Jessica McGowan/Getty(MONTREAL) -- It's perhaps best known for its major league baseball team, the Braves, and for hosting the 1996 Olympics. Now, Atlanta, Georgia is home to the world's busiest airport.
Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson is one of four U.S. airports to make the top 10 list, according to data released Monday from Airports Council International. The others are LAX in Los Angeles (5); Chicago O'Hare (7) and Dallas-Fort Worth (9).
The Montreal-based council ranks the airports based on passenger traffic. More than 96 million passengers arrived or departed from Hartsfield-Jackson in 2014. That's 10 million more than the second-place airport, Beijing's Capital International Airport.
neneos/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(ROME) -- In a letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, Pope Francis on Tuesday decided to allow priests to absolve women who have had abortions.
"One of the serious problems of our time," the pope wrote, "is clearly the changed relationship with respect to life. A widespread and insensitive mentality has led to the loss of the proper personal and social sensitivity to welcome new life," he added.
"I think in particular of all the women who have resorted to abortion," the letter continues. "I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal."
As part of the upcoming holy year, Pope Francis said that "the forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented."
"For this reason...I have decided...to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness of it."
The pope added that priests can offer absolution by "expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed."
NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images(BANGKOK, Thailand) -- A second suspect in the deadly bombing at a Thailand shrine last month has been arrested, the Thai prime minister announced on Tuesday.
BBC News reports that the suspect was taken into custody in the Sa Kaeo province near the Thai border with Cambodia. A foreign individual was arrested over the weekend in connection with the explosion that killed more than 20 people.
Officials have not released information identifiying the suspects.
BBC News says that it is not clear whether either of the two in custody are the prime suspect, seen on a security camera leaving a backpack at the shrine shortly before the bombing.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images(LONDON) — A number of migrants arriving in Turkey hoping to reach Europe are purchasing fake Syrian passports in order to claim asylum at the end of their journey, the head of the European border management agency Frontex told French radio Tuesday.
“There is a traffic of Syrian passports,” Fabrice Leggeri told Europe 1, “because it’s extremely lucrative for smugglers.”
Syrian citizens are legally entitled to refugee status in any European country because of the civil war in their country.
Those using fake passports, Leggeri said, are mainly from North Africa or the Middle East, migrating for economic reasons. But he admitted that authorities do not have a complete picture of those migrating to Europe.
"We have an idea of nationalities but we don't have full profiles," Leggeri said.
Asked by the radio host whether terrorists could be reaching Europe, Leggeri said, "It is not impossible but we are extremely vigilant."
Overall, the number of illegal crossings at European borders since January has gone up 175 percent, according to Frontex, reaching an estimate number of 340,000 individuals arriving in the European Union. The number only reflects people who are being registered, Leggeri said, adding that not all migrants are being registered because of the volume.
About 88,200 of those making their way to the E.U. are Syrians, according to the latest International Organization for Migration figures, which is more than the next four countries of origin put together.
Greece has become the principal port of entry for many migrants and refugees over recent weeks: 234,778 people have arrived in Greece as of Tuesday, compared with 114,276 in Italy.
The Hungarian Interior Ministry said Tuesday that around 142,000 people had requested asylum in Hungary, including 45,000 migrants from Syria. In Macedonia, about 1,500 migrants are waiting to cross the border and head north toward to Germany, Austria and Scandinavian countries.
To deal with this ongoing humanitarian crisis, the head of Frontex said Europe urgently needs more border patrol officers, especially in the Greek islands.
Romanista/iStock/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- More than 1,300 Iraqis were killed and nearly 2,000 more were injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in August, according to the latest data from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq.
In total, UNAMI says, 585 Iraqi civilians were killed and 1,103 more were hurt. Additionally, 740 members of the Iraqi Security Forces were killed, with 708 more wounded.
"With the steadily increasing number of casualties, internally displaced persons, and the alarming rate of Iraqis fleeing war, persecution and poverty to seek refuge abroad, the successful implementation of the government reform plan will be a paramount to restore order, legality and social justice in the country and renew confidence in the fair participation of all in the society," said Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General Jan Kubis.
A perigee full moon or "supermoon" is seen on Aug. 10, 2014, in Washington. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)(NEW YORK) — There will be an extra special show in the night sky this month when a rare supermoon lunar eclipse will occur for the first time since 1982.
The cosmic event will take place on the night of Sept. 27 when two periodic events — supermoons and lunar eclipses — will happen at the same time, making for a rare coincidence.
A supermoon occurs when a full moon happens when it is at the closest point in its elliptical orbit around Earth, making the full moon appear up to 14% larger and brighter than usual. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes into Earth's shadow, often turning a blood red color.
The partial lunar eclipse is set to begin at 9:07 p.m. ET and will be visible to most people in the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, according to EarthSky.org. The total lunar eclipse begins at 11:11 p.m. ET.
You won't want to miss this event. The next supermoon lunar eclipse won't come around until 2033.
ABC News(VATICAN CITY) -- Pope Francis participated in a virtual audience today with Americans from around the country during an event hosted exclusively with ABC News.
The event was moderated from inside the Vatican by ABC News’ "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir, as the pontiff engaged via satellite with individuals from three different groups: students at the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago’s inner city, congregants from a McAllen, Texas, church located near the U.S.-Mexico border and homeless men and women and those working with the homeless in Los Angeles.
The event will air in a one-hour special edition of ABC News’ "20/20" on Friday, Sept. 4 at 10 p.m. ET. In addition, the event will be posted in its entirety in both English and Spanish on ABCNews.com.
The event coincides with the pope’s upcoming visit to the United States, scheduled for later this month, when Francis is expected to travel to Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia from Sept. 22 to Sept. 27.
The pope’s U.S. trip includes a meeting with President Obama at the White House, an address in front of a joint-meeting of Congress, an address at the U.N. General Assembly in New York and a "multi-religious service" at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
His trip will conclude in Philadelphia at the World Meeting of Families, a global event organized by the Catholic Church that focuses on strengthening family bonds. Event organizers expect up to two million people to attend the pope’s closing mass.
Only three other reigning popes have ever visited the United States: Paul VI in 1965, John Paul II, who traveled to the country seven different times, and Pope Benedict XVI, who visited in April 2008.
Born in Argentina, Francis, 78, is the first Latin American and first Jesuit to lead the Roman Catholic Church. He succeeded Benedict in 2013, and since then the pontiff has won wide acclaim for his modern views on religion, his hands-on work with the less-fortunate and his acceptance of the LGBT community.
On Left: 27 August image (before destruction): “Airbus DS, UNITAR-UNOSAT” On right: 31 August image (after destruction): “UrtheCast, UNITAR-UNOSAT”(PALMYRA, Syria) -- Satellite images provided by the United Nations have confirmed the worst fears for the ancient site of Palmyra, showing the apparent destruction of the 2,000 year-old Temple of Bel by ISIS militants who have taken over the city.
The photos showed the temple’s sanctuary with rows of columns around the outside -- but the main structure, known as the cella, is missing. The Temple of Bel is considered one of the world’s greatest historical treasures and its destruction is the latest in the ongoing tragic saga for the UNESCO World Heritage site.
Militants over the past weeks have publicly executed Palmyra’s top archaeologist and then days later released images showing the destruction of another famed Palmyran temple nearby.
Reached by phone in Damascus Tuesday, Syria’s Director of Antiquities called the U.N.'s images “shocking” and accused the militant group of “raping” Syria’s heritage.
“It’s such a shame, it’s terrorist act on another level, the most expensive loss for our Syrian heritage since the crisis started," Professor Maamoun Abdulkarim said. “It’s the beginning of the total destruction of the Palmyra, they’re going to raze the city."
On Sunday, reports surfaced from residents claiming to have heard a loud explosion at the Temple of Bel, though at the time Abdulkarim told ABC News they had not yet confirmed what damage may have been inflicted.
Abdulkarim said last Tuesday that residents were pleading with the militants not to destroy the temple, arguing it had been converted from a church into a mosque centuries ago. The temple is considered by many in the academic community as one of the most important religious buildings of the 1st century.
"These terrorists group don’t respect anything, even buildings that have become mosques, they are barbarians," Abdulkarim said. "I was wounded in my heart today, fundamentally, I have lost all the sense of my work. I lost all my idea about what we can do. We are very weak now."
ISIS has not publicly claimed responsibility for the demolition, though the group waited several days after destroying the Temple of Baalshamin to release photos showing militants laying explosives around the temple's walls and columns.
ISIS captured Palmyra in May, but initial reports suggested they were more interested in looting the remaining antiquities rather than damaging the ruins. Propaganda videos released by the group in the past have shown destruction of statues in Iraq and Syria that the extremist militants say they consider heretical.
The execution of Syrian scholar Khaled al-Asaad nearly three weeks ago, however, appears to have set off somewhat of a chain reaction, now that two of the site’s most storied monuments have been leveled.
Friends of al-Asaad told ABC News that his family believes he was killed after refusing to divulge the locations of hidden treasures ISIS would loot to fund its terror operations.
Abdulkarim once again called on the international community for help, citing the retaken city of Kobane as potential evidence that intervention might be able to save the remnants of the city.
"It has become urgent, we need an aerial intervention,” Abdulkarim said. "I am sure all the historical buildings in the historical city of Palmyra are in danger. In the next weeks and months we will have a lot of these same images from Palmyra."
iStock/Thinkstock(OTTAWA, Canada) -- Scott Walker said in an NBC interview published Sunday that the idea of building a wall along the U.S. border with Canada is a “legitimate issue” worth reviewing, when asked about the potential risk of terrorists using unpatrolled borders to cross into the United States undetected.
So what does Canada think of the idea of constructing a wall along the longest shared land border in the world?
A spokesperson for the Canadian Embassy responded to ABC News with this fact: “No terrorists have been successful in attacking the United States coming through the Canadian border.”
Christine Constantin, the spokesperson for embassy, points out that “all the terrorists responsible for 9/11 were in the United States with visas issued by the U.S. government.”
“The Canada-US Border is jointly managed through strong information sharing and intelligence cooperation between our two countries,” Constantine continued, listing off a laundry list of shared intelligence gathering techniques that includes automated visa information sharing and a shared log of non-citizens who cross along the shared U.S.- Canada border that stretches over 1,500 miles.
And in between the official entry border crossing points, Constantine said there are joint Canadian-US law enforcement teams that share intelligence across land and sea to snuff out any cross-border criminal activity that may occur.
Walker’s comments on the Canadian border came in response to a question from NBC News’ Chuck Todd, who asked Walker if the U.S. should consider building a wall along the northern border amid calls by some Republican presidential candidates to build a wall along the southern border with Mexico.
"Some people have asked us about that in New Hampshire," Walker told Todd. "They have raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me at one of our town hall meetings about a week and a half ago. So that's a legitimate issue for us to look at."
Walker’s campaign spokesperson AshLee Strong has since said that Walker was not advocating that a wall be built but that he was responding to Todd’s question in saying that he has heard concerns from other people about the security of the border.
Jessica McConnell Burt/GW(WASHINGTON) -- A student from George Washington University has disappeared while studying abroad in South Africa this past weekend, the school confirmed.
Nicholas Upton, 19, is a junior at the school and is currently studying at a partner program in Cape Town. He has not been seen since he went swimming in the Eastern Cape Province on Sunday evening local time, GW University Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski said in a statement.
He and a group of other students studying abroad traveled to a surf lodge on the other side of the country and the National Sea Rescue Institute, the country's equivalent to a coast guard, issued a statement saying that "he is presumed to have drowned."
"Local private aviators from the area committed to dispatching private aircraft to join in the search but adverse weather conditions have prevented any of the private aircraft from flight," the NSRI said in their statement.
Upton's father Jim spoke to ABC News and said that he feels a slow emergency response hindered his son's rescue. Jim Upton said that the other students who were swimming with his son ran in to the lodge to get help but were not treated with urgency.
"Our big problem right now was that the search was very poorly handled," Jim Upton said. "When they [the students] ran in to get help from the lodge, the lodge didn't call police immediately. They called police after some time and the police were actually going to wait until daylight until they started to search but they got coerced into searching."
He said that townspeople and fellow students launched a local search, but "it took them five hours to notify the national search and rescue team that there was an issue."
Jim Upton said that even though South African authorities said that they have downgraded the search from a rescue to a recovery and authorities no longer believe Nicholas is alive, his parents are holding out hope.
"We're trying to keep our chin up and be as hopeful as possible. It's not over until it's over," Jim Upton said.
Upton, who is originally from Redding, Conn., is a part of the George Washington rowing team and is a member of the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity, according to ABC News affiliate WJLA-TV.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama revealed he is personally hurt when people call him anti-Semitic due to the nuclear deal with Iran in a recent interview with Forward, a Jewish American news site.
“So does it hurt you personally when people say that you’re anti-Semitic?” Jane Eisner, editor-in-chief of Forward, asked the president.
“Oh, of course. And there’s not a smidgen of evidence for it, other than the fact that there have been times where I’ve disagreed with a particular Israeli government’s position on a particular issue,” Obama said. “If you care deeply about Israel, then you have an obligation to be honest about what you think, the same way you would with any friend. And we don’t do anybody, any friend, a service by just rubber-stamping whatever decisions they make, even if we think that they’re damaging in some fashion.”
“The people I’m close to, the people who know me, including people who disagree with me on this issue, would never even think about making those statements,” he said. “These are hard issues, and worthy of serious debate. But you don’t win the debate by suggesting that the other person has bad motives. That’s I think not just consistent with fair play; I think it’s consistent with the best of the Jewish tradition.”
In a FOX News interview earlier this month, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson suggested the president used “anti-Semitic” themes in his speech promoting the Iran deal.
“I think anything is anti-Semitic if it’s against the survival of a state that is surrounded by enemies and by people who want to destroy them and to sort of ignore that and to act like everything is normal there and that these people are paranoid is anti-Semitic,” Carson said.
The majority of the president’s interview with Forward focused on the Iran deal, but Obama did offer some insight into his go-to bagel order
“I was always a big poppy seed guy,” Obama said when asked about his favorite bagel flavor. The president noted that when he attended Columbia, he would walk to H&H Bagels on the weekends to get a bagel.
And what does the president like on his bagel? “Just a schmear,” he said. “Lox and capers are okay, but generally just your basic schmear.”
NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker(NEW YORK) — New Horizons has passed Pluto but the space probe's work isn't done yet.
NASA has selected a potential new target for New Horizons to fly past located nearly one billion miles beyond the dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt, an area beyond Pluto's orbit of the Sun that is the largest structure in the planetary system, with more than 100,000 miniature worlds ripe for exploration.
Before New Horizons reaches the Kuiper Belt object, known as 2014 MU69, a proposal will have to be evaluated by an independent team of experts before the flyby is officially approved.
"While discussions whether to approve this extended mission will take place in the larger context of the planetary science portfolio, we expect it to be much less expensive than the prime mission while still providing new and exciting science," John Grunsfeld, chief of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said in a statement.
The object was chosen in part for its location. It will cost less fuel to reach it than other candidates, leaving more fuel for New Horizons to conduct other science opportunities.
New Horizons conserved energy by taking naps on its 3 billion mile journey to Pluto. The spacecraft may have enough power for two more decades of exploration, according to NASA.
The piano-sized probe is equipped with a battery that converts radiation from decaying plutonium into electricity. New Horizons loses about a few watts of power each year, according to NASA, but is estimated to have as much as 20 years left in its life expectancy.
It will spend the next year and few months transmitting data from back to Earth from its July 14 encounter with Pluto, with the information being categorized by low, medium and high priority. It will likely make its last transmission in October or November of next year, officials said.
Launched in January 2006 on a 3 billion mile journey to Pluto, New Horizons "phoned home" after its Pluto flyby, indicating that it had successfully navigated just 7,700 miles from the dwarf planet. It later sent back the first high-resolution images of Pluto's surface.