Review Category : Top Stories

Arizona AG Won’t Appeal Ruling That Struck Down Ban on Same-Sex Marriages

iStock/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) — After a district court judge ruled against Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage, the state’s attorney general has decided not to further defend the law.

According to a press release posted to Attorney General Tom Horne’s website, the decision not to defend the state’s law is “based on legal considerations rather than policy considerations.”

“A number of Attorneys General have refused to defend laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman,” he said. “I have not been among that group. I have fought to defend the laws as passed by the voters of Arizona.” However, Horne said, “the first duty of the Attorney General is to be a good lawyer.” Further, he highlights a rule that governs lawyers, by which “it is unethical for a lawyer to file a pleading for purposes of delay rather than to achieve a result.”

Because both a federal district court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals have ruled against the state’s law, and the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review the case of three other circuits in “essentially identical circumstances,” Horne admitted that “the probability of persuading the 9th circuit to reverse today’s decision is zero…the probability of the United States Supreme Court accepting review of the 9th circuit decision is also zero.”

Horne decided, therefore, that “the only purpose to be served by filing another appeal would be to waste the taxpayer’s money,” prompting his decision not to appeal.

“I am issuing a letter today to the 15 county clerks of court with the directive that based on today’s decision by the Federal District Court, they can issue licenses for same sex marriages immediately,” he added.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Hurricane Gonzalo Approaching Bermuda

NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team(HAMILTON, Bermuda) — Hurricane Gonzalo continues to roar towards Bermuda Friday and is now less than 200 miles from the small island.

The Category 3 hurricane — packing maximum sustained winds of 125 mph — forced officials in Bermuda to issue a Hurricane Warning.

While the storm will weaken as it approaches, loss of life and property remains a genuine concern. Storm surge could top 10 feet at the shore, waves could climb above 20 feet and winds could surpass 100 mph.

It’s been a while since Bermuda has taken a hit as strong as this may be. Hurricane Fabian in 2003 brought winds to 120 mph and killed at least four people.

Watch a live stream from Bermuda as Hurricane Gonzalo approaches, courtesy of PTZtv.com:

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Hurricane Gonzalo Approaching Bermuda

NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team(HAMILTON, Bermuda) — Hurricane Gonzalo continues to roar towards Bermuda Friday and is now less than 200 miles from the small island.

The Category 3 hurricane — packing maximum sustained winds of 125 mph — forced officials in Bermuda to issue a Hurricane Warning.

While the storm will weaken as it approaches, loss of life and property remains a genuine concern. Storm surge could top 10 feet at the shore, waves could climb above 20 feet and winds could surpass 100 mph.

It’s been a while since Bermuda has taken a hit as strong as this may be. Hurricane Fabian in 2003 brought winds to 120 mph and killed at least four people.

Watch a live stream from Bermuda as Hurricane Gonzalo approaches, courtesy of PTZtv.com:

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Hurricane Gonzalo Approaching Bermuda

NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team(HAMILTON, Bermuda) — Hurricane Gonzalo continues to roar towards Bermuda Friday and is now less than 200 miles from the small island.

The Category 3 hurricane — packing maximum sustained winds of 125 mph — forced officials in Bermuda to issue a Hurricane Warning.

While the storm will weaken as it approaches, loss of life and property remains a genuine concern. Storm surge could top 10 feet at the shore, waves could climb above 20 feet and winds could surpass 100 mph.

It’s been a while since Bermuda has taken a hit as strong as this may be. Hurricane Fabian in 2003 brought winds to 120 mph and killed at least four people.

Watch a live stream from Bermuda as Hurricane Gonzalo approaches, courtesy of PTZtv.com:

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Putin Keeps German Chancellor Waiting, Meets with Leaders at Asia-Europe Meeting

The Kremlin(MILAN, Italy) — Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Milan to meet with a number of European leaders this week, sitting down with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for “positive” talks on Friday, after arriving late for a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel the night before.

Putin, who arrived in Milan from Serbia where a military parade was held in his honor, was scheduled to meet with Merkel before a dinner meeting consisting of European and Asian leaders. The Russian leader, however, arrived in the middle of the dinner in the middle of the host’s toast.

The meeting between Putin and Merkel, which took place after dinner — four hours after it was scheduled — lasted about two and a half hours.

The Kremlin later posted a photo from the late meeting to its website.

