Review Category : National News

DHS Places Restrictions on Passengers Entering US from West Africa

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — All U.S.-bound travelers coming from West African countries where there have been Ebola outbreaks will have to fly into one of five American airports, the Department of Homeland Security announced on Tuesday.

Specifically, beginning on Wednesday, any passengers arriving in the United States who started their travel in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea will be required to fly into JFK International Airport in New York, Newark International Airport in New Jersey, Dulles International Airport outside Washington, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta or O’Hare Internal Airport in Chicago.

All five hubs had already established “enhanced screening and additional resources” for extra screening of passengers believed to have come from Ebola-stricken areas, according to DHS.

“We are continually evaluating whether additional restrictions or added screening and precautionary measures are necessary to protect the American people and will act accordingly,” DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement.

The five airports where certain passengers will now be required to arrive in the United States account for about 94 percent of travelers flying into the country from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to Johnson.

Johnson said his department is “working closely” with airlines to implement the new travel restrictions and minimize “travel disruption,” but he said any passengers who need to rebook their travel should contact the airlines directly.

A top lawmaker from New York, Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, called the move “a good and effective step towards tightening the net and further protecting our citizens,” saying in a statement that it “provides an added layer of protection against Ebola entering our country.”

The new restrictions come one day after Johnson spoke with Customs and Border Protection officers serving at the five airports.

“I reminded our CBP officers to be vigilant in their efforts, and encouraged them to set a calm example for an American public nervous about Ebola,” Johnson said.

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DHS Places Restrictions on Passengers Entering US from West Africa

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — All U.S.-bound travelers coming from West African countries where there have been Ebola outbreaks will have to fly into one of five American airports, the Department of Homeland Security announced on Tuesday.

Specifically, beginning on Wednesday, any passengers arriving in the United States who started their travel in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea will be required to fly into JFK International Airport in New York, Newark International Airport in New Jersey, Dulles International Airport outside Washington, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta or O’Hare Internal Airport in Chicago.

All five hubs had already established “enhanced screening and additional resources” for extra screening of passengers believed to have come from Ebola-stricken areas, according to DHS.

“We are continually evaluating whether additional restrictions or added screening and precautionary measures are necessary to protect the American people and will act accordingly,” DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement.

The five airports where certain passengers will now be required to arrive in the United States account for about 94 percent of travelers flying into the country from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to Johnson.

Johnson said his department is “working closely” with airlines to implement the new travel restrictions and minimize “travel disruption,” but he said any passengers who need to rebook their travel should contact the airlines directly.

A top lawmaker from New York, Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, called the move “a good and effective step towards tightening the net and further protecting our citizens,” saying in a statement that it “provides an added layer of protection against Ebola entering our country.”

The new restrictions come one day after Johnson spoke with Customs and Border Protection officers serving at the five airports.

“I reminded our CBP officers to be vigilant in their efforts, and encouraged them to set a calm example for an American public nervous about Ebola,” Johnson said.

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After $175M Verdict, Feds to Examine Widely-Used Guardrails

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The federal agency that a court found was misled and defrauded by a leading guardrail company is taking a hard look at whether the company’s guardrails — some of the most widely-used on America’s roads — should continue to protect American drivers.

“The Federal Highway Administration [FHWA] will evaluate the findings of the Trinity case and consider whether it affects the continued eligibility of the ET-Plus guardrail end terminal,” Department of Transportation spokesperson Brian Farber told ABC News in an email late Monday evening. “Separately, the FHWA continues to review the Trinity guardrail end terminal service record.”

The announcement came hours after a Texas jury ordered Texas-based Trinity Industries, the guardrail maker, to pay $175 million in damages after it was shown to have modified a component of the guardrails — the end terminal — back in 2005 without telling the U.S. government or any state transportation departments until years later.

Josh Harman, a competitor of Trinity’s, filed suit against the company for fraud, but also alleged that the modified end terminal made the guardrails more dangerous for motorists.

The modified guardrail end terminal, called the ET-Plus system, was the subject of an ABC News’ 20/20 investigation last month.

Harman and accident victims told ABC News that when the modified guardrail is struck from the front, rather than absorb the impact as designed, the altered guardrail end terminal can malfunction and the guardrail itself “locks up,” spearing through the car and its occupants. They linked the new guardrail to severed limbs and deaths in accidents.

In an internal company email obtained by ABC News, a Trinity official estimated that making one of the modifications — reducing a piece of metal from five inches to four — would save the company $2 per guardrail end terminal, or $50,000 per year.

Trinity maintained that the changes were made to improve the end terminal and only “inadvertently omitted” documentation about the change in papers to the government back in 2005. For ABC News’ original report, Trinity said it has a “high degree of confidence in the performance and integrity” of the ET-Plus system and noted that after the FHWA learned of the change in 2012, it still repeatedly approved the end terminal for use.

After the verdict Monday, Harman’s attorneys said they were “pleased” that the jury “after hearing evidence for just four days and deliberating for just three hours… saw the plain truth that the FHWA has clearly been defrauded and that fraud has exacted the ultimate toll in claiming lives of those unnecessarily endangered by Trinity’s secretly-modified guardrail end terminals.”

In its announcement late Monday, the DOT also urged “all states to immediately share any crash information involving the Trinity ET-Plus guardrail end terminal.”

“To be clear, our number-one priority is safety and we will take a data-driven approach to ensure safety on our highways,” the DOT said.

In recent months four states — Virginia, Massachusetts, Missouri and Nevada — have said they are suspending the installation of the ET-Plus system as they investigate further.

Trinity said it is working with the states and will appeal Monday’s decision, saying it “will not withstand legal scrutiny.”

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A Look at Where Manhunt Subject Eric Frein Has Been Spotted

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation(CANADENSIS, Pa.) — Accused cop killer Eric Frein, the subject of a massive manhunt lasting for more than five weeks, has recently been spotted twice near his old high school, police said.

Schools in the Pocono Mountain School District in eastern Pennsylvania are closed Tuesday because of increased police presence in the area. A police officer spotted a man believed to be Frein on Monday outside the Swiftwater Post Office, but lost contact with the man in the woods. He was wearing green, the officer said.

Police searched the area but didn’t find the suspect, who’s accused of ambushing two state troopers at the Blooming Grove police barracks Sept. 12, before fleeing into the woods.

The post office is less than a mile from Pocono Mountain East High School, where there was another sighting Friday. A woman out for a walk near the school said she spotted a man armed with a rifle and with mud caked on his face.

“He had actually turned towards me and that’s where you could tell the mud on his face. You could tell the height he was based on the truck he was standing next to,” she told ABC affiliate WPVI in Philadelphia.

“You could clearly tell it was a gun, a rifle with a scope attached to it. It looked as though he was looking for something or looking which way to go. He avoided making eye contact. I had the light shining on his upper half and his face was kind of confusing. This guy was not startled by me.”

Police had been focused for weeks on a few square miles near Frein’s family home in Canadensis, near the borders of Pike and Monroe counties. Since the new sightings, they have shifted their general search area about five or six miles southwest.

Blood droplets found on the porch of a home near Cresco were tested but did not come from Frein, police also said Monday.

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A Look at Where Manhunt Subject Eric Frein Has Been Spotted

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation(CANADENSIS, Pa.) — Accused cop killer Eric Frein, the subject of a massive manhunt lasting for more than five weeks, has recently been spotted twice near his old high school, police said.

Schools in the Pocono Mountain School District in eastern Pennsylvania are closed Tuesday because of increased police presence in the area. A police officer spotted a man believed to be Frein on Monday outside the Swiftwater Post Office, but lost contact with the man in the woods. He was wearing green, the officer said.

Police searched the area but didn’t find the suspect, who’s accused of ambushing two state troopers at the Blooming Grove police barracks Sept. 12, before fleeing into the woods.

