Review Category : National News

ASPCA App Seeks to Prevent Lost Pets

ASPCA(NEW YORK) — Nearly one in five lost pets goes missing after being scared by the sound of fireworks, thunderstorms or other loud noises, according to a recent survey by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, making the Fourth of July a high-risk holiday for animal owners.

In an effort to lower the number of lost pets this year, the ASPCA has just released its first app designed to help pet parents locate Fido as quickly as possible.

“What’s so unique about the app — and how it will help pet owners — is that instead of simply adding photos of their lost pets to a database where it might easily get lost in a sea of other lost pet photos, the ASPCA app gives pet owners an individual search plan with customized action steps based on their pet’s unique personality and the circumstances of how they were lost,” an ASPCA spokeswoman told ABC News. “In an emergency where every second counts, the ability to search more quickly and efficiently is crucial.”

The app offers users a personalized recovery kit with step-by-step instructions on how to search for a lost animal under various scenarios, as well as offering preventative safety tips for before and during natural disasters.

Other features of note: Medical records and photos can be uploaded onto the app to create a digital “lost pet” flyer that can be shared across social media networks in the event of an emergency.

“We don’t have any individual case studies yet, but our survey found that most lost pets (58 percent) were recovered through some action taken by owners or others, including using ID tags and microchips, searching the neighborhood, checking with local shelters or animal control, and distributing flyers or posters,” said the ASPCA spokeswoman. “We hope to collect data — and happy tales of reunions — through the app.”

To decrease the likelihood of a pet bolting during a fireworks display, the ASPCA encourages owners to keep their animals in a quiet, secured area indoors for the duration of the event.

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ASPCA App Seeks to Prevent Lost Pets

ASPCA(NEW YORK) — Nearly one in five lost pets goes missing after being scared by the sound of fireworks, thunderstorms or other loud noises, according to a recent survey by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, making the Fourth of July a high-risk holiday for animal owners.

In an effort to lower the number of lost pets this year, the ASPCA has just released its first app designed to help pet parents locate Fido as quickly as possible.

“What’s so unique about the app — and how it will help pet owners — is that instead of simply adding photos of their lost pets to a database where it might easily get lost in a sea of other lost pet photos, the ASPCA app gives pet owners an individual search plan with customized action steps based on their pet’s unique personality and the circumstances of how they were lost,” an ASPCA spokeswoman told ABC News. “In an emergency where every second counts, the ability to search more quickly and efficiently is crucial.”

The app offers users a personalized recovery kit with step-by-step instructions on how to search for a lost animal under various scenarios, as well as offering preventative safety tips for before and during natural disasters.

Other features of note: Medical records and photos can be uploaded onto the app to create a digital “lost pet” flyer that can be shared across social media networks in the event of an emergency.

“We don’t have any individual case studies yet, but our survey found that most lost pets (58 percent) were recovered through some action taken by owners or others, including using ID tags and microchips, searching the neighborhood, checking with local shelters or animal control, and distributing flyers or posters,” said the ASPCA spokeswoman. “We hope to collect data — and happy tales of reunions — through the app.”

To decrease the likelihood of a pet bolting during a fireworks display, the ASPCA encourages owners to keep their animals in a quiet, secured area indoors for the duration of the event.

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Woman on Tracks Survives Three Subway Trains in NYC

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A woman who fell into the subway tracks in New York City’s Times Square survived three passing trains by hiding in the wells between tracks.

Mary Downey, 22, fell onto the tracks accidentally early Sunday morning just as a train was approaching, according to the New York Post.

Downey injured her shoulder and hip when she fell, but was able to position herself underneath the platform, in the small space next to the tracks, the New York Police Department told ABC News Monday.

After two trains passed by Downey, a third train came through and its driver spotted Downey, according to the Post. The driver of the train called for help and emergency crews extracted her from beneath the train.

“She was lucky enough to have, it looks like to us, rolled to the platform and was in between the platform and the train when the train came into the station,” FDNY Battalion Chief Mike Meyers told the Post.

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Hobby Lobby Wins Contraceptive Ruling in Supreme Court

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Companies are not required to pay for employees’ contraceptives for women if they have religious objections, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The justices’ decision came in a 5-4 ruling in the much anticipated case.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion and Ginsburg wrote the main dissent

The court holds: “As applied to closely held corporations the HHS regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violate RFRA.”

Alito wrote that “RFRA applies to regulations that govern the activities of closely held for profit corporations like Conestoga and Hobby Lobby” and the “The HHS contraceptive mandate substantially burdens the exercise of religion.”

“The Government has failed to show that the contraceptive mandate is the least restrict means of furthering that interest,” according to the majority opinion.

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Hobby Lobby Wins Contraceptive Ruling in Supreme Court

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Companies are not required to pay for employees’ contraceptives for women if they have religious objections, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The justices’ decision came in a 5-4 ruling in the much anticipated case.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion and Ginsburg wrote the main dissent

The court holds: “As applied to closely held corporations the HHS regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violate RFRA.”

Alito wrote that “RFRA applies to regulations that govern the activities of closely held for profit corporations like Conestoga and Hobby Lobby” and the “The HHS contraceptive mandate substantially burdens the exercise of religion.”

“The Government has failed to show that the contraceptive mandate is the least restrict means of furthering that interest,” according to the majority opinion.

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Two-Time Marine Deserter Surrenders After Nine-Year Disappearance

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Marine Cpl. Wassef Hassoun, a two time deserter, has turned himself in to military authorities after nine years on the run.

In 2004, Hassoun disappeared in Iraq, and though he claimed he was kidnapped by Iraqi militants, he was later charged as a deserter. He deserted a second time after he had been brought back to the United States and was labeled a deserter.

In a statement the Marine Corps announced that Hassoun’s status had changed from deserter to “military control.”

According to the statement, “the Naval Criminal Investigative Service worked with Cpl. Hassoun to turn himself in and return to the United States to face charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”

Hassoun, 34, turned himself over to authorities in Norfolk, Va. He is expected to return to Camp Lejuene, N.C., on Monday where his case will be adjudicated.

The former Marine interpreter first disappeared from a Marine camp in Fallujah, Iraq, in June 2004. Shortly after he disappeared, a video materialized showing him blindfolded with his alleged captors threatening to behead him unless demands to release prisoners were met.

Nevertheless, two weeks later Hassoun walked unharmed into the U.S. embassy in his native Lebanon.

A subsequent investigation determined that despite his assertions that he had been kidnapped, he had in fact deserted.

He disappeared again after an authorized leave to his home town of West Jordan, Utah. He was listed as a deserter after he failed to report to duty on Jan. 5, 2005.

At that time, Hassoun already faced prosecution for desertion charges resulting from his strange disappearance in Iraq.

There has been speculation that Hassoun spent part of the last nine years in Lebanon. The Marine press release indicates he was overseas before his return to the United States.

Hassoun’s desertion case will draw comparisons to that of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl who recently returned to the United States following five years in captivity by the Taliban.

Unlike Bergdahl, whose disappearance from a remote outpost in eastern Afghanistan is still being investigated, Hassoun’s 2004 disappearance in Iraq was determined to be a desertion. It was while his case was being processed that he deserted a second time. He could now face criminal charges for both desertions.

The new investigation into Bergdahl’s disappearance began two weeks ago and is slated to conclude in Mid-August.

It will determine whether there was any misconduct involved in Bergdahl’s disappearance from his remote outpost in eastern Afghanistan.

According to officials familiar with the contents of the Army’s 2009 investigation of Bergdahl’s case, the report determined that he’d left his outpost voluntarily, but could not determine whether he intended to return.

Bergdahl continues to receive treatment and counseling at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, though now as an outpatient.

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Man Accused of Leaving Son to Die in Hot SUV Barred from Funeral

iStock/Thinkstock(MARIETTA, Ga.) — The man accused of killing his 22-month-old son by leaving him in a sweltering hot SUV for seven hours was not allowed to attend the boy’s funeral Saturday.

Instead, Justin Harris listened to Cooper Harris’ memorial service via phone from his jail cell in Marietta, Georgia.

Harris has pleaded not guilty to felony murder and child cruelty charges

The case has made national headlines as some have sided with Harris, believing his story that he completely forgot about the boy when he went to work in the morning and only discovered the child’s lifeless body when he returned after work.

However, supporters have backed away from their online petition after police raised doubts about the father’s account of the incident. Police revealed that Harris allegedly had returned to his vehicle during his workday, and also drove a short distance after work before supposedly realizing his son was in the car. Police did not say how they know that.

There are also reports that Harris, 33, researched child deaths in hot cars on the Internet, according to warrant, claiming that he was worried it could happen to his son.

“I think that based on recent developments this petition is no longer relevant,” read a note on the Change.org petition originally launched to help Justin Harris.

The petition was closed after reaching more than 11,000 signatures from people who believed Harris had “loved his son immensely” and didn’t deserve to be charged with murder for “a horrible accident.”

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Winning Turns Ugly at Beauty Pageant

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — There she goes, the former Miss Florida.

Less than a week into her reign, Elizabeth Fechtel’s crown was taken away but not because of anything she did. The pageant organization blamed the snafu on a tabulation error.

Apparently, a judge allegedly made a change on a score sheet that was not caught until the points for each contestant were later reviewed.

Now, first runner-up Victoria Cohen gets the crown and will compete in the Miss America pageant while Fechtel becomes a footnote.

According to beauty pageant coach Valerie Hayes, mistakes like this can cost more than a crown.

“You really need to pay attention, because it really does impact these girls’ self-esteem, their eligibility for scholarships, and sometimes their future career path,” Hayes said. “This is the worst nightmare in every pageant director’s life and it’s a lose-lose situation.”

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United Airlines Flight Diverted After Emergency Evacuation Slide Deploys

iStock Editorial(WICHITA, Kan.) — A United Airlines flight from Chicago to California was diverted to Wichita, Kan. Sunday after the plane’s emergency evacuation slide accidentally deployed, an airline spokesperson told ABC News.

United Airlines Flight 1463 was carrying 96 passengers and five crew members on board. All passengers were seated at the time the slide deployed, an airline spokesperson said.

“No one was injured and the flight landed safely,” the airline said in a statement.

The airline is providing hotel accommodations for the passengers, and a new flight will depart Wichita Monday morning.

A maintenance team is inspecting the aircraft to determine why the slide deployed.

This is not the first time a flight was diverted after a slide deployed. A JetBlue plane was diverted in November 2013 after an evacuation slide was activated. A similar situation also occurred on then-Sen. Barack Obama’s plane during the 2008 presidential race.

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Father of Toddler Killed in Hot Car Researched Child Deaths, Warrant Says

iStock/Thinkstock(COBB COUNTY, Ga.) — The father of a Georgia toddler who died in a hot car allegedly looked online for information about the dangers of overheated cars before the tragedy.

Cobb County authorities claim that, according to search warrants, Jason Harris specifically searched for “child deaths inside vehicles and what temperature it needs to be for that to occur.”

Additionally, according to new warrants released Sunday, Harris’ wife Leanna Harris told police she also researched car deaths.

Jason Harris, who remains in jail, used a speaker phone to call into his child’s funeral Saturday and thank people for their support.

He is being held without bond.

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