Review Category : National News

Kim Davis Still Behind Bars as Supporters Rally in KY

Ty Wright/Getty Images(MOREHEAD, Ky.) — As Kim Davis remains behind bars, her supporters take to the streets.

A rally was held Saturday in support of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

One guitar group sang a song titled “God’s Marriage Equals 1 Man and 1 Woman,” as Davis continues to be locked up.

Still no sign of a resignation from Davis. The judge may continue to keep her in custody until she follows the law, though she may not like it, if she chooses not to resign.

Davis’ husband Joe says she won’t give up.

“If our government can bully you, then they’re going to make everybody bow down to what they want to do,” he said.

A plan to file an appeal to the judge’s order holding her in contempt is in the works with Davis and her attorneys.

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Rough Fire Spreads in Fresno County, Closes Campgrounds and Roads

iStock/Thinkstock(FRESNO, Calif.) — It’s a smoky Labor Day weekend for Fresno County.

Burning for over a month, the Rough Fire continues to spread in California’s Fresno County, closing many campgrounds in the area of King Canyon National Park. Falling rocks and debris are closing roads and forcing some hikers to leave their vehicles behind.

“What we’ll do is schedule escorts to get people back in there when it’s safe,” said George Apple, the public information officer for the Rough Fire. “When we know that we don’t have any fire operations.”

Rick and Paula Wilkinson had to flee their cabin at Hume Lake. Paula described the smoky air quality as “nasty” and “really thick.”

The couple were living at the cabin full-time, but now Rick says they’re “sacking it with the in-laws.”

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Georgia Woman Thanks Police Officer for Giving Her a Speeding Ticket

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — It’s probably not often that a police officer gets a “thank you” from someone who was issued a speeding ticket.

But that’s what happened to one member of the Alpharetta Department of Public Safety in the Atlanta suburb, ABC News affiliate WSB-TV reported.

According to the department, one of its officers stopped a young woman for a traffic violation. She signed the citation and thanked the officer.

As the officer started walking away, the woman then handed him a note and drove off.

The department posted what it said was the woman’s handwritten note to its Facebook page. It read:

“Mr. Officer,

“Shame on me for speeding. There is a lot of publicity (negative) about police officers and your job is very dangerous. I want you to know that my family and I feel very blessed to be protected by wonderful people like you. So Thank You!

“Caring Alpharetta resident!”

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Suspect Arrested in Murder of Dallas Dentist

ekinyalgin/iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — Dallas police have made an arrest in the murder of a dentist who was shot and killed in the parking garage of her apartment.

According to an arrest affidavit released Saturday morning, authorities arrested Crystal Cortez and charged her with capital murder in the death of Kendra Hatcher. Cortez, 22, is being held on $250,000 bail.

Police identified Cortez as the driver of a Jeep seen in surveillance video leaving the parking garage the day of the murder after a witness said she had loaned Cortez the vehicle, according to the affidavit.

When Cortez was interviewed by investigators, she confessed to driving a man to the parking garage so he could rob Hatcher, 35, according to the affidavit.

Cortez drove the gunman to Hatcher’s apartment Wednesday, where he shot and killed her and stole her belongings, according to the affidavit.

Hatcher died inside the parking garage.

“She had so much to give, and we’re thankful her 35 years were lived to the fullest,” said Noelle Sublett, a friend of Hatcher’s family. “We miss her tremendously, especially her laugh and her smile.”

Cortez has not entered a plea. Police haven’t said how she and Hatcher were connected.

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30 West Point Cadets Injured In Annual Pillow Fight

belchonock/iStock/Thinkstock(WEST POINT, N.Y) — School officials confirm 30 cadets at the U.S. Military Academy were injured during an annual pillow fight after the pillows were stuffed with hard objects like helmets.

24 of the cadets suffered consussions while others were knocked unconscous and ended up with dislocated shoulders and split lips

The fight happend August 24 and videos of the incident quickly hit social media, but West Point officials have now officially confirmed the details.

The event is organized by first year students to build camaraderie after a grueling summer of training. No one was punished.

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Pope Francis Tells Americans ‘Be Courageous’ During Virtual Audience

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Pope Francis had a piece of advice for the Americans he spoke to during a virtual audience hosted by ABC News: “Be courageous.”

During the event, which was moderated by ABC News’ World News Tonight anchor David Muir on Monday, the pontiff spoke for nearly an hour via satellite from the Vatican with individuals from the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago’s inner city, congregants from Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, Texas, located near the U.S.-Mexico border, and homeless men and women and those working with the homeless in Los Angeles.

The three locations were selected by ABC News because they are in parts of the country that Pope Francis will not be visiting during his historic trip to the United States, later this month.

The selected speakers, which included an undocumented teenager who had lost a soccer scholarship to college and a homeless mother of two, were all people who had struggled with adversity. The speakers were told beforehand they would get to share their story with his Holiness.

Pope Francis and the People will air in a one-hour special edition of ABC News’ 20/20 on Friday, Sept. 4, at 10 p.m. ET. In addition, the event will be posted in its entirety in both English and Spanish on

Throughout the hour-long event, Pope Francis consoled the speakers, many of whom shed tears as the Pontiff offered them words of praise, encouragement and advice.

“It’s true that there are difficulties on life’s path, many of them,” the Holy Father said. “Don’t fear the difficulties. Be prudent, be careful, but don’t fear.”

One of the most powerful moments during the event was when Valerie Herrera, 17, stepped up to speak.

Herrera, a senior at the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, told Pope Francis she had struggled with vitiligo, an autoimmune disease that causes white blotches on the face and body, and had endured bullying through elementary and middle school.

Herrera, the eldest of four children born to parents from Mexico, said she sang in her church choir and had found comfort through music.

In her question, she asked what the Holy Father expects from today’s youth and what should they aspire to be.

But before he answered her question, Pope Francis surprised Herrera with a request.

“May I ask for you to sing a song for me?” he said in English. As Herrera hesitated, Pope Francis told her, “be courageous.”

After a long pause and encouragement from the audience, Herrera sang, “Junto a Ti Maria (Next to You, Maria).”

When the applause died down, Pope Francis answered her question.

“What I hope for from youth is for you all not to walk alone in life,” he said. “Life is very difficult. It’s difficult to walk alone. You get lost. You get confused. You can find the wrong path or you can be walking around in circles, in a maze, or worst, you can stop because you get tired of walking in life. Always walk hand-in-hand with someone who loves you, someone who gives you tenderness.”

“In my country, there’s a saying, ‘it’s better to be alone than to be in bad company,’” continued Francis, who is from Argentina. “That’s true, but walk accompanied… You have the strength to overcome. Don’t be scared. Don’t stop. There’s nothing worse than a young person who has retired before his or her time. I don’t know at what age people retire in the United States, but can you imagine a young person who’s 25 years old, who’s retired? Terrible. Always move forward with courage and with hope.”

The pope praised Rosemary Farfan, 31, for caring for her two young daughters by herself. The family had been living at the Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women and Children, a program of Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, but left in June to move into their first apartment.

“I know it’s not easy to be a single mother,” Francis said. “I know that people can sometimes look askance at you, but I’ll tell you one thing, you’re a brave woman because you’re capable of bringing these two daughters into the world.”

“You could have killed them inside your womb, and you respected life,” the pope continued. “You respected the life you were carrying inside you, and God is going to reward you for that, and he does reward you for that. Don’t be ashamed. Hold your head high. ‘I didn’t kill my daughters. I brought them into the world.’ I congratulate you. I congratulate you, and God bless you.”

Hundreds gathered at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, Texas, including Ricardo Ortiz, 19, who told Pope Francis that he had come to the U.S. from Mexico on a tourist visa when he was 4 years old. He said his father sometimes had difficulty finding work because he was undocumented. Then when Ortiz was around 17, he said his father had an accident and wasn’t able to work at all.

Choking back tears, Ortiz, who has three younger brothers, said, “That happening impacted my life in a very deep way. I had to become the breadwinner of the family. I had to be the person that supported our family… I never lost faith. I never lost the strength that my father and mother gave me.”

Ortiz told the pope that eventually his father was able to return to work and Ortiz was able to graduate high school. He had even won a soccer scholarship to college, but the scholarship was revoked once the school discovered he was not a U.S. citizen. His father scraped together the money to send him to a community college instead.

Pope Francis, an avid soccer fan, expressed admiration for Ortiz and told him that “the match is played between friendship in society and enmity in society.”

“We are all created for friendship in society. All of us bear responsibility for everyone else,” the pope said. “And each one has to make a choice in his or her heart. And we have to help that choice to be made in the heart. …. Only closeness and giving of myself, all that I have to give, the way you gave everything you could as a boy, when you supported your family. Don’t forget that.”

Another surprising moment during the event is when the pope called out directly to Sister Norma Pimentel, the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley. Sister Pimentel runs a welcome center at Sacred Heart Church in response to the surge of immigrants being released by the U.S. border patrol. More than 23,000 immigrants have passed through the center.

The Holy Father singled Pimentel out in the audience and called her to the front.

“I want to thank you, and through you to thank all the sisters of religious orders in the U.S. for the work that you have done and that you do in the United States,” the pope said. “It’s great. I congratulate you. Be courageous. Move forward. Take the lead, always. I’ll tell you one other thing. Is it inappropriate for the Pope to say this? I love you all very much.”

The virtual audience was conducted ahead of Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the United States, when he will travel to Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia from Sept. 22 to Sept. 27.

When Marcus Alston, a 19-year-old who had lived on the streets of Los Angeles and on Monday was staying at Covenant House, asked the pope why his upcoming trip to the US was important, the Pontiff said he wanted to connect to Americans.

“There’s something very important for me, which is closeness,” Francis said. “For me it’s difficult not to be close to people. When I approach people, as I’m going to do with you, it’s easier for me to understand them and help them along life’s path. That’s why this trip is so important, for me to draw close to your path and your history.”

Pope Francis and the People will air in a one-hour special edition of ABC News’ 20/20 on Friday, Sept. 4, at 10 p.m. ET. In addition, the event will be posted in its entirety in both English and Spanish on

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Pope Francis Talks to Homeless Teen About Understanding Others’ Hardships

ABC News(LOS ANGELES) — In the shadow of Hollywood, another, harsher version of Los Angeles exists — a city containing the largest unsheltered homeless population in the country, including up to 10,000 homeless youths.

Marcus Alston, one of those many young people, had the chance to ask Pope Francis a question Monday morning when the Holy Father addressed a crowd of more than 200 homeless men and women in downtown Los Angeles during a virtual audience hosted with ABC News.

“Hi, Holy Father,” Alston, 19, began, “It’s a great honor to meet you and to be able to speak with you– and to represent all the people– the young people here– who are without a home here in the United States. So my question for you– ’cause I know why you’re so important to me– but why is this trip to America so important to you?”

“For me it’s very important to meet with you all, with the citizens of the United States, who have your history, your culture, your virtues, your joys, your sadnesses, your problems like everyone else,” Pope Francis said. “I’m at the service of all churches and all men and women of good will.”

“There’s something very important for me, which is closeness,” the pontiff continued. “For me it’s difficult not to be close to people. When I approach people, as I’m going to do with you, it’s easier for me to understand them and help them along life’s path. That’s why this trip is so important, for me to draw close to your path and your history.”

The ABC News team met with Marcus the previous day where he told us his story. Living in foster care on and off until the age of 17, he told us he lived on the streets after a failed stint living with his biological mother left him homeless. He told us his first night in L.A. he didn’t know where to go so he scaled a fence and slept outside a church

Marcus eventually found Covenant House of California, a youth homeless shelter, where he lived for 13 months. Before moving out this week, he gave us a tour of the bedroom he’d been sleeping in, showing us his skateboards and the jacket he says is his most prized possession.

“This is my prized blazer,” he said. “It builds my self-esteem, and also people, I’ve noticed people take people in suits more serious than they do somebody with a hoodie and sweats.”

An aspiring singer and songwriter, he played a song he’d written himself in the Covenant House’s music room.

The next morning, he would wear his prized jacket to meet the Pope, an experience Marcus found completely humbling and surreal.

“This is my favorite and most honorable day, I get to meet the pope,” he said after the event. “I just I don’t know, maybe it’s just like the lottery… I really do feel special, and feel like I was made for something bigger and this will be the start hopefully.

Pope Francis and the People will air in a one-hour special edition of ABC News’ “20/20” on Friday, Sept. 4, at 10 p.m. ET. In addition, the event will be posted in its entirety in both English and Spanish on

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Jailed Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis: What’s Next?

Carter County Detention Center(MOREHEAD, Ky.) — For Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk in jail for refusing a judge’s order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, she herself holds a jailhouse key.

Davis, who was taken into custody Thursday, could be released as soon as she complies with U.S. District Judge David Bunning’s order to resume issuing licenses in Rowan County.

“With civil contempt, you hold the jailhouse key,” Howard Wasserman, law professor at Florida International University College of Law, told ABC News. “As soon as you comply, you are let out of jail.”

But lawyers for Davis say she has no intention of resigning and any marriage licenses issued by her deputy clerks are void.

Professor Wasserman says he believes Bunning chose jail for Davis because “the less severe sanction of monetary fines would not have been sufficient to get her to comply. So the judge concluded that this was the only sanction he had left.”

Davis’ options appear to be to comply, resign or stay in jail, Wasserman said, adding that it’s unclear what will happen next. But Wasserman noted that it seems as though Davis is “benefiting in an odd way from being in jail.”

“I wouldn’t say she wants to be there … [but] for her cause, this is actually an advantageous thing,” Wasserman said. “Because she has been a martyr to this cause. She has presidential candidates talking about [her as a] victim in a war against Christianity … and how she’s a victim of being the first person ever put in jail for adhering to their conscience, which is not true.

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Meet the 1st Same-Sex Couple to Get Marriage License in Rowan County

Ty Wright/Getty Images(MOREHEAD, Ky.) — James Yates and William Smith Jr. were the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license in Rowan County, Kentucky, Friday morning, while clerk Kim Davis remains in jail for failing to follow a judge’s orders to issue the licenses.

Smith and Yates, of Morehead, Kentucky, have been together for nearly a decade. They arrived minutes after the office opened, and became the first same-sex couple to get their marriage license in Rowan County’s history.

After the men paid the $35.50 fee, deputy clerk Brian Mason said, “Congratulations.” They said this was their sixth attempt to get a license.

Yates rushed to embrace his mother in a long hug.

When Yates and Smith exited the courthouse, they were met with cheers from about 35 supporters, chanting, “Love wins.”

Clerk Davis was jailed Thursday after a judge found her in contempt of court for her refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses. But five of her deputies said under oath they would comply with the court’s order to issue the licenses.

Davis’ stay in jail has not made her reconsider her stance on issuing same-sex marriage licenses, her attorney Matthew Staver told ABC News.

“One thing about Kim, she may be incarcerated behind the jail bars but her conscience remains free,” Staver said. “And just knowing Kim, she’s made a decision and she can’t violate that conscience and she can’t have this collision with her religious convictions.”

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Hacker Allegedly Behind One of Most Destructive Viruses in History Due in Court

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — One of the alleged masterminds behind what has been called “one of the most financially destructive computer viruses in history” is expected to appear Friday afternoon in a New York federal courtroom.

Deniss Calovskis, a Latvian national, was arrested in November 2012 for his alleged role in writing some of the code that allowed the Gozi virus to be so effective. The malicious code infected at least 40,000 computers in the U.S., including NASA computers, and was allegedly used to steal tens of millions of dollars from bank accounts around the world, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Calovskis’ appearance in court comes as he has been in plea talks with the government, according to his attorney. Calovskis allegedly wrote the code that tricked victims into divulging personal information.

The malicious code, described as “one of the most financially destructive computer viruses in history,” was first discovered by American cyber-security experts in 2007, but New York prosecutors said the criminal operation continued until March 2012.

Gozi spread to the U.S. no later than 2010 and eventually infected 160 computers belonging to NASA, according to court documents. In total, the scheme “caused tens of millions of dollars in losses and affected well over one million computers,” court papers noted.

One method for infecting victims was to disguise the virus as a PDF document, which when opened, would install the virus on the target’s computer while remaining undetectable by anti-virus software, according to the Department of Justice. The virus would then collect personal data from the computer, including bank account information, which was then used to transfer funds from the victims and ultimately into accounts the hackers could access, the Department of Justice said.

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