Review Category : Top Stories

National Security Agency ends controversial email collection program

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The National Security Agency will cease collecting internet communications that merely mention an individual who is considered to be a “foreign intelligence target.”

The move is being welcomed by privacy advocates who have criticized the earlier practice as the collection of domestic communications by an agency intended to intercept only foreign communications.

The agency will now limit its collection to specific internet communications that are sent directly to or from a foreign target.

“NSA will no longer collect certain internet communications that merely mention a foreign intelligence target,” a news release posted on the agency’s website said.

The National Security Agency collects intercepted voice and data communications, known as signals intelligence, that are made overseas.

“The Agency will stop the practice to reduce the chance that it would acquire communications of U.S. persons or others who are not in direct contact with a foreign intelligence target,” the release added.

The NSA said it will also delete “the vast majority” of the casual mentions of individuals who are foreign targets “to further protect the privacy of U.S. person communications.” What’s known as “about” information may consist of the mention of a targeted email address found “in the text or body of the email, even though the email is between two persons who are not themselves targets.” NSA will delete the vast majority of its upstream internet data to further protect the privacy of U.S. individuals’ communications “to further protect the privacy of U.S. person communications.”

The change is being made after an internal review of section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that “discovered several inadvertent compliance lapses.”

Crafted to fight international terrorism and cyberthreats, section 702 allows the intelligence community to conduct surveillance on specific foreign targets located outside the United States.

Set to expire later this year, it could be reauthorized by Congress.

The collection of “about” and “upstream” communications had been criticized as a means of domestic surveillance collection by the NSA, which collects foreign communications.

“This development underscores the need for Congress to significantly reform Section 702 of FISA, which will continue to allow warrantless surveillance of Americans,” said Neema Singh Guliani, American Civil Liberties Union legislative counsel.

“While the NSA’s policy change will curb some of the most egregious abuses under the statute, it is at best a partial fix,” Guliani added.

“Congress should take steps to ensure such practices are never resurrected and end policies that permit broad, warrantless surveillance under Section 702, which is up for reauthorization at the end of the year.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Violent gang MS-13 is believed to be linked to several recent Long Island killings

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Members of the violent MS-13 gang have been linked to the recent deaths of several young people on Long Island, New York.

While MS-13’s presence in some of Long Island’s suburban communities is nothing new, some recent killings that are believed to be gang-affiliated have drawn nationwide attention, including from President Trump who has said the murders are linked to relaxed immigration policies of the past.

“MS-13, you know about MS-13?” the president said in a speech for the National Rifle Association Friday. “It’s not pleasant for them anymore, folks, it’s not pleasant for them anymore. That’s a bad group. Not pleasant for MS-13 — get them the hell out of here, right? Get ’em out.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions echoed the president’s remarks in a speech he gave on gang violence near a Long Island park where the bodies of four young men were found earlier this month.

“I have a message for gang members who target young people,” Sessions said, according to ABC-owned station WABC-TV. “We are targeting you. We are going after you.”

Many killings attributed to MS-13 have been in two Long Island communities — Brentwood and Central Islip. A map below shows just how close the locations are of where the bodies were found.

Here are several killings that took place from mid-2016 to now:

June 3, 2016: Jose Pena, 18, was a student at Brentwood High School in Suffolk County, Long Island. According to reports from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York, he was killed on June 3, 2016, but the remains of his body were not recovered until Oct. 17, 2016. The U.S. Attorney’s Office reports that murder charges have been brought against suspects in Pena’s death.

Sept. 13, 2016: Brentwood High School students Nisa Mickens, 15, and Kayla Cuevas, 16, were both killed on Sept. 13, 2016.

Sept. 16, 2016: Oscar Acosta’s body was found in an industrial area on Emjay Boulevard in Long Island on Sept. 16, 2016 according to WABC-TV. The 19-year-old had been reported missing since May 2016.

Sept. 21, 2016: Miguel Garcia Moran, 15, who had been missing since February 2016, was found dead on Sept. 21, 2016 in a wooded area in Brentwood, according to WABC-TV.

Oct. 13, 2016: Dewann A.S. Stacks, 34, was found suffering mortal injuried on American Boulevard in Long Island on Oct. 13, 2016 according to reports from WABC-TV. When officers arrived on the scene, Stacks was still alive with injuries to his head and face, but was pronounced dead later at the scene when rescue efforts were unsuccessful.

April 12, 2017: Long Island’s most recent case of alleged gang killings occurred about two weeks ago, when the bodies of Justin Livicura, 16, Michael Banegas, 18, Jefferson Villalobos, 18, and Jorge Tigre, 18 were found. According to WABC-TV, relatives say the victims were going to the park to meet with friends when they were attacked by a group carrying machetes.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Officials Warn Netflix’s “13 Reasons” Can Have Negative Affects

04/28/17 – 11:38 A.M.

Schools have been warning parents about the Netflix series 13 Reasons glamorizing teen suicide. Coordinator of emergency services at Century Health Nancy Stephani said that it could let students think suicide is an option.

Nancy Stephani

Stephani said that paying attention to how your child reacts is vital.

Nancy Stephani

She added the best thing you can do is show them you care and are willing to listen.

Nancy Stephani

Showing them that you can handle it together can help them through their feelings.

Read More →

Man who captured crash ‘shocked’ to see driver walk away after dramatic rollover

AJ Calvin(MOBILE, Ala.) — Dashcam footage showed a man walk away after he was ejected from a rollover crash on I-65 in Mobile, Alabama.

A.J. Calvin who captured the crash on video spoke to ABC News Friday about the incident. “I knew it was going to be a wreck,” he said.

Calvin said he watched the incident unfold in front of him. “The green Mustang flew by at first, and I was focused on that, but then all of a sudden the white Jeep came flying up in another lane,” Calvin recalled.

The footage shows the white Jeep appear to speed up an exit lane of I-65 when it suddenly clipped the back edge of another vehicle, causing the Jeep to flip and roll across multiple lanes of traffic.

“When the Jeep got in the exit-ramp lane, to me it looked like he never even hit the brakes, like he had to be turned around looking back at the Mustang or something,” Calvin said.

Calvin immediately rushed to help at the scene when he noticed a man walking near the vehicle. “I saw him walking to the Jeep. I didn’t know who it was at first,” Calvin said. “And then I saw blood all over him, so I said ‘oh my God!'” he added when he realized it was the Jeep driver.

The driver of the car hit by the Jeep got out of her car to help an off-duty paramedic, who had apparently stopped after seeing the crash, assist a passenger in the Jeep get out of the vehicle.

“I was shocked at first that she was OK,” Calvin said of the driver of the car that was hit. “But then she did the right thing and went and helped” the passenger.

The off-duty paramedic helped assess the Jeep driver and passenger’s injuries.

Calvin said the passenger did not look very good. “He kept trying to get up,” Calvin said. “His eyes were glazed over and he was dazed.”

The Mobile Police Department did not immediately respond to a request by ABC News for information about the crash.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Police search for escaped prisoner in Maryland

moodboard/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) — Howard County police are searching for a prisoner who escaped from the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center on Dorsey Run Road in Jessup on Friday morning, according to ABC affiliate WMAR-TV.

David M. Watson, 28, was being transported to the hospital by the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office when he escaped custody and ran into a wooded area.

He is described as a white male, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 140 pounds. He was last seen in the area of Dorsey Run Road and Patuxent Range Road. Watson is serving time in Wicomico County for attempted murder of police officers, according to officials.

Police are searching the area with patrol officers, K9 units and a police helicopter.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Reporter’s notebook: How LA rose from the ashes of the riots 25 years ago

Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — John Martin, a retired ABC News national correspondent, is a public policy fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C. This is his first-person essay written for ABC News reflecting on his experiences covering the 1992 Los Angeles riots:

On that morning 25 years ago, smoke still hung in the air from the looting and fires the day before, but it seemed the nighttime curfew had worked. Streets were largely deserted, boulevards eerily quiet.

The big white stock exchange building was open but almost nobody came to trade. Universities were closed, USC postponed final exams. Workers stayed home.

As an ABC News national correspondent walking the streets with a camera crew, I spent 10 days looking for signs of revival and hope. At first, I didn’t see many.

“I don’t believe it had anything to do with Rodney King,” said a black woman in front of her looted shop. “I think it had to do with people’s greed.”

At a post office, hundreds of people lined up for Social Security checks and monthly welfare assistance.

“These are not the people who bombed and looted and destroyed the stores,” said a 20-ish black woman in a bright orange jersey. “These people,” she said, “want get their money.”

Meanwhile National Guard troops began streaming off buses. The mayor seemed relieved. “We are going to insure the safety of this city,” said Tom Bradley, a black man and former police officer. “And we are going to take back the streets.”

But what would Los Angeles do with its streets? There were 10,000 looted and burned businesses, at least 200 families homeless, food shelves empty, banks littered with ashes, a doctor’s office choked with debris.

“The evil act is done,” said Dr. Gerald Fradkoff, an internist who devoted his practice to the aged poor and low-income immigrants.

Dropping his singed paper records into a brown cardboard box, the doctor said he would try to renegotiate a low-interest loan from the Small Business Administration.

“I have to heal, the city has to heal, and we have to come back together.”

Then, suddenly, it started, we began to see a remarkable amount of effort. It was heartening.

In Hollywood, volunteers streamed along the sidewalks and in passing trucks, helping wherever they were needed to sweep and clean.

In South Central, merchants opened a makeshift store in the parking lot of a burned out supermarket, calling it “Rebuilding Starts Now.”

In the city center, 14 architects and lawyers met to plan ways to construct small shopping districts in riot areas to provide food and retail services.

“The immediate solution we’ve come up with is temporary structures that will have a lifespan of perhaps one year,” said Roland Wiley, a young black architect.

But they needed city building permits and faced a bureaucratic maze.

A white-haired white lawyer, Richard Riordan, had a solution:

“If you go to them with a concept you will get jerked around for a year or so,” said Riordan. “Go in with a set plan. I will guarantee you…we’ll get that through within a few days.”

The plan worked. (So did Riordan’s get-it-done attitude. A year later, he was elected mayor).

Meanwhile, a giant drugstore chain offered more hope.

Even though it had 19 stores looted and four burned to the ground, a Thrifty executive promised the firm would not abandon the stores that were looted.

Still, there was plenty of despair.

Richard Kim, owner of a family electronics business, found that looters had stolen 20 percent of his audio equipment and television sets. Fire had destroyed a million dollars of his inventory.

“We’re already leveraged out like a lot of businesses in the area,” he said, “We cannot take out any more loans. If the insurance does not cover it, we cannot rebuild.”

An insurance official stepped forward, surveying the shop’s damage, and said the industry would not abandon firms like Kim’s.

“The evidence is absolutely clear,” he said, “So we’re going to pay it off.”

At each step, it seemed, roadblocks were slowly melting. The city would need a lot more cooperation — federal, state, local, and private — but it was a start.

One day, the state sought out big national firms which had not been in the area. Would they develop South Central Los Angeles?

Gov. Pete Wilson met for three hours with a roomful of corporate executives. He emerged and said they had attached conditions to their involvement.

“They’re willing to take a certain amount on faith, but what I’m saying is that neighborhoods really have to respond or there’s an end to that faith.”

No one seemed able to assure outside corporations their businesses would not be burned and looted, least of all Paul Hudson, whose family owned a burned-out bank for 45 years.

“The governor was wrong to seek assurances,” said Hudson.

While his accountant examined records, salvage crews looked for a vault.

Hudson smiled wanly. “When you start hedging your bets and you start talking about, ‘We need assurances, we need some guarantees, we need to know somebody else is going to reinvest with us,’ all that starts to qualify the investment potential and the commitment of this community to rebuild.”

Another day, a group of bankers, black and white, toured the riot zones. Some said big corporations should disregard the risks that they can make a profit, but there was uncertainty.

A black banker, Winston Miller, wondered: “The insurance companies, how willing are they going to be to come in and commit also?”

A white savings and loan executive, Jeffrey Hobbs, seemed certain: “The large businessmen, I think, they’ll all be here and some already are.”

But when we talked to Woodley Lewis, a black businessman, he frowned. “Why would they want to come in the heart of the black community and take a chance? Because they can spend their money someplace else and the risk is not as great.”

Each business seemed to confront its own special problem.

Eric Holoman, the black owner of a restaurant chain, wanted to rebuild.

“The problem is I lease it from a white developer,” Holoman said. “I spoke to him a minute before we convened here; he says, ‘I don’t know.’”

By the time I left on May 10, the trust needed to bring business and commerce back to life was still hard to find, but those searching for it refused to give up. Two steps forward, half a step back. In those painful moments, Los Angeles, a giant metropolis, was gathering strength and getting back on its feet.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Arkansas executes fourth prisoner in eight days

Arkansas Department of Correction(VARMER, Ark.) — Arkansas executed its fourth prisoner in eight days on Thursday night, within an hour of the U.S. Supreme Court denying a motion for a stay of execution.

Kenneth Williams, a 38-year-old man convicted of two murders, was scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection at 7 p.m. local time at a correctional facility in Varmer, but the execution was delayed so that the Supreme Court could resolve a handful of other cases before considering Williams’ fate.

The execution comes as one of the trio of drugs it uses in lethal injections is due to expire at the end of the month.

It is not known how Arkansas will carry out future executions after the drug expires.

Williams was serving life in prison for the murder of 19-year-old Dominique Hurd when he escaped in 1999 and killed Cecil Boren. His capture resulted in another man’s death, Michael Greenwood, who was killed in a vehicle crash with Williams.

“The long path of justice ended tonight and Arkansans can reflect on the last two weeks with confidence that our system of laws in this state has worked,” said Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson in a statement. “Carrying out the penalty of the jury in the Kenneth Williams case was necessary. There has never been a question of guilt.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Tad Cummins slept with teen student, his wife says

Siskiyou County Sheriff(NEW YORK) — The wife of the former Tennessee teacher who was discovered last week in a rural cabin after over a month on the run with his 15-year-old student, said that he told her that he slept with the teen.

Jill Cummins spoke out about 50-year-old Tad Cummins’ alleged relationship with Elizabeth Thomas in an exclusive interview with Inside Edition, saying that she asked him, “‘Did you sleep with her?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I did,’ and so I did not want any details.”

“I knew the truth, I just wanted to hear it from him,” she added.

“He kept saying, ‘I love you,’ but I said ‘I’m sorry, but I am not going to say that back,'” Jill Cummins said, adding that he begged her for forgiveness after he was taken into custody by authorities on April 20.

Tad Cummins led investigators on a cross-country journey that lasted over a month before he was arrested in Northern California, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

“It was very hard to hear his voice after all this time, not knowing if I was going to hear it again, but he told me he was sorry,” Jill Cummins told Inside Edition. “He told me that he loved me and … please forgive him.”

“I told him I wouldn’t be answering the phone anymore,” she added.

Jill Cummins told ABC News in a previous interview that she had filed for divorce from Tad Cummins, after more than 30 years of marriage.

Tad Cummins faces charges in Siskiyou County, California, for kidnapping and possession of stolen property, according to the sheriff’s office. The charges are pending review by Siskiyou County District Attorney Kirk Andrus.

In Lawrence County, Tennessee, Cummins faces charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor, said Attorney General Brent Cooper.

The U.S. State Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee also filed a federal charge of transportation of a minor across state lines with intent of having criminal sexual intercourse against Cummins, said U.S. attorney Jack Smith. The charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The 15-year-old victim’s father, Anthony Thomas, told ABC News that his daughter’s appearance changed during the time she was missing.

“She had lost some weight for sure,” Anthony Thomas said. “He had not been feeding her. … She said they had been eating flowers and things.”

Elizabeth is currently spending time with her family and a trauma team to help her cope and heal.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Suspect allegedly chased Delaware state trooper before gunning him down, police say

pikepicture/iStock/Thinkstock(MIDDLETOWN, De.) — The 26-year-old suspect who allegedly shot and killed a Delaware state trooper on Wednesday chased the officer before gunning him down, police said.

The suspect, identified as Burgon Sealy, allegedly shot 32-year-old Cpl. Stephen Ballard, and then fled to his home, where he held a 20-hour standoff with police. He was later shot and killed by
police after he emerged carrying a weapon, ABC affiliate WPVI reported.

Here is a timeline of how the standoff unfolded:


Around 10 a.m.

Ballard observed what police described as a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot of a Wawa convenience store in Bear, Delaware on the Pulaski Highway. In a press conference Thursday, state police
said that they think Ballard “had a reason to stop” the red Dodge Charger and that it could have been “drug involvement.”

The trooper, dressed in full uniform, made contact with both the driver and the passenger, who showed their IDs, police said. When Ballard walked to the passenger side of the car, he asked Sealy to
step out of the vehicle, and a struggle ensued.

Sealy allegedly removed a firearm from his waistband and pursued Ballard in the parking lot. Ballard tried to take cover behind a parked vehicle, but when he fell, Sealy allegedly fired several
rounds at him, striking him.

The driver of the car stayed on the scene until more troopers arrived and was taken into custody without incident. He was later released.

Ballard was treated on the scene and transported to a local hospital.

Around 3 p.m.

All schools in the Appoquinimink School District in the Middletown, Delaware area are placed on lockdown amid the search for Sealy.

Around 4:45 p.m.

State police announce at a press conference that Ballard has succumbed to his injuries and that Sealy had barricaded himself in his home on St. Michaels Drive in the Brick Mill Farm development.

After he fled, Sealy had contacted family members to inform them that he had shot the trooper, police said. The family members then contacted law enforcement, who traced Sealy to his home.

Sealy fired several rounds at police officers. Residents in the area were evacuated due to the gunfire.

Hostage negotiators on the scene attempted to get information from the suspect and to obtain a “peaceful resolution,” police said.

7:32 p.m.

Delaware Gov. John Carney announced that U.S. and state flags will be flown at half-staff in Ballard’s honor.

8:22 p.m.

Sealy stopped making contact with police on the scene, who set up an explosive charge on the residence. Authorities did not enter the home but continued attempts to make contact with Sealy to
persuade him to surrender.

9:35 p.m.

Police identify Ballard as the trooper who was killed. He was an eight-year veteran of the Delaware State Police, police said.


4 a.m.

Sealy allegedly began firing at officers again, and authorities continued to try to negotiate with him. The Odessa Fire Company had opened its facility to temporarily house the residents in the
area who had been evacuated.

9:17 a.m.

Sealy exited the home with a weapon, according to officials. He was then shot by law enforcement.

9:29 a.m.

Sealy is pronounced dead on the scene. About 25 minutes later, police confirm to ABC News that the standoff is over.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Parents who lost 2 children in alleged nanny attack explain how creativity helped them heal

Lulu & Leo Fund(NEW YORK) — The parents of two children allegedly killed by their nanny inside their New York City home in 2012 have penned new essays opening up about their grief and their journey to recovery.

Marina Krim, who walked in the family’s Upper West Side apartment on that otherwise ordinary afternoon to find her children Lulu, 6, and Leo, 2, dead in a bathtub, said that in the weeks following Lulu and Leo’s deaths, she noticed “magical things happened,” describing her senses as “being awakened.”

3 takeaways from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s new book on grief, ‘Option B’

“I noticed a piece of street art on a construction site — a stencil of a young boy holding a sign filled with colorful hearts. I instantly connected him to Leo,” Krim wrote in her new essay. “I felt that maybe the universe was trying to tell me something, that it was helping me to realize that there was a beautiful ‘new’ relationship waiting to be developed with Lulu and Leo.”

Krim was coming home from taking her then-3-year-old daughter, Nessie, to a swim class when she discovered her other children dead. Their nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, was charged with their murders and is awaiting trial. She has pleaded not guilty. Her next scheduled court appearance is May 18.

Ortega, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in the Dominican Republic, worked for the Krim family for two years and had been referred to them by another family, New York Police Department officials said at a 2012 press conference.

Krim’s husband, Kevin Krim, wrote in a separate essay that it was Nessie, now 8, who helped him move forward in the immediate aftermath of Lulu and Leo’s deaths.

“When you wake up the first morning to a new and terrible world, what do you do? I didn’t feel like I’d ever want to do anything ever again,” Kevin Krim wrote. “But then little Nessie, our surviving child who was not yet 4 years old, looked at me and said, ‘Daddy, I’m hungry.’ And I knew I had to take care of her and Marina.”

The Krims wrote the essays for Option B, a website on adversity and resilience started by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, whose husband, Dave Goldberg, died unexpectedly in 2015. The website takes its name from a new book on grief written by Sandberg and psychologist Adam Grant.

“Expressions of creativity continue to help us heal, rebuild, and thrive. In part, writing our stories for Option B was a natural way for us to not only remember Lulu and Leo and talk about Choose Creativity, but also help others survive and thrive in the face of adversity,” the Krims said in a statement to ABC News. “We would have been happy to help simply because Sheryl and Adam are kind, thoughtful, and generous people and friends. We are also grateful to contribute to a well-researched and written book about the subjects we are asked about so often. It’s a critical resource that everyone should read.”

Marina Krim described other instances — including hearing the theme song from “Peanuts” and receiving, with Nessie, a compliment from a stranger — as being signs from Lulu and Leo.

“They showed me that there was still a way to connect with them,” she wrote. “It was an approach inspired by who they were and what they loved. It required creativity, always an important influence in my life.”

Marina Krim also explained why, on the first Mother’s Day after her children’s death, she decorated a wall in the family’s apartment with sand dollars she and Lulu had collected together from the beach on the first Mother’s Day after her children’s death.

“It was a simple way to express myself, feel present, and connect with Lulu and Leo on a really tough day,” she wrote.

The Krims have since had two more children, Felix, 3, and Linus, 1, and returned to New York City after embarking on a cross-country trip with Nessie in an RV.

Kevin Krim described the couple’s three living children as “genetically and spiritually half Lulu and half Leo.”

Both Marina and Kevin Krim wrote that the creativity that helped them in their healing inspired them to found The Lulu & Leo Fund and Choose Creativity, an organization that offers parents and schools a creativity curriculum based on 10 principles of creativity “that can help anyone thrive and build resiliency in all facets of their lives,” according to its website.

“Marina and I shared the creative impulse to do something constructive in the face of the destructive effects of violence,” Kevin Krim wrote. “We started the Lulu & Leo Fund in those early days to honor their creative, too-brief lives.”

Sheryl Sandberg is a member of the board of The Walt Disney Company, the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →