Review Category : Top Stories

Israel Accepts Cease-Fire Plan to End War Against Hamas

iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) — After 50 days of fighting in Gaza, both Israel and Hamas have agreed to a new open-ended cease-fire that began at noon eastern time on Tuesday.

Shortly after the truce began at 7 p.m. local time, a number of rockets were fired onto Southern Israel, but now the attacks have stopped and Israeli is holding its fire.

The strongest indication that this conflict may have finally ended is the reaction on the streets of Gaza — thousands of Palestinians have poured into the streets, singing, and waving flags, celebrating what Hamas is calling its “victory.”

At the State Department, spokesperson Jen Psaki says the United States “strongly supports” the move.

“We call on all parties to fully and completely comply with its terms,