The post office is less than a mile from Pocono Mountain East High School, where there was another sighting Friday. A woman out for a walk near the school said she spotted a man armed with a rifle and with mud caked on his face.

“He had actually turned towards me and that’s where you could tell the mud on his face. You could tell the height he was based on the truck he was standing next to,” she told ABC affiliate WPVI in Philadelphia.

“You could clearly tell it was a gun, a rifle with a scope attached to it. It looked as though he was looking for something or looking which way to go. He avoided making eye contact. I had the light shining on his upper half and his face was kind of confusing. This guy was not startled by me.”

Police had been focused for weeks on a few square miles near Frein’s family home in Canadensis, near the borders of Pike and Monroe counties. Since the new sightings, they have shifted their general search area about five or six miles southwest.

Blood droplets found on the porch of a home near Cresco were tested but did not come from Frein, police also said Monday.

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Juror in Polo Mogul’s Retrial Violated Computer Rule

iStock/Thinkstock(PALM BEACH, Fla.) — A juror in the retrial of polo mogul John Goodman was sequestered Monday, caught violating a strict rule against unsupervised computer use.

Juror No. 3 was accused of sneaking a laptop into his hotel room. He visited Bleacherreport.com and Fantasy Football at Yahoo.com, according to the juror.

Judge Jeffrey Colbath isn’t buying the story.

“It may be that he’s being disingenuous when he says, ‘The computer just magically appeared in my room,’” Colbath said.

Despite the juror’s violation, the prosecution and defense are allowing him to continue on the DUI manslaughter case.

This is the second trial for the multimillionaire, who was convicted in 2012 for the death of Scott Wilson, 23, and sentenced to 16 years behind bars. But that verdict was thrown out because of juror misconduct.

Prosecutors say Goodman’s blood-alcohol level was 0.177 at the time of the crash, more than twice the legal limit to drive.

Goodman has pleaded not guilty, with his lawyers insisting he was not impaired at the time of the accident, and that his brakes failed.

Facundo Paredes, the valet at the bar where Goodman had been drinking, testified Monday that Goodman didn’t seem impaired when he handed him the keys.

But forensic toxicologist Dustin Tate Yeatman told the court it’s possible Goodman was intoxicated.

“Someone who drinks alcohol on a daily basis could potentially have a significant tolerance,” Yeatman said.

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ABC News Exclusive: Mother of Nurse Who Contracted Ebola Speaks

Debra Berry(DALLAS) — The mother of a nurse who contracted Ebola while treating a patient at a Texas hospital says her daughter is focused on recovery, but remains weak since being diagnosed with the deadly virus last week.

“She is doing OK, just trying to get stronger,” Debra Berry said of her daughter, Amber Vinson, to ABC News. “We talk to her when she’s not trying to sleep or avoid phone calls.”

Vinson, 29, is being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. She was diagnosed with Ebola Oct. 15, self-reporting to the hospital after registering a fever. Berry says it has been difficult for her to comprehend her daughter’s situation.

“I can’t put it into words really, how it feels to have the knowledge that she’s sick and I can’t get to her,” she said.

Nina Pham and Vinson were diagnosed with Ebola after providing care to Thomas Eric Duncan — a Liberian national who later died — at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Authorities still aren’t sure how the breach occurred. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines for Ebola treatment Monday, promoting head-to-toe protection.

Berry wishes the stricter guidelines were established sooner.

“It is concerning. I guess more than anything, I’m so relieved that it’s in place now,” Berry said. “It should help ensure that no one has to endure what Amber and what Ms. Pham have had to go through these weeks, and their families.”

Berry remains quarantined after her daughter’s diagnosis, but she says she isn’t worried about contracting Ebola because her daughter was especially careful. Vinson contacted health officials after Pham was diagnosed with Ebola, asking whether precautionary arrangements could be made for her return to Dallas, her family said. She had been in Ohio planning for her wedding.

After landing in Dallas, Vinson reported a temperature of 100.3 degrees and admitted herself to the hospital.

“She wasn’t sick [at the time], and knowing she would never expose me or anyone else to something that would be harmful; I’m just doing what I’m being told to do,” Berry said.

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UN Officials Criticize City of Detroit for Water Shutoffs

Tomjac80/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DETROIT) — United Nations human rights officials on Monday criticized the city of Detroit for shutting off water to customers behind on their bills, saying that the shutoffs discriminate against minorities.

Officials spent the weekend in Detroit “to learn more about the impact of water disconnections on the living conditions of individuals and households and on their human rights to water, sanitation and housing.”

“Without water,” the U.N. statement read, “people cannot live a life with dignity.” Further, “when people are genuinely unable to pay the bill, it is the State’s obligation to provide urgent measures, including financial assistance, a specially low tariff or subsidies, to ensure access to essential water and sanitation for all.”

The city’s water policy allows for water to be shut off to customers more than 60 days behind on their bills. This year alone, 27,000 households have had their water shut off in Detroit.

U.N. officials said that the city had raised water rates by 8.7 percent, passing on the expense of leakages in aging infrastructure.

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Billy Joel Reveals Why He (Probably) Won’t Make Another Album Ever Again

Courtesy: Library of CongressWhile Billy Joel continues to pack fans into New York’s Madison Square Garden every month — as part of his ongoing residency there — fans are still hoping that he might one day decide to make a new album. But in a new interview with The New Yorker, Joel says that’s not likely to happen. “I’ve had my say,” he explains.

“Some people think it’s because I’m lazy or I’m just being contrary,” the Piano Man tells the magazine, explaining why he hasn’t put out an album of original pop songs since 1993’s River of Dreams. “But no, I think it’s just — I’ve had my say. If I put out an album now, it would probably sell pretty well, because of who I am, but that’s no reason to do it. I’d want it to be good.”

He adds, “I’ve seen artists on that treadmill, putting out albums year after year, and the albums get worse and worse, less and less interesting, and it’s, like, ‘Maybe you should stop.'” In addition, Billy thinks actually recording a new album would just be too much of a hassle.

“I’m not crazy about going into a recording studio and doing that kind of life again, or taking on another project where there’s other people involved — arrangers and orchestrators and conductors and producers,” he tells The New Yorker. “I don’t want to deal with it…You have to have a certain amount of ambition to want to do all that. Joel adds, “And I look back at the guy who was the recording artist, this Billy Joel guy, and I think, Who the f**k was that guy? He was very ambitious, very driven, and I don’t feel like that anymore.”

And then there’s the personal aspect of it. Billy says he doesn’t want to write songs, only to have people pick them apart for clues to his personal life.

“I had gone through this celebrity craziness with Christie [Brinkley], and the divorce,” he says, talking about the time of River of Dreams and its aftermath. “I felt like there was a proctoscope up my butt. Everybody interrogating, analyzing — everything I wrote was fraught with meanings — and I said, ‘Wait a minute, I don’t want to rip myself open and let everyone see everything.’ It was no longer comfortable. ‘Enough! I gave you enough!'”

Still, Joel tells The New Yorker that he’s been working on a series of “tone poems” called The Scrimshaw Pieces, which are meant to tell the history of Long Island. However, he has no plans to release that music any time soon. In fact, he hasn’t actually recorded a lot of it, and says he’s even on the verge of forgetting some of it.

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Fighter Jets Collide over Kansas, No Serious Injuries Reported

AndersHP84/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(HOWARD, Kan.) — A pair of F-16 fighter jets were involved in a mid-air collision on Monday in which one of the planes crashed and the pilot of the other was able to return to its base in Tulsa, Okla. and land safely.

According to the Oklahoma National Guard, the planes collided over Howard, about 110 miles away from Tulsa. The two jets were taking part in a training exercise when at the time of the crash. The pilot whose plane crashed was able to eject and was recovered safely.

Col. Max Moss of the Oklahoma National Guard said Monday that, “neither pilot was seriously injured in the accident,” but that the pilot who ejected will be medically evaluated at a Wichita hospital.

No further information regarding the crash was immediately available.

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