Review Category : National News

Climbers Clawing Their Way Near Top of El Capitan’s Dawn Wall

Courtesy Brett Lowell(MARIPOSA COUNTY, Calif.) — Two men were on the verge of making history Sunday, nearing the top of Yosemite National Park’s legendary El Capitan, using only their hands and feet to climb the nearly vertical Dawn Wall.

Free-climber Tommy Caldwell was just a thousand feet from the top, but he was determined to wait for fellow climber Kevin Jorgeson, who had fallen behind after struggling to scale some of the most difficult parts of the ascent.

But Jorgeson said in a Facebook post that “momentum has returned to my side.”

After the turn in his fortunes, Jorgeson was just a few hundred feet behind Caldwell late Sunday, high up the steep half-mile wall of granite that faces east towards the sun.

Over the course of the climb, which began Dec. 27, they have been sleeping in nylon tents that are anchored to the wall at only one point.

“If you look at that wall, it looks like glass,” said Big Up Productions filmmaker Josh Lowell, who has been filming their climbs for the past six years. “It’s really difficult to imagine how anyone could free-climb it.”

They’ve been eating their packed hard-boiled eggs and breakfast sandwiches with salmon and getting caffeine boosts from their flasks of coffee.

The adventurers have been able to stay in touch with their loved ones, and perfect strangers, using a cellphone and even hosted a tweet chat Monday, though they’re avoiding calls because they want to stay focused on the climb.

“Pretty exciting, um, but it’s far from over yet,” Jorgeson said in a video released from the sixth day of the climb.

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Climbers Clawing Their Way Near Top of El Capitan’s Dawn Wall

Courtesy Brett Lowell(MARIPOSA COUNTY, Calif.) — Two men were on the verge of making history Sunday, nearing the top of Yosemite National Park’s legendary El Capitan, using only their hands and feet to climb the nearly vertical Dawn Wall.

Free-climber Tommy Caldwell was just a thousand feet from the top, but he was determined to wait for fellow climber Kevin Jorgeson, who had fallen behind after struggling to scale some of the most difficult parts of the ascent.

But Jorgeson said in a Facebook post that “momentum has returned to my side.”

After the turn in his fortunes, Jorgeson was just a few hundred feet behind Caldwell late Sunday, high up the steep half-mile wall of granite that faces east towards the sun.

Over the course of the climb, which began Dec. 27, they have been sleeping in nylon tents that are anchored to the wall at only one point.

“If you look at that wall, it looks like glass,” said Big Up Productions filmmaker Josh Lowell, who has been filming their climbs for the past six years. “It’s really difficult to imagine how anyone could free-climb it.”

They’ve been eating their packed hard-boiled eggs and breakfast sandwiches with salmon and getting caffeine boosts from their flasks of coffee.

The adventurers have been able to stay in touch with their loved ones, and perfect strangers, using a cellphone and even hosted a tweet chat Monday, though they’re avoiding calls because they want to stay focused on the climb.

“Pretty exciting, um, but it’s far from over yet,” Jorgeson said in a video released from the sixth day of the climb.

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Standoff Ends Peacefully at Texas Hospital

KTRK-TV(TOMBALL, Texas) — A standoff inside a Texas hospital involving a man distraught about his son’s medical condition came to a peaceful end on Saturday.

The man who barricaded himself inside a room at the Tomball Regional Medical Center with his son surrendered without incident, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Tomball is located about 30 miles northwest of Houston.

Authorities said the man was distraught about his son’s medical condition and his threats were enough to require the Harris County Sheriff’s Office High Risk Operation Unit to be called in, according to ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV.

“I don’t have all the details as far as how he was threatening others, but it was a situation that required the high risk operations unit to be contacted to get the situation under control,” said Harris County Sheriff’s Lt. Joe Ambriz in a news conference on Sunday.

The standoff lasted nearly four hours, beginning around 7 p.m. CT and ending shortly before 11 p.m. CT with the suspect’s surrender.

Ambriz said the said the man surrendered after a SWAT team was called him.

“He did remain in the patient’s room and would not exit the patient’s room, which in and of itself was concerning,” Ambriz said. “ Fortunately, he was taken into custody without any further incident.”

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Former Miami Dolphin Player Remains in Hospital After Falling from Boat off Florida Coast

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(PALM BEACH, Fla.) — A former NFL player remains in the hospital after he fell off a boat and swam about nine miles to the Florida shore, his wife said.

Robert Konrad, who played for the Dolphins from 1999 to 2004, was fishing offshore when he fell from his boat as he was trying to reel in a fish Wednesday night off the coast of Florida near Palm Beach, Coast Guard Petty Officer Mark Barney said.

Facing darkness, 10-foot waves, 25-mile-per-hour winds, and with his boat moving away on autopilot, he started out to swim for shore.

The boat was recovered Friday in Grand Bahama Island with the autopilot still on, according to ABC News affiliate WPBF-TV in Palm Beach.

Konrad said he was in the water for about 10 to 12 hours, swimming approximately nine miles to shore, according to the Coast Guard.

He reached land Thursday morning and was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital after exhibiting signs of hypothermia.

His wife, Tammy, said on Saturday he was still in the hospital.

“It is just incomprehensible that this gentleman survived actually, because your temperature is going to drop,” Dr. Scott McFarland with the Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center told WPBF-TV.

“It’s almost guaranteed he has muscle damage, muscle cell breakdown, rhabdomyolysis that injures your kidneys, but it’s a testament to a strong heart and a tough body and wickedly strong constitution that he made it,” McFarland said.

Konrad, a Massachusetts native, is a graduate of Syracuse University.

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North Carolina Woman Accidentally Shoots Husband After Mistaking Him for Intruder

John Roman/iStock/Thinkstock(FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) — A North Carolina woman accidentally shot her husband after mistaking him for an intruder as he was coming to surprise her with breakfast in bed, police said on Saturday.

Tiffany Segule was in bed Friday morning when she shot her husband Zia Segule, a Fort Bragg soldier, Fayetteville, North Carolina, police told ABC News affiliate WTVD-TV.

Zia, 28, had reportedly left for work earlier in the morning, and then came home to surprise Tiffany, 27, with breakfast.

When the home alarm sounded, Tiffany shot him through the closed bedroom door, police said.

Zia, who was shot in the chest, has since been released from the hospital.

“She was doing what she felt was right and to defend herself at that time,” Fayetteville Police Department Det. Antoine Kincade said.

“Until you’re in that position, none of us can really say what we’re going to do,” neighbor Debbie Lauterbach told WTVD-TV.

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California Man Sentenced in $36 Million Airline Fraud Scheme

Brian Sweeney/iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — A California man was sentenced on Friday to 10 years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to defraud an airline out of millions of dollars.

Federal prosecutors in Atlanta said Michael Yedor, 62, of Los Angeles, stole $36 million from Northwest Airlines — and continued on after Northwest merged with Delta Airlines.

Between 1999 and 2013, prosecutors say Yedor submitted fake invoices on behalf of a company he claimed to own for services that were never provided.

Yedor, who pleaded guilty to fraud, is accused of sending the invoices to a friend who worked for the airline and would approve the payments in return for a kickback.

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Golden Gate Bridge Shuts to Install Safety Barrier

FiledIMAGE/iStock/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) — The iconic Golden Gate Bridge is closed until early Monday morning for some very important safety upgrades.

Workers began installing a moveable barrier late Friday night to separate opposing traffic in an effort to prevent head-on crashes.

Since 1970, there have been 128 head-on collisions on the bridge, resulting in the deaths of 16 people.

Bridge spokesperson Priya Clements said the 52-hour closure will be the longest in the bridge’s history.

“In 1962, we started lane management here on the bridge and that was brand new, innovative across the country. So we’re excited to have another innovative step to have the narrowest median barrier ever being right here on the Golden Gate Bridge,” said Clements.

Alisha Ascensio, who lives near the bridge, is looking forward to the change. She said driving across the span can be frightening.

“Pretty much everyone knows the middle lane or the scary lane, you know what’re you’re talking about, the lane where you’re right next to oncoming traffic, you can almost hear the cars or feel them kind of go past you,” she said.

But not everyone is excited about the changes. Patricia Seeley, who also lives near the bridge, is concerned about the new median taking six inches off each center lane.

“It’s already kind of tight as it is so to take six more inches off it seems like a bit but I think people just have to slow down,” she said.

Installation of the safety barrier is expected to be completed just in time for the morning rush hour on Monday.

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California Girl Back Home After Family Chases Down Alleged Abductor

shiyali/iStock/Thinkstock(SANTA CLARITA, Calif.) — A 3-year-old girl who was kidnapped from her home is back with her family after relatives took matters into their own hands and chased down her alleged abductor.

Authorities said Ethan Odom, 37, was arrested Thursday night after he allegedly pulled the screen off a window at the family’s home north of Los Angeles, just after 7 p.m., and allegedly snatched the girl.

“He picked her up and took her,” said Adriana Hernandez, the girl’s aunt. “I think we were never gonna see her again.”

Authorities said the little girl and her 4-year-old sister had been watching TV together when a man reached in.

The girl’s sister reportedly ran into the living room and told their father what happened.

He then rushed outside with the girl’s uncle, who ran down the street after the suspect, the family said. The uncle was then able to pin the suspect to a wall.

“These people were able to chase down the suspect and were able to regain custody of their daughter,” said Joshua Dubin of the Los Angeles County’s Sheriff’s Department.

The girl was not harmed.

Authorities said there was no relation between Odom and the girl and her family.

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FBI: Bombing Near Colorado Springs NAACP Office Was Deliberate

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) — The FBI held a news conference on Friday in which they said that they believe that the bomb detonated near an office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Colorado Springs was a deliberate act.

The FBI announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the capture of those responsible. Still, the agency does not have a suspect or a motive for the incident.

The FBI said it would release a sketch of a possible suspect who was spotted in the area by witnesses.

They did not provide details about the explosive device, though it is believed to have been homemade. It was also unclear whether the NAACP office was the intended target of the bombing.

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Greek Life Reinstated on UVA Campus

Alessandro Drago/iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — Greek life was reinstated on Friday on the campus of the University of Virginia.

The school banned all Greek social activities on Nov. 22 after a Rolling Stone article detailed an alleged gang rape at a fraternity house on campus. Though the veracity of the article has been questioned, the school has still taken action — requiring “sober monitors” at all fraternity parties, the addition of a new police substation and increased security patrols, among other safety measures.

UVA spokesperson Anthony de Bruyn told ABC News on Friday that “it has always been the expectation that fraternities and sororities abide by the law and the University’s Standards of Conduct, in addition to the requirements outlined in the Fraternal Organization Agreement prior to the new addenda authorized earlier this week.” Still, de Bruyn noted that the fraternity houses are privately owned and operated.

The Spring semester at UVA is scheduled to begin on Monday.

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