About the author  ⁄ WFIN

Courtesy Jess Katz(NEW YORK) — More than 77 years after two brothers saw each other for the last time during the Holocaust, their families on opposite sides of the world have joyfully reconnected.

Jess Katz told ABC News that her grandfather Abram Belz helped his brother Chaim escape into the Soviet Union from Poland’s Piotrków Trybunalski ghetto in 1939 — and never saw him again.

As the eldest child, Abram stayed behind to take care of their mother. Eventually, Abram was relocated to a refugee camp in Italy and then immigrated to the United States in 1950.

After the war, Katz said her grandfather spent the rest of his life trying to find his brother, writing countless letters to no avail.

“I don’t even know if there are words to describe it, this was all he wanted, he just wanted to know that his brother survived,” Katz told ABC News.

This year, Katz did some digging online using social media and the website JewishGen.org to try to find her relatives. “In a few hours we found more than we ever knew in 70 years of searching,” Katz told ABC News.

Unfortunately, neither brother would ever know what happened to the other one. Katz’s grandfather did not live to find out that his beloved brother had not only survived the war, but had built a family in Sakhalin Island, Russia. Nor did his younger brother find out that Abram had built a family of his own in New Jersey.

On April 20, 2016 the two families of the brothers Skyped for the first time. Katz said everybody was in tears.

“He was my hero,” Katz said of her Grandfather, who passed away in 2011 at the age of 95. “He was very kind, very warm. He was full of love.”

“He had nightmares every night about the Holocaust, even when he was in his nineties he would have them. But he would still wake up and find a way to be the best Grandfather and the best Father. He had a lot of struggles and a lot of pain, but he still found some kind of way to live a life full of love and kindness.”

Katz initially tracked her Grandfather’s brother using JewishGen.org a free, online, non-profit resource affiliated with the Jewish Heritage Museum in New York City. Chaim died in 1970, but Katz was able to find his son, Evgeny Belzhitsky.

Avraham Groll, the Senior Director of Business Operations for JewishGen.org told ABC News that the website has more than 700,000 registered users throughout the world and more than 22 million Jewish records archived to help reunite Jewish families who were separated during the Holocaust.

“We have something called the family finder, a resource that allows someone to say that they are looking for a particular name and then find someone who can connect with that.” Groll went on to say that they have a myriad of other resources to help people reconnect with their family, including information on how to read a Hebrew tombstone or how to interpret passenger list annotations.

Katz says her family talks to their new found Russian relatives everyday.

“It’s happy, but it is also mixed with sadness,” Katz said, citing how much her grandfather searched for his brother and how much he wanted to see him. “I think he is still kind of around, I think he and Chaim kind of orchestrated this.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(FORT MCMURRAY, Canada) — Almost an entire Canadian city has been evacuated because of a massive wildfire.

Tens of thousands of Fort McMurray, Alberta residents have fleed the area as the blaze, fueled by heavy winds and hot weather, destroyed a number of homes. The city is home to more than 60,000 people.

“This is the biggest evacuation we have seen in the history of the province in terms of fire,” said Alberta Premier Rachel Notley according to BBC.

Citizens escaping the area in panic caused gridlock on the main road to exit the city, according to BBC.

“I was going up the hill, and the traffic was three cars wide, and by the time I got up the hill, I couldn’t see anything,” Dwight Howlett said according to CBC. “There was just smoke everywhere. I was just following headlights.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Some lotto players are scrambling to get tickets ahead of Wednesday’s Powerball drawing now that the jackpot has swelled to an estimated $348 million.

It’s the biggest Powerball jackpot since the record $1.586 billion jackpot in January was split three ways. Never mind that the chances of winning the grand prize are 1 in 292,201,338, according to the New York Lottery.

If there’s no winner for Wednesday’s pot, the prize will grow for the next drawing this Saturday. Powerball drawings take place on Wednesday and Saturday nights at 10:59 p.m. ET.

The last winning numbers on April 30 were: 3, 12, 16, 32, 34 plus the Powerball of 14. The cash value of Wednesday’s prize is $226.1 million.

The jackpot has grown over the last 17 drawings since the last Powerball winner claimed the prize on March 2.

January’s winners included a couple in Florida and a couple in Tennessee. There was a winner in California, but that ticket holder has not yet been identified. Each winning ticket was allotted roughly $528 million.

If you buy a ticket, there are a few things you should remember to do, including making sure you keep it in a safe place and sign the back.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Google Chrome has become the top browser in the world, beating out rival Internet Explorer, according to new data.

Net Market Share, an analytics firm, said Google’s browser had 41.71 percent of the market share in April compared to Microsoft Internet Explorer’s 41.33 percent. In third place was Firefox at 10.06 percent, followed by Apple’s Safari at 4.47 percent.

Chrome was already crowned the winner back in 2012 according to another measure by the tracking group StatCounter. At the time, Firefox came in second and Internet Explorer was third.

The reason for the different results is that the two companies measure web traffic differently. Net Market Share counts unique visitors, instead of page views, per day. Another huge difference is that Net Market Share analyzes more than 40,000 websites, according to a description of its methodology. StatCounter says that it tracks more than 3 million sites around the world.

While the war of the browsers has been competitive over the years, it hasn’t been cutthroat.

Internet Explorer and Mozilla teams have sent cakes to one another to celebrate various achievements.

“We started this tradition when we sent them a cake for Firefox 2. It was probably the best damn cake I’ve eaten,” Internet Explorer engineer Jacob Rossi said of one marble chocolate vanilla confection, according to a Reddit AMA forum in 2014.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Wall Street lost its gains from the day before as oil prices tumbled and investors worried about China’s slow growth.

The Dow dropped 140.25 (0.78 percent) to close at 17,750.91.

The Nasdaq fell 54.37 (1.13 percent) to finish at 4,763.22, while the S&P gave up 18.06 (0.87 percent) to close at 2,063.37.

Crude oil tumbled over 2 percent with prices hitting about $43 a barrel.

China: A private gauge of China’s manufacturing industry fell in April, despite a government stimulus, reviving fears that the world’s second-largest economy is not rebounding. According to Caixin Media Co., factory activity levels in China fell to 49.4 for the month from 49.7 in March. Anything above 50 would indicate growth and anything below the 50 level means contraction. According to the China National Bureau of Statistics, China’s official purchasing manager’s index (PMI) reading released Sunday said the PMI in April fell to 50.1 compared to 50.2 in March.

Google: Google and Fiat Chrysler have signed a deal to make 100 self-driving minivans. According to a statement, Google hopes the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans will be on the road by the end of the year.

“This collaboration with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is the first time we’ve worked directly with an automaker to create our vehicles,” Google said. “FCA will design the minivans so it’s easy for us to install our self-driving systems, including the computers that hold our self-driving software, and the sensors that enable our software to see what’s on the road around the vehicle.”

The statement said the self-driving car could “take you from A to B with the touch of a button.”

Martin Shkreli: “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli could face additional fraud charges, prosecutors said Tuesday in a New York court. Shkreli first came under fire as “The Most Hated Man in America” when he significantly raised the price of a drug called Daraprim. The drug treats a parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis, which most often occurs in those with compromised immune systems due to cancer treatments or HIV infection. The former pharmaceutical CEO was arrested in December on multiple charges of securities and wire fraud related to a different company he founded.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Former pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli may face additional fraud charges, prosecutors said Tuesday in a New York court.

Shkreli initially came under fire for significantly raising the price of a drug called Daraprim that treats a parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis, which most often occurs in those with compromised immune systems due to cancer treatments or HIV infection. He was arrested last December on multiple charges of securities and wire fraud related to a different company he founded.

Shkreli appeared in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn Tuesday alongside his attorneys. He sat in the court with his arms folded as prosecutors said they would decide within a month whether or not to issue a superseding indictment, which would lead to additional charges.

Shkreli will be back in court on June 6.

Shkreli’s lawyer, Ben Brafman, told reporters he thought the hearing was a “good day” for his client.

“We do not believe this indictment will…affect Martin Shkreli in a negative fashion and we still believe the charges in this case are very defensible,” said Brafman. “We plead not guilty and we intend to proceed to trial.”

The former CEO of Turning Pharmaceuticals took to Twitter in recent weeks to thank supporters and proclaim his innocence.

Robert Capers, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, told reporters in December that Shkreli allegedly defrauded investors in two hedge funds, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare, and also plundered Retrophin, the biopharmaceutical company he ran as its CEO, in an effort to pay back debts related to the now-defunct hedge funds.

Prosecutors allege that Shkreli lost all of the investments in MSMB Capital but continued to provide inflated and false performance updates to its investors.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Lack of water is not only a health issue for many regions of the world, it can have a huge economic impact, even lowering GDP by as much as 6 percent, according to a report issued Tuesday by the World Bank.

Factors like growing populations and climate change could reduce water availability in cities by as much as two-thirds by 2050, compared to 2015 levels, according to the report. Even rising incomes will cause further strain by creating a surge in water demand.

The effects will be far-reaching, even in regions in Central Africa and East Asia where it’s now abundant, unless governments respond. Countries like China and India could be among the nations that have a 6 percent drop in GDP by 2050 without efficient water policies, the report states. The impact is greatest in places where water’s already in short supply, such as the Middle East and the Sahel region in Africa, which includes countries already suffering from the effects of drought or war, such as Mali and Sudan.

The report, “High and Dry: Climate Change, Water and the Economy,” explains that economic growth can be hampered by water-related losses in agriculture, health, income and property. In the next three decades, the global food system will require between 40 to 50 percent more water while municipal and industrial water demand will increase by 50 to 70 percent, according to a 2009 Water Resources Group report by the World Bank and business partners like McKinsey and Company and the Coca Cola Company.

World Bank

The World Bank researchers used economic modeling to find that bad water-management policies can exacerbate the effects of climate change, while better managing resources can neutralize them.

Among the policies that could offer solutions are advancing technologies to increase water supply, such as waste-water recycling and desalination. The most widely used method to increase water supply is water storage through dams, the report states. Better planning and incentives, such as water permit allocation, giving users the right to “sell” or “rent” water, is another idea, the report states.