According to the Kremlin, Putin also met with leaders from Australia, France, Italy, Japan, and Romania during the Asia-Europe Meeting.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Putin Keeps German Chancellor Waiting, Meets with Leaders at Asia-Europe Meeting

The Kremlin(MILAN, Italy) — Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Milan to meet with a number of European leaders this week, sitting down with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for “positive” talks on Friday, after arriving late for a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel the night before.

Putin, who arrived in Milan from Serbia where a military parade was held in his honor, was scheduled to meet with Merkel before a dinner meeting consisting of European and Asian leaders. The Russian leader, however, arrived in the middle of the dinner in the middle of the host’s toast.

The meeting between Putin and Merkel, which took place after dinner — four hours after it was scheduled — lasted about two and a half hours.

The Kremlin later posted a photo from the late meeting to its website.

According to the Kremlin, Putin also met with leaders from Australia, France, Italy, Japan, and Romania during the Asia-Europe Meeting.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Ebola Scare Sends Caribbean Cruise Ship Back Home

Jeremy Malone saw 30 to 40 crew members with buckets of disinfectant who were lined up on along his hallway as they prepared to clean the ship Courtesy Jeremy Malone(NEW YORK) — The presence of a woman who helped care for an Ebola patient who died has left a Caribbean cruise ship unable to dock at foreign tourist ports and is now heading back to Texas.

One passenger said the announcement of the woman’s presence has created “utter panic” on the Carnival Magic cruise ship, while others remained outwardly unfazed, sunbathing by the outdoor pool.

“People are scared,” passenger Jon Malone told ABC News as the ship was waiting miles off shore from Cozumel, Mexico. “I’ve seen people crying.”

The chaos started Friday morning when there was an announcement on the ship’s intercom saying “that someone who worked in the lab who handled the person in Dallas’ blood was on the ship,” Jon’s brother and fellow passenger Jeremy Malone told ABC. The cruise line said the woman is in isolation on board the ship.

“You’re using the same buffet line as someone else, the same waiters, the folks that clean the state rooms. If someone was cleaning their state room and cleaned yours right after, the exposure that you have there to elevators…” he said. “It’s very tight quarters and a lot of interaction. It’s really difficult to control any type of virus that’s on a cruise ship. It’s like a floating petri dish. It spreads very rapidly.”

Though the cruise line has not released the name of the passenger or her location, the Malones fear that her room may be on their floor because when Jeremy walked outside his room Friday morning, he saw a group of 30 to 40 workers gathered with buckets of what looked like cleaning chemicals.

“Some of them had masks on,” Jon Malone said.

“They had a pink liquid in clear spray bottles and they had little wagons that had grey containers — like mop buckets — filled with chemicals,” he said. “They’re cleaning elevators. I’ve seen people with pink liquid cleaning the bar area and the handrails.”

The workers wouldn’t answer questions about what room or floor the hospital employee was staying on, but Jeremy said that he fears that she was on the 11th floor because the workers “kind of looked at each other and smiled. They didn’t know what to say.”

The first signs of trouble emerged Thursday night when they did not leave Belize at 6 p.m. as intended to make their way to Cozumel.

“The ship wasn’t going anywhere. We were parked maybe 10 miles from the shore, so that was unusual,” Jeremy Malone said. “Several hours go by and we still haven’t moved and they hadn’t made any announcements or anything.”

The first word they received came while attending a comedy show on board when an employee indicated that a passenger was ill and needed to be taken off the ship, but made no mention of Ebola.

Carnival administrators were notified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the passenger’s connection to the Dallas hospital on Wednesday evening and they tried unsuccessfully to get her and her travel companion flown home from Belize on Thursday.

Secretary of State John Kerry even weighed in, personally calling the Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow asking him to allow the passenger to be evacuated through the port, but was rebuffed. Kerry then suggested that an American helicopter could land on the cruise ship and transfer the passenger to an American medevac plane at a Belize airport, but that plan was also rejected.

“My decision had been made. The window of opportunity if it had ever existed had slammed shut,” Barrow told Kerry, according to two Belizean government officials.

Carnival released a statement Friday confirming the presence of a lab supervisor from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on board the ship, but said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deemed the woman “low risk.”

“At no point in time has the individual exhibited any symptoms or signs of infection and it has been 19 days since she was in the lab with the testing samples,” the statement said. The incubation period for Ebola is believed to be two to 21 days.

