Review Category : National News

Ford Recalling 83,250 Vehicles for Possible Power Loss Problem

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Ford Motor Company is recalling about 83,250 vehicles after reports that an improperly installed part could cause the vehicles to lose power or roll away when parked.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that the recall includes Ford Edge, Taurus and Flex vehicles and Lincoln MKX, MKS and MKT vehicles manufactured between 2010 and 2013. The NHTSA says that a halfshaft retention circlip may have been incorrectly installed in those vehicles. Such an issue could cause power to cease being transmitted to the wheels, placing the vehicle at risk of a crash. Vehicles could also roll away when placed in park, unless the parking brake is applied.

Ford intends to notify owners, and free repairs are expected to begin by the end of August.

It was not clear whether any injuries or accidents have occurred because of this defect.

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Missing Amish Girls Found Alive, Amber Alert Cancelled

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Two missing Amish girls in northern New York was found alive tonight and the Amber Alert for them was cancelled.

Police did not release any additional information, but applause erupted at the search command center.

According to District Attorney Mary Rain, a car dropped the girls off in Richville, N.Y. The girls then walked to the nearest house, where a male resident recognized them from the news coverage. Rain said that the girls “seem to be healthy.” She also noted that it is possible that multiple people were involved in the girls’ abduction.

The family of Delila Miller, 6, and Fannie Miller, 12, had agreed to work with a sketch artist on an image of the elder child, providing a vital tool to investigators because Amish religious beliefs preclude taking photographs.

“It’s a belief within the Amish community, so we did really well to get this sketch,” St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells said.

He added that it was the family’s decision to not have an artist’s rendering of their younger girl.

Another barrier has been that the family speaks mainly Pennsylvania Dutch, the traditional language of the Amish, authorities said. The girls have heavy accents, though the 12-year-old speaks English, Wells told the local ABC News affiliate.

The girls went to wait on a customer at the family’s roadside stand Wednesday night in Oswegatchie, a rural town located near the Canadian border. Police said a witness saw a vehicle put something in the backseat. When the car drove away, the witness told police the children were gone.

Wells said it was “a very short period of time” between when the family realized the girls were missing and when authorities were notified.

He said police were alerted from a call made at an English-speaking residence that owns a telephone. Amish families do not have modern conveniences such as telephones, let alone cellphones.

Both girls were last seen wearing dark blue dresses with blue aprons and black bonnets, authorities said.

Despite the cultural differences, Wells said the community has been rallying together to help search for the missing girls.

“This is something that’s against what we all believe in,” he said.

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ACLU Files Lawsuits to Make Ferguson Incident Report Public, Allow Recording of Police

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(FERGUSON, Mo.) — The American Civil Liberties Union filed a pair of lawsuits on Thursday that aims to make public the name of the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown on Saturday and make the protest situation in Ferguson more safe.

In the first lawsuit, the ACLU of Missouri urged the St. Louis County Police Department to release a copy of the incident report for Brown’s shooting under the Missouri Sunshine Law. The law, according to the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, aims to represent the “embodiment of Missouri’s commitment to openness in government.” Under the law, matters of public record are considered, with few exceptions, to be transparent and open to the public.

The ACLU said that its request for the incident report “is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operation or activities” of the St. Louis County Police Department.

Included in the filing is a response that the ACLU says it received from the department, in which it was told records could not be released due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.

The second lawsuit was filed on behalf of Mustafa Hussein, who has, according to the filing, “recorded the interactions of the police and demonstrators on public streets and sidewalks within the City of Ferguson and who would like to do so in the future.” The suit asks a judge to end the police policy of “demanding and ordering members of the media and public to stop recording the police acting in their official duty on public streets and sidewalks” and declare such a policy a violation of constitutional rights.

That lawsuit names the city of Ferguson, St. Louis County and the Missouri State Highway Patrol as defendants.

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Search for Missing Amish Girls Complicated by Cultural Barriers

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In the search for two missing Amish girls, authorities in upstate New York face barriers unlike any other they have encountered before, including the fact that they don’t have photographs of the two girls.

The family of Delila Miller, 6, and Fannie Miller, 12, agreed to work with a sketch artist on an image of the elder child, providing a vital tool to investigators because Amish religious beliefs preclude taking photographs.

“It’s a belief within the Amish community, so we did really well to get this sketch,” St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells said.

He added that it was the family’s decision to not have an artist’s rendering of their younger girl.

Another barrier has been that the family speaks mainly Pennsylvania Dutch, the traditional language of the Amish, authorities said. The girls have heavy accents, though the 12-year-old speaks English, Wells told the local ABC News affiliate.

The girls went to wait on a customer at the family’s roadside stand Wednesday night in Oswegatchie, a rural town located near the Canadian border. Police said a witness saw a vehicle put something in the backseat. When the car drove away, the witness told police the children were gone.

Wells said it was “a very short period of time” between when the family realized the girls were missing and when authorities were notified.

He said police were alerted from a call made at an English-speaking residence that owns a telephone. Amish families do not have modern conveniences such as telephones, let alone cellphones.

Both girls were last seen wearing dark blue dresses with blue aprons and black bonnets, authorities said.

Despite the cultural differences, Wells said the community has been rallying together to help search for the missing girls.

“This is something that’s against what we all believe in,” he said.

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Accused Love Triangle Killer Looked Up Info About Unsolved Murders

ABC News(GAINESVILLE, Fla.) — The Florida college student accused of killing his friend out of jealousy over an ex-girlfriend had searched the Internet for information about unsolved murders, chloroform, sleeping pills and alibis, he said in court Thursday.

As he was cross-examined by prosecutors in his murder trial Thursday, Pedro Bravo told jurors he had searched for all those terms in the days before he got into a physical fight with his friend, Christian Aguilar, who was later found dead in a forest.

Bravo is accused of killing Aguilar after taking him for a drive one night in September 2012 to discuss Aguilar’s relationship with Bravo’s ex-girlfriend, Erika Friman. Bravo and Aguilar had been friends, but Bravo was “crushed” to learn that Aguilar and Friman were dating.

Prosecutors allege Bravo poisoned and beat Aguilar, then hid his body. Bravo has pleaded not guilty and claims that he and Aguilar got in a physical fight only that night. Aguilar’s body was found 22 days later in a forest.

During cross-examination, Bravo admitted that he turned off his cellphone, drove away from campus, and got in a fight with Aguilar. Aguilar’s blood and vomit where then found in the back of Bravo’s car, which Bravo took to get washed at 2 a.m. before doing laundry for the clothes he was wearing at 3 a.m., he admitted in cross-examination Thursday.

Prosecutors displayed written entries from a sketch pad that described Bravo’s plans for having someone use his debit card to make purchases as a form of an alibi, as well as other plans they allege were about the killing.

Bravo’s attorneys, meanwhile, displayed a suicide note in court in support of their argument that Bravo was only with Aguilar that night to discuss suicide before the pair got in a fight.

“He got out of the car and I fought him and after that, I remember going in the car and I remember seeing him in my rearview mirror while I was driving away,” Bravo told police during an interrogation, according to a recording of the interview played in court.

Prosecutors agree that Bravo drove away, but they allege that he did so with Aguilar’s body in the back of his SUV, later stashing it in a remote field.

Bravo also addressed the claim that he had asked the iPhone application Siri for help in hiding a victim’s body. The prosecution had displayed for the jury a grab from Bravo’s iPhone that asked Siri, “I need to hide my roommate.”

The grab showed a supposed response from Siri that replied, “What kind of place are you looking for?” and listed swamps, reservoirs, metal foundries and dumps.

Bravo said that the image was not a grab from the Siri app on his phone, but rather an image from a joke website that he visited. The image was actually making fun of Siri’s odd responses to inquiries, he said, and the image had cached on his phone.

Earlier, police Det. Matt Goeckel had conceded that Bravo’s iPhone did not have Siri capability and that the image was a cached photo.

Several news outlets, including ABC News, initially reported that the prosecution contended that Bravo had asked Siri for help in deciding where to hide a body. The Gainesville Police Department tweeted Wednesday that “GPD Det. Goeckel certainly did not testify to that.”

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Howard Students ‘Surrender’ in Solidarity with Michael Brown

Ikenna Ikeotuonye(WASHINGTON) — Howard University students posed for a powerful image of themselves standing en masse with their hands in a “surrender” pose as a sign of solidarity with Michael Brown.

Howard University student body vice president Ikenna Ikeotuonye took the photo.

Brown was an 18-year-old, unarmed African American teen who was shot multiple times by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday, according to police.

Howard University students who were on campus to help freshmen move into dorms posed for the picture.

Iketuonye said that an alumna of the university had been shot in the head during protests in Ferguson this week, apparently by a rubber bullet.

“It really hits close to home,” Iketuonye told ABC News.

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Howard Students ‘Surrender’ in Solidarity with Michael Brown

Ikenna Ikeotuonye(WASHINGTON) — Howard University students posed for a powerful image of themselves standing en masse with their hands in a “surrender” pose as a sign of solidarity with Michael Brown.

Howard University student body vice president Ikenna Ikeotuonye took the photo.

Brown was an 18-year-old, unarmed African American teen who was shot multiple times by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday, according to police.

Howard University students who were on campus to help freshmen move into dorms posed for the picture.

Iketuonye said that an alumna of the university had been shot in the head during protests in Ferguson this week, apparently by a rubber bullet.

“It really hits close to home,” Iketuonye told ABC News.

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New Jersey Man Taken Aback by ISIS Flag Flap

Marc Leibowitz/Twitter(GARWOOD, N.J.) — A photo of a New Jersey home flying a flag that resembled the flag of ISIS, the militant group being bombed by U.S. planes in Iraq, sparked alarm and a complaint to the Department of Homeland Security — but the home’s occupant said he meant no offense and was just expressing his religion.

Mark Dunaway told ABC News that he’s flown that black flag for the 10 years he’s lived in Garwood, New Jersey.

“I’m Muslim, and I fly a flag in front of my home that says I’m a Muslim,” he said.

Dunaway has flown the black flag — which bears the Arabic inscription familiar to Muslims, “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God” — every year during Ramadan, and every single Friday, he said. Having already had the flag up during Ramadan, he originally planned to keep it up until Friday.

However, after the Garwood Police Department received a complaint about the flag, officers visited Dunaway’s home on Tuesday.

“The Garwood Police follow up with any complaint received,” Police Chief Bruce Underhill said in a statement to ABC News.

“Police came by that day on a matter of safety,” Dunaway said. “I had no idea until they pointed it out to me. My reaction was, ‘Are you serious?’”

“Mr. Dunaway was very receptive when we approached him with our concerns and he voluntarily took the flag down,” said Chief Underhill.

Dunaway, surprised at the complaint, realized the extent of the controversy when he saw the photo of his home posted on Twitter.

“It totally caught me off guard that someone was offended to that extent,” Dunaway said.

Marc Leibowitz, who posted the photo to Twitter, told ABC News that he was sent the photo by a friend and alerted Homeland Security.

Leibowitz said he doubted a member of ISIS would openly fly the flag, but that the situation was “disturbing and worth looking into,” and that he “thought Homeland Security and any relevant authorities should probably be notified.”

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told ABC News the flag is different from the ISIS flag and its message is something most Muslims are familiar with.

“The flag is a profession of Muslim faith,” Hooper said.

“Every Muslim in America has this phrase somewhere in their home,” Hopper added. “This man just chose to put it on a flag.”

“This is not the ISIS flag,” said Hooper, noting that the ISIS flag has an additional phrase on the bottom that makes reference to the “Islamic State.”

Hooper added that ISIS is a relatively new organization and Dunaway’s flag flying predates it.

“It got totally taken out of context,” said Dunaway. “I am not affiliated with any type of militant group. It was just my way of expressing my religion.”

After hearing Dunaway’s explanation, Leibowitz acknowledged Dunaway’s First Amendment right, saying, “I don’t think he should be restricted from flying the flag, but I think it is a breach of good taste.”

Some residents continue to harbor negative feelings.

“There have been a few threats to damage Mr. Dunaway’s residence on various social media outlets,” said Chief Underhill. “This is unacceptable.”

Dunaway said he is Muslim, but also “American-born and -raised” and did not mean to offend anyone.

He has since replaced the black flag with a San Diego Chargers flag, saying, “I just want this situation to go away.”

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New Jersey Man Taken Aback by ISIS Flag Flap

Marc Leibowitz/Twitter(GARWOOD, N.J.) — A photo of a New Jersey home flying a flag that resembled the flag of ISIS, the militant group being bombed by U.S. planes in Iraq, sparked alarm and a complaint to the Department of Homeland Security — but the home’s occupant said he meant no offense and was just expressing his religion.

Mark Dunaway told ABC News that he’s flown that black flag for the 10 years he’s lived in Garwood, New Jersey.

“I’m Muslim, and I fly a flag in front of my home that says I’m a Muslim,” he said.

Dunaway has flown the black flag — which bears the Arabic inscription familiar to Muslims, “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God” — every year during Ramadan, and every single Friday, he said. Having already had the flag up during Ramadan, he originally planned to keep it up until Friday.

However, after the Garwood Police Department received a complaint about the flag, officers visited Dunaway’s home on Tuesday.

“The Garwood Police follow up with any complaint received,” Police Chief Bruce Underhill said in a statement to ABC News.

“Police came by that day on a matter of safety,” Dunaway said. “I had no idea until they pointed it out to me. My reaction was, ‘Are you serious?’”

“Mr. Dunaway was very receptive when we approached him with our concerns and he voluntarily took the flag down,” said Chief Underhill.

Dunaway, surprised at the complaint, realized the extent of the controversy when he saw the photo of his home posted on Twitter.

“It totally caught me off guard that someone was offended to that extent,” Dunaway said.

Marc Leibowitz, who posted the photo to Twitter, told ABC News that he was sent the photo by a friend and alerted Homeland Security.

Leibowitz said he doubted a member of ISIS would openly fly the flag, but that the situation was “disturbing and worth looking into,” and that he “thought Homeland Security and any relevant authorities should probably be notified.”

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told ABC News the flag is different from the ISIS flag and its message is something most Muslims are familiar with.

“The flag is a profession of Muslim faith,” Hooper said.

“Every Muslim in America has this phrase somewhere in their home,” Hopper added. “This man just chose to put it on a flag.”

“This is not the ISIS flag,” said Hooper, noting that the ISIS flag has an additional phrase on the bottom that makes reference to the “Islamic State.”

Hooper added that ISIS is a relatively new organization and Dunaway’s flag flying predates it.

“It got totally taken out of context,” said Dunaway. “I am not affiliated with any type of militant group. It was just my way of expressing my religion.”

After hearing Dunaway’s explanation, Leibowitz acknowledged Dunaway’s First Amendment right, saying, “I don’t think he should be restricted from flying the flag, but I think it is a breach of good taste.”

Some residents continue to harbor negative feelings.

“There have been a few threats to damage Mr. Dunaway’s residence on various social media outlets,” said Chief Underhill. “This is unacceptable.”

Dunaway said he is Muslim, but also “American-born and -raised” and did not mean to offend anyone.

He has since replaced the black flag with a San Diego Chargers flag, saying, “I just want this situation to go away.”

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Alligator Captured at Texas School’s Doorstep

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(KATY, Texas) — A lot of people get excited about the start of the new school year, apparently including at least one 7-foot-long alligator in a Houston suburb.

An employee at Beck Junior High School in Katy, Texas, spotted the gator around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday holding its ground right outside one of the school’s doors.

School employees called police to take the alligator away and make sure it is not there when students return for their first day of school on Aug. 25.

“One of our deputies is kind of a veteran at doing this type of thing,” Bob Haenel of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office told ABC News. “After several attempts of trying to rope the alligator, he managed to put a towel over the gator’s head to calm him down and then roped him.”

The alligator was transported to a more “natural habitat” away from the school, Haenel said, adding that it might have come from a nearby bayou.

The Sheriff’s Office tweeted a photo of the gator Wednesday.

“I think the whole thing was over by around 10:30 a.m.,” Haenel said.

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