Unfortunately, the poor will disproportionately feel the effects of water mismanagement, the report states. About 800 million people, or nearly 78 percent of the world’s poor, live in rural areas and rely on agriculture, livestock and fishing. More vulnerable communities are “likely to rely on rain-fed agriculture to feed their families, live on the most marginal lands which are more prone to floods, and are most at risk from contaminated water and inadequate sanitation,” the report states.

The report warns that water insecurity could multiply the risk of conflict, as droughts can cause a surge in food prices and exacerbate migration and already dangerous situations.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Alex Wong/Getty Images(STUTTGART, Germany) — U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter blasted Russia on Tuesday for its aggressive tactics and “saber-rattling.”

At a ceremony in Stuttgart, Germany to install a new commander of U.S. forces in Europe, Carter crticized Moscow for aggression in Europe, saying they were “going backward in time.”

He said the U.S. did not want to make Russia an enemy: “But make no mistake: We will defend our allies, the rules-based international order, and the positive future it affords us.”

He promised to continue a military build-up on NATO’s eastern flank as a deterrent against war.

“The 20th century NATO playbook that helped create a Europe whole, free, and at peace was effective in its time,” he said. “But it’s not a perfect batch for the 21st century challenges we face and that’s why under [Air Force] Gen. [Philip] Breedlove’s leadership, NATO forces have been writing a new playbook. They’ve been innovating to counter new challenges like cyber and hybrid warfare, integrating conventional and nuclear deterrents, and adjusting our posture and presence so that we can be more agile in responding to new threats.”

At the ceremony to replace Gen. Breedlove with Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti as head of U.S. European Command and the top NATO commander in Europe, Carter also said he was particularly troubled by what he called Russia’s “nuclear saber-rattling.”

“Moscow’s nuclear saber-rattling raises troubling questions about Russia’s leaders’ commitment to strategic stability, their respect for norms against the use of nuclear weapons, and whether they respect the profound caution that nuclear-age leaders showed with regard to brandishing nuclear weapons,” he said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

John Moore/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Deliberate attacks on hospitals amount to “war crimes,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said Tuesday just hours after a hospital was targeted in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

“Let us be clear: Intentional and direct attacks on hospitals are war crimes. Denying people access to essential health care is a serious violation of international humanitarian law,” Ban said in a speech to the UN Security Council in New York. “When so-called surgical strikes end up hitting surgical wards, something is deeply wrong.”

The Security Council unanimously adopted a new resolution demanding that all parties in conflicts protect medical staff and facilities.

The resolution follows last Wednesday’s bombing of an important hospital in Aleppo that killed more than 50 people including children and the only pediatrician in the area. A maternity hospital was also struck by rocket fire Tuesday, killing at least four people in the city. More than 250 civilians have been killed over the past 12 days.

“Even wars have limits, because wars without limits are wars without ends,” Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, told the Security Council Tuesday. “Health care personnel and facilities are the outer frontier of these limits.”

More than 730 medical workers have been killed since Syria’s civil war began five years ago and there have been more than 360 attacks on some 250 medical facilities in the country, according to Physicians for Human Rights, a nonprofit that uses forensic science, clinical medicine, and public health research to document human rights abuses.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — Similar to parent protests in the United States over standardized testing and the Common Core curriculum, thousands of United Kingdom parents have organized a strike against annual testing for elementary-aged children.

Children across the United Kingdom are skipping school on Tuesday for “Kids Strike Day,” which uses the social media tag #kidsstrike3rdMay, after more than 40,000 parents signed a protest petition.

Parents who joined a campaign called “Let Our Kids be Kids” published an open letter online to Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan, saying 7-year-old and 11-year-old children who have to take the SAT test — which are similar to elementary school state tests in the U.S., not college board exams — are “over-tested” and “over-worked.”

“Children’s mental health is at risk because of the increased pressure they face through primary school testing,” the letter said, adding, “by the time these children reach secondary school they are turned off education.”

However, Britain’s chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, defended the importance of the tests, saying that children must have mastered the basics of reading, writing and mathematics by the age of seven to succeed later on.

“I understand testing can sometimes be stressful,” Wilshaw said, “but I am also confident that most schools do everything they can to minimize the stress that children experience in preparing for and sitting these tests.”

Minister of State at the Department for Education Nick Gibb took to Twitter to urge parents to keep their children in school, saying tests are designed for schools to ensure that students are being taught the fundamental skills they need.

It is unclear how many children were on “strike” Tuesday but a website was set up for parents to record their participation.

A mother of five, Charlotte Furness, told ABC News why she supported the campaign.

“I am fed up of seeing more and more testing in schools,” she said. “School is creatively restrictive already with the current testing schedule so adding even more tests puts so much extra pressure on teachers and children. They are squeezing the fun out of learning.”

“We want to show the government that we are serious and by voting with our feet we hope to make them realise that as parents who care about their children’s education, we won’t stay silent anymore and just do as we are told,” Furness added. “Our schools need a massive shake up and we hope today will show the government that we are prepared to fight for change.”

Several local councils have warned parents that they could face fines for taking their children out of school without authorization.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →