologize," he said.
Russia's prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, said Russia would be launching a range of "response measures" targeting Turkish economic interests in Russia. He said the measures could involve the suspension of major joint projects, as well as raising import tariffs. The measures will be determined in the next two days, he said.
Russia’s state consumer watchdogs said that they had discovered dangerous and poor quality goods among Turkish imports and announced they were imposing reinforced inspection measures on products from Turkey, in particular food products but also furniture and other consumer goods. One agency, Rospotrebnadzor, said it already seized almost a ton of Turkish products.
The intensified checks resulted in a build-up of Turkish trucks at the border, local Russian media reported, with some Turkish vehicles being forced to turn-back.
A Kremlin spokesman denied that any sort of embargo was in place, but the consumer watchdog only announced it had found Turkish products to be dangerous two days after Turkey downed the Russian jet.
"There is no kind of embargo being imposed. It is just reinforced controls," the spokesman, Dmitrii Peskov, told the news agency Interfax.
But he added that "it’s absolutely natural given the unpredictable actions in the case of the Turkish Republic."
Another official, the deputy head of Russia’s agricultural standards agency, Nikolai Vlasov, was more direct, telling Interfax the measures were needed to prevent “enemy tricks” from the Turkish side.
Russian and Turkish relations have fallen off precipitously since Turkish fighter planes shot down a Russian Su-24 jet on the Syria-Turkey border Tuesday morning, leading to the death of one pilot and a harrowing rescue operation to rescue the other. Turkey insists that the plane had violated Turkish airspace and had received multiple warnings to change course, a claim Russia disputes.
To back up its position, Turkish military officials released audio recordings of what it said were 10 warnings issued in 5 minutes to the Russian jet. On the recordings, passed to ABC News, a voice can be heard repeatedly warning a plane it is approaching Turkish airspace and to turn back.
Russia, however, rejected the claims and the jet’s surviving pilot, Capt. Konstantin Murakhtin, said he had been given no kind of warning at anytime before his plane was hit. Speaking to Russian state television at an airbase in Syria after his rescue, Murakhtin also denied his aircraft had crossed into Turkish "even for a second".
Both sides have so far largely sought to avoid escalation, with Russia’s foreign minister saying Russia has no intention of fighting a war, but on Thursday, the two countries’ leaders traded back-handed accusations.
Although most Russians do not want a military response to the shooting down of the plane, the incident has prompted low-boiling anger among many.
On Wednesday night, a Moscow radio station, Ekho Moskvi, reported dozens of people had marched on a brewery belonging to the Turkish beer brand, Efes, in the city of Ulyanovsk and demanded that those inside remove the Turkish flag.
Zoonar/Thinkstock(HALIFAX, Nova Scotia) -- When "you've been where you didn't know whether you'd be able to buy groceries or not, it gives you a real sense of wanting to give back."
That was the motivation behind what is being called the "coats on a pole" movement that has Halifax, Nova Scotia, talking. What was meant to be an anonymous gesture went viral and the woman behind the movement was outed on social media.
That coats were left tied to lamp posts around the Canadian city with a simple note: "I am not lost! If you are stuck out in the cold, please take me to keep warm."
Tara Smith-Atkins is the Caledonia woman, who along with five friends and seven kids, left the 35 coats. One of those kids is her daughter, who she said she is teaching an "ongoing lesson" on "how fortunate she is, and how important it is for us to help those who were not so blessed."
A photo of the coats was shared by the Facebook page Halifolks, and Smith-Atkins said that post reached more than one million people. Friends of hers who saw it identified her in the comments.
There's been plenty of praise for Smith-Atkins, who said she's got mixed emotions about the attention the gesture has received. "I'm happy that it's inspiring people far and wide. I also felt a twinge of disappointment that such a small gesture grabbed such attention," she said.
But her "small gesture" wasn't small at all to one man. A note came to her from a friend, who passed along the story of "Justin." Justin had been staying in a homeless shelter and was out all day cleaning windows to earn money. He got back to the shelter late and had lost his bed. Soaking wet and freezing cold, he came across one of the coats. He thought someone had lost it, but then saw the note. "It made the difference between him waking up outside cold and sick," the note read.
Smith-Atkins said that note was the best response she got. She recalled the time when she was straight out of high school, pregnant with her daughter. She and her husband were in a terrible car accident and both unable to work. It was that difficult time in her life that inspires her to give back whenever she can.
"If not for the love and assistance from our family who knows where we'd be," she said. "Most of us are only a few paychecks and a bad decision away from the streets."
Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Sentebale(JOHANNESBURG) -- Prince Harry made a heartfelt tribute to Princess Diana while opening the Sentebale Mamohato Children's Centre at his charity located in Lesotho Thursday.
The 31-year-old named the center’s dining room, "Princess of Wales Hall," in honor of his late mother, who was one of the first pioneers seeking to destigmatize prejudice for those living with HIV/AIDS.
Harry, who is on the first leg of his trip to Lesotho and South Africa, began by opening the center, which will provide education and emotional support and care for the vulnerable children of Lesotho living with HIV/AIDS.
The $3 million center will serve as a flagship for the organization’s work in the region. The charity Sentebale, which means “forget me not” in Sesotho, the language spoken in Lesotho, was founded by Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho to honor both their mothers.
Harry also honored Olga Powell, the childhood nanny beloved by him and Prince William, naming the facility’s welcome area after her.
Harry reunited with a little boy named Mutsu Potsane, who first stole his heart on a trip to Lesotho in 2004 when the orphan clung to the prince’s side. Harry gave Mutsu a pair of royal blue wellies at the time, which the toddler cherished and wore to bed. Over the last 11 years, the two have stayed in touch, periodically writing letters, and Harry taking time out to visit him on each trip to Lesotho.
This visit is no exception. The now 15-year-old wrote Harry a letter, released by Kensington Palace in advance of their reunion, saying he had been thinking about "his loving friend” and remembered the special “blue gum boots” from their last time together.
"I think of the time were (sic) together, it was the good and nice day. Every day when I am sleeping I always dream about you and the thing we have made such as planting of the trees which is the peach trees," the letter reads.