Carnival has confirmed that the ship did not receive clearance to dock in Mexico and the ship is now headed back to Galveston, Texas. They will arrive in Galveston by their originally scheduled return time on Sunday morning.

“We greatly regret that this situation, which was completely beyond our control, precluded the ship from making its scheduled visit to Cozumel and the resulting disappointment it has caused our guests,” the company said in a statement.

It said that guests are being given a $200 credit to spend on the ship during their remaining two days on board, and will be given a 50 percent discount on a future cruise.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Comet to Skim Past Mars in ‘Once in a Million Years’ Encounter

NASA(HOUSTON) — A once in a million years cosmic event will grace the heavens this weekend when a comet is expected to have a close encounter with Mars.

Comet Siding Spring will pass within 87,000 miles of the Red Planet on Sunday, Oct. 19 — that’s about one-third the distance between the Earth and the moon, according to NASA scientists.

The comet is expected to come closest to Mars at 2:27 p.m. ET that day, moving at about 34 miles per second.

The best view of the rare show can be viewed via binoculars or telescope from the Southern Hemisphere, with South Africa and Australia having the best views as the comet grazes past Mars, scientists said.

The rest of the world can look forward to incredible images captured by NASA’s fleet of spacecraft, which have taken up prime positions to capture images, and information about the size, rotation and gas composition of Siding Spring, agency officials said.

John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, called the event a “cosmic science gift that could potentially keep on giving.”

The comet is comprised of icy debris that researchers believe are remnants from the formation of the solar system. Its dramatic brush past the Red Planet is expected to yield new insights into the materials that existed during the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Rangers Introduce Jeff Banister

Tom Szcaerbowski/Getty Images(ARLINGTON, Texas) — The Texas Rangers introduced new manager Jeff Banister on Friday.

Banister was named manager on Thursday and takes over a team that finished 67-95 in the A.L. West.

The Houston resident’s last managerial job was with Arizona’s Fall League’s Scottsdale Scorpions in 2009.

“I’ve never chased a job in my life,” Banister said. “The best opportunities that come along are the ones you’re not looking for. Have I prepared myself for this opportunity? Yeah. From the day I stopped playing until now, I’ve truly dreamed and wanted to and tried to, but I got to a point in my life that I told myself I wasn’t going to chase it. If it happened, it happened. … So to say that looking for this opportunity, I’d say some of the best opportunities are ones you’re not looking for. I was asked, I thought about it and said, ‘What a great place.'”

Banister replaces interim manager Tim Bogar, who led the Rangers to a 14-8 record following the resignation of manager Ron Washington on Sept. 5.

“I honor everything that has been done here previously and the men that have had a vision previously,” Banister said. “These men know how to win. These men know what it takes to win. Last year was, I’m assuming for everybody in that clubhouse, an unfortunate situation. There were some guys who were hurt and some things out of their control. But the beauty of last year, in my eyes, is there were some men who came up and had the opportunity to gain some valuable experience moving forward. As we all know, it’s not just 25 men.”

Banister spent 29 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and spent the last five as their bench coach.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Experimental Treatments that Could Help Stop Ebola

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Federal officials have confirmed that medical teams have given two Ebola-infected nurses from Dallas experimental treatments to help them fight the deadly virus that has already killed 4,555 people, mainly in West Africa.

While testifying before a congressional panel on Thursday, Dr. Luciana Borio, assistant commissioner for counter-terrorism policy for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said “every Ebola patient in the U.S. has been treated with at least one investigational product.”

Two nurses from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas were diagnosed with Ebola after treating Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who contracted the disease before arriving in the U.S.

Duncan died on Oct. 8 making him the first person to die from Ebola in the U.S. The ongoing worst-ever Ebola outbreak has pushed doctors and health care officials to search for new or experimental treatments.

Several companies have products in development aimed at combating the virus that can lead to a deadly hemorrhagic fever. Before the outbreak, doctors generally used supportive care, including intravenous fluids and oxygen to help patients.

While every U.S. patient and many patients from European countries have received some kind of experimental treatment, the effectiveness of these treatments remains unclear without more rigorous scientific study.

To better understand how doctors can approach treating the deadly disease, here is a list of some experimental treatments in the works:

Brincidofovir

An antiviral drug called brincidofovir was used to treat Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., and Ashoka Mukpo, an American freelance cameraman who contracted the virus while on assignment in Liberia.

Brincidofovir is a modified version of an existing drug called cidofovir and works by inhibiting the replication of a virus, according to Chimerix, a pharmaceutical company based in North Carolina.

The medication is experimental and before the outbreak had not been tested to combat Ebola in humans or primates, according to Chimerix.

Duncan died on Oct. 8 after being hospitalized at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital for over a week. Mukpo was transported from Liberia to the biocontainment unit at Nebraska Medical center, where he remains in isolation.

ZMapp

The most well-known of the experimental treatments was used on the first two American health workers to be diagnosed with Ebola in Liberia.

Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol were the first humans to be given the drug, which had previously been tested only in primates, according to health officials. The drug is a mix of three synthetic antibodies that can attack the structure of the Ebola virus.

This cocktail of antibodies specifically attack the virus’ spike-like protrusions used to invade cells and replicate. It remains unclear whether the drug helped the patients get over their infection due to the small number of people given the drug.

Of the seven people known to have been given ZMapp, five survived the virus.

In August, Mapp Pharmaceuticals announced the supply of ZMapp had been exhausted and that it would take weeks to months to manufacture more of the medication.

ZMab

One component of ZMapp has been used to help infected patients in Spain and Norway fight the virus. Called ZMab, the drug consists of a cocktail of three mouse antibodies developed to fight the virus.

In theory the antibodies will give a patient’s immune system a head start against the virus and a chance to create their own antibodies and fight off the virus.

Convalescent Serum

Doctors have also tried an older method of treatment called “convalescent serum,” which involves giving an infected patient plasma from another patient who has recovered. In theory, that surviving patient will have developed antibodies that can help the infected patient fight off the virus.

In the U.S., Brantly has donated plasma to at least three patients, Dr. Rick Sacra, Nina Pham and Mukpo. The serum can also be a limited option since a donor and recipient must have a matching or compatible blood type.

Since Brantly is blood type A+, his plasma could not be used to help Duncan, whose blood type was B+, according to his family.

While there was no hard evidence that the plasma donation could help a patient with Ebola, Dr. Phillip Smith, who treated Sacra as the head of the biocontainment unit at Nebraska Medical Center, said it was a fairly safe procedure and there was a chance it provided Sacra critical time to allow his immune system to fight off the Ebola virus.

“We’re hoping it [would] jump-start his immunity. To survive [Ebola] you have to build up enough antibodies to [fight the virus],” Smith told reporters. “We were hoping to buy him some time, to give his immune system time to battle the disease.”

TKM-Ebola

The pharmaceutical company Tekmira, based in Canada, was the second experimental Ebola therapy to be used in the U.S. after the ZMapp supply was exhausted.

Sacra was given a dose of the Tekmira drug, TKM-Ebola, when he arrived in Nebraska for treatment earlier this month, doctors said.

Thomas Geisbert, a virologist studying Ebola at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, worked on the production of TKM-Ebola and said that the medication works by targeting a specific region of the virus’ genetic material and preventing it from making more copies of itself.

“It interferes with the virus genetic blueprint,” Geisbert explained.

The experimental drug, which was partially funded by the Department of Defense’s Threat Reduction Agency, was tested extensively in primates and it was approved for phase one of human trials this January by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Sarepta’s Ebola Anti-Viral Medication

One other option for doctors will be a drug designed by the Massachusetts-based Sarepta Therapeutics.

Chris Garabedian, president and CEO of Sarepta, said the drug works by targeting the protein responsible for replicating the Ebola virus in the host. In primate studies, the survival rate for subjects treated with the medication was between 60 to 80 percent, according to Garabedian. The drug was developed originally due to a contract with the Department of Defense.

However, there are just 25 doses currently ready for immediate use, according to a spokesperson for Sarepta. There is material for another 100 doses, but that material is not yet ready and would take months before it would be ready for use in patients.

Biocryst Pharmaceuticals’ BCX4430

One other drug is being developed by a North Carolina-based pharmaceutical company collaborating with the National Institutes of Health.

The antiviral drug BCX4430 could be used to treat different kinds of hemorrhagic fever including Ebola, according to Biocryst Pharmaceuticals.

The Ebola drug attempts to stop the virus by targeting a key enzyme in the virus, according to the company’s website.

The drug will start the first phase of human trials later this year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →