Review Category : National News

FAA Orders US Air Carriers to Suspend All Flights to Israel

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — American air carriers have suspended flights from the United Stated to Israel “for a period of up to 24 hours” after the Federal Aviation Administration issued a warning in response to a rocket strike Tuesday morning near Tel Aviv’s main airport, officials said.

In a statement, the FAA said, “The notice was issued in response to a rocket strike which landed approximately one mile from Ben Gurion International Airport on the morning … [and] applies only to U.S. operators, and has no authority over foreign airlines operating to or from the airport,” according to the statement.

Delta Air Lines Flight 468, which was flying over the Mediterranean at the time, was en route from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport to Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv when a rocket fired from Gaza hit Yahood, a Tel Aviv suburb close to the airport.

The rocket escaped interception by the Iron Dome, which Israel has used to intercept missiles launched by Hamas. The inbound Delta flight was diverted to Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

On Monday, the State Department updated its warning for Americans traveling to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza due to ongoing hostilities. The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens consider the deferral of non-essential travel to Israel and the West Bank.

Passengers have also been jittery about travel safety since last Thursday, when a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over Ukraine by a missile, killing all 298 people.

Delta and other airlines had already issued a travel waiver for customers holding tickets to Tel Aviv. The waiver is good through July 31 and allows customers to make a one-time change to their ticket. The other U.S.-based carriers not allowed to fly to Israel — United and U.S. Airways — have a similar policy.

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Mysterious White Flags Fly over NY’s Brooklyn Bridge

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The mysterious appearance of two large white flags flying over the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City Tuesday morning has the city scrambling to figure out why they were put there, and by whom.

The New York City Police Department has responded to the scene and is investigating the matter.

The white flags are flying in place of the American flags that are typically atop the bridge.

It’s unclear why they are there and who put them there, authorities said.

The Brooklyn Bridge connects Manhattan to Brooklyn over the East River, and has its base just a few blocks from City Hall and police headquarters in lower Manhattan.

The span is run by the city’s Department of Transportation.

As of 10:30 a.m., the bridge was still open to pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the country’s oldest suspension bridges, dating back to 1883, and is also a National Historic Landmark.

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See Video of Lighter-Fluid Truck Bursting Into Flames After Train Crash

Purestock/Thinkstock(SOMERSET, Ky.) — A truck driver was in stable condition Tuesday morning recovering from an accident on a Kentucky highway in which a train smashed into his tractor-trailer, officials said.

The driver’s truck, loaded with charcoal lighter fluid, burst into flames as the train hit it.

The truck was headed into Warner Fertilizer in Somerset, Kentucky, Friday when it was hit by a southbound train, investigators say. The truck split on impact, leaving the cab on one side of the track and the trailer on the other.

The driver didn’t notice the approaching train as he made a turn, focusing on the rear of his truck to ensure that it wouldn’t run off the road, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Officials said a UPS train trailer loaded with black powder was just a few cars from the fire on the train, but the fire never made it that far.

“It would be a completely different situation [if fire reached black power],” Doug Baker, chief of Somerset-Pulaski Special Response, told ABC News Tuesday. “Luckily, that didn’t happen, thanks to the quick actions of the local fire department.”

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Police Baffled by FSU Professor’s Fatal Shooting

iStock/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) — Authorities are scrambling to unravel the mystery around the killing of a prominent law professor at Florida State University.

Dan Markel, 41, was fatally shot Friday in his home, located in the Betton Hills section of Tallahassee, Florida, a neighborhood marked by Spanish moss and ranch-style homes, and now suspicion that a killer lurks nearby.

There were no signs of forced entry, police told ABC News — leading investigators to conclude Markel knew his killer and may have literally opened his door to his own death.

“We do believe that this was not a random act where he just surprised somebody,” Officer David Northway said. “We believe that Mr. Markel, unfortunately, was the intended victim.”

Police responded to Markel’s house after neighbors reported hearing a loud bang. Markel was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The Tallahassee Democrat reported that he was killed by a single gunshot wound to the back.

The Harvard grad had been published in the New York Times and served as a legal scholar, with a focus on criminal law. Markel was a father of two boys and had recently completed a protracted divorce that included multiple motions by the two sides for sanctions against each another.

Markel’s ex-wife, fellow FSU professor Wendi Jill Adelson, said through her lawyer that she was “just devastated” and “scared to death.” At a memorial service held Sunday, mourners recalled Markel’s kindness and generosity.

“At the core,” said his friend, Professor Ethan Leib, “what he cared most about was making sure that our criminal justice system actually produced justice, and he’s going to be long remembered for that achievement.”

Authorities have opened a tip line, hoping to provide Markel justice, Northway said.

“There are probably two people in this world that know exactly where Mr. Markel was injured,” Northway added. “One of those would be Mr. Markel himself and the other would be the suspect in this case.”

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Girl Attacked in ‘Slender Man’ Case Receives Anonymous Purple Heart

Courtesy Steve Lyons(WAUKESHA, Wis.) — First she survived being stabbed 19 times. Police say it was by her 12-year-old friends. The suspects allegedly told police they did it to please an online fictional character named “Slender Man.”

Then she crawled to safety from the woods near Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Now as she heals, the girl, whose identity ABC News is not revealing because of her age, continues to inspire many worldwide, with well-wishers creating cards for her on homemade purple hearts.

“The little girl and her brother open up the hundreds and some days thousands of packages sent to the family from generous people from all over the world,” Stephen Lyons, the survivor’s spokesperson, told ABC News. “It’s therapeutic and something she and her brother do every day.”

But this month a different kind of Purple Heart came for her in the mail: one issued to members of the military wounded service to the country, or to a family whose loved one was killed in the line of duty.

A simple note came attached, Lyons said. It read, “The Only Heart I Could Find – Stay Strong.”

The stabbing survivor and her family are now hoping to thank the anonymous donor publicly or privately, if they can find that person.

“[Her parents] explained to her the significance of a Purple Heart in the military and what it means, what a personal sacrifice it is to be wounded on behalf of the country, and how incredible it is to be sent this,” Lyons said. “The gift really resonates with the family because they are still dealing with wounds, emotionally and physically, from the events of May 31.”

Prosecutors say on May 31 the 12-year-old survivor’s friends Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser tried to kill her in hopes of becoming agents of “Slender Man,” a niche mythical character the duo read about online.

After the stabbing, authorities say the survivor crawled from the woods and was discovered by a passing cyclist who called 911 as she fought for her life.

Geyser and Weier have been charged with first-degree attempted murder. While the two have yet to enter pleas in court, the stabbing survivor continues to heal at home with her family by her side.

Lyons says the family is now trying to decide where they will display the gifted military Purple Heart in their home.

“Our family continues to be so moved by the prayers, well wishes, packages, financial support and purple hearts from around the world,” they wrote in a statement. “It does not surprise me that a decorated veteran unselfishly gave this amazingly brave and courageous little girl something from his or her heart.”

Along with the numerous mailings they’ve received, Lyons said the family is also grateful for the money raised in an online “Hearts for Healing” campaign. According to the family’s statement, “supporters have donated over $50,000 to assist the family in their goal of $250,000 to help with mounting medical expenses.”

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Poll: Most Americans Not Anxious to Get Involved in Foreign Entanglements

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The upheavals overseas have made Americans more skittish about any kind of U.S. military involvement, according to a new POLITICO survey.

For instance, 67 percent of those polled say that military action should only be taken when there is a direct threat to national security. Only 22 percent believe that the U.S. should be compelled to act whenever democracy is threatened elsewhere.

The survey of 834 adults, which was taken before Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed over eastern Ukraine, found that just 17 percent feel the U.S. should do more to help the central government in Kiev, while 34 percent want less involvement and three in ten contend the current policy is correct.

In regards to Afghanistan, nearly three-quarters agree on the timetable to withdraw all U.S. forces from the country. Twenty-three percent oppose a complete withdrawal.

As for Iraq, 51 percent believe the worsening situation there has little or no effect on national security, while 42 percent says it affects national security “a lot.”

Another source of concern is the ongoing civil war in Syria, although just 15 percent believe the U.S. should do more. Meanwhile, 68 percent agree with the present U.S. policy or think it should be limited further.

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Poll: Most Americans Not Anxious to Get Involved in Foreign Entanglements

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The upheavals overseas have made Americans more skittish about any kind of U.S. military involvement, according to a new POLITICO survey.

For instance, 67 percent of those polled say that military action should only be taken when there is a direct threat to national security. Only 22 percent believe that the U.S. should be compelled to act whenever democracy is threatened elsewhere.

The survey of 834 adults, which was taken before Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed over eastern Ukraine, found that just 17 percent feel the U.S. should do more to help the central government in Kiev, while 34 percent want less involvement and three in ten contend the current policy is correct.

In regards to Afghanistan, nearly three-quarters agree on the timetable to withdraw all U.S. forces from the country. Twenty-three percent oppose a complete withdrawal.

As for Iraq, 51 percent believe the worsening situation there has little or no effect on national security, while 42 percent says it affects national security “a lot.”

Another source of concern is the ongoing civil war in Syria, although just 15 percent believe the U.S. should do more. Meanwhile, 68 percent agree with the present U.S. policy or think it should be limited further.

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Poll: Most Americans Not Anxious to Get Involved in Foreign Entanglements

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The upheavals overseas have made Americans more skittish about any kind of U.S. military involvement, according to a new POLITICO survey.

For instance, 67 percent of those polled say that military action should only be taken when there is a direct threat to national security. Only 22 percent believe that the U.S. should be compelled to act whenever democracy is threatened elsewhere.

The survey of 834 adults, which was taken before Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed over eastern Ukraine, found that just 17 percent feel the U.S. should do more to help the central government in Kiev, while 34 percent want less involvement and three in ten contend the current policy is correct.

In regards to Afghanistan, nearly three-quarters agree on the timetable to withdraw all U.S. forces from the country. Twenty-three percent oppose a complete withdrawal.

As for Iraq, 51 percent believe the worsening situation there has little or no effect on national security, while 42 percent says it affects national security “a lot.”

Another source of concern is the ongoing civil war in Syria, although just 15 percent believe the U.S. should do more. Meanwhile, 68 percent agree with the present U.S. policy or think it should be limited further.

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Coloradans Still High on New Pot Laws

iStock/Thinkstock(HAMDEN, Conn.) — How do state voters feel now about Colorado Amendment 64, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana by adults as well as sales of one ounce or less by licensed stores?

About the same as they did in April, when Quinnipiac University previously asked the question.

Fifty-four percent say they support the overall passage of Amendment 64. However, it was as high as 58 percent last February.

In other findings, two-thirds of Coloradans maintain that people who want to smoke marijuana should only do so in their homes or at members-only clubs.

Meanwhile, just over six in 10 respondents to the Quinnipiac poll say that smoking pot should not be allowed in establishments that serve alcohol or at any venue that charges admission.

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Four EMTs Suspended over Response in NYPD Chokehold Death

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The four EMTs who responded to the scene where New York City cops had taken a man named Eric Garner down with an apparent chokehold have been suspended without pay while their actions are being investigated. Garner died an hour after the controversial arrest.

On Sunday, the Fire Department of New York, which handles citywide emergency medical dispatch, barred the EMTs from responding to 911 calls. Richmond University Medical Center, which employs the first responders, made the decision to suspend them.

“The EMTs are suspended without pay while the investigation continues as they are placed on operational restriction,” the hospital said in a statement announcing the move. “This restriction means they are not working at this hospital or throughout the 911 system. Richmond University Medical Center continues to fully cooperate as this matter is under investigation.”

On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters trailing him on vacation in Italy that — as a layman — he thought a chokehold had been employed by a cop during the controversial caught-on-camera incident on Staten Island on Thursday.

“As an individual who’s not expert in law enforcement, it looked like a chokehold to me. But I also emphasize you have a full investigation because all sides need to be heard and all evidence has to be looked at,” de Blasio said in the statement provided to reporters in New York by the mayor’s office.

The mayor left New York City for Italy on Saturday night, after postponing his departure for a day to deal with the developing firestorm over Garner’s death.

Garner, who stood at 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighed about 350 pounds, died Thursday after police struggled to arrest him for allegedly selling loose cigarettes on Staten Island, according to the NYPD. Police said he appeared to suffer a heart attack.

Officer Daniel Pantaleo, an 8-year veteran who was seen on video apparently putting Garner in the chokehold, was placed on “modified assignment” Saturday, meaning he was stripped of his badge and gun, pending the outcome of the dual probes by the district attorney and Internal Affairs.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton had announced Friday that the cop and his partner were on “desk duty,” but at that point they still had their guns and shields.

A chokehold is a violation of NYPD policy, regardless of whether the move causes any damage. Beyond that, prosecutors and police investigators will be looking at whether it caused or contributed to Garner’s death about an hour after he was taken into custody.

The New York City Medical Examiner’s Office said Sunday it had not reached any finding on Garner’s cause of death. Official preliminary results could come in the next few days.

Garner was arrested in Staten Island after he was allegedly seen selling “loosie” cigarettes, police said. Garner was known for selling individual cigarettes for 50 cents each in his Staten Island neighborhood.

Police said the cigarettes come from North Carolina and Garner is the end of the supply line. Because the Staten Island man allegedly sold cigarettes to children, the police called the cigarette sales a “quality of life” issue in the neighborhood.

Garner’s death has led to outrage, especially after video obtained by the New York Daily News appeared to show that the man was put into a chokehold as he was arrested.

The video shows officers approaching Garner, who initially denies that he’s selling loose cigarettes.

“I’m minding my business, why don’t you leave me alone?” Garner can be heard saying.

When police officers move in, Garner appears to not comply and at least five officers wrestle him to the ground as they attempt to handcuff him.

As Garner is being held down, he can be heard telling police that he “can’t breathe.” Eventually when officers realize he is not responsive, they called in an ambulance, which took Garner to a hospital where he died a short time later.

The apparent violence of the arrest led to outrage and the internal investigation. Online, numerous people tweeted #JusticeforEricGarner, calling attention to the deadly incident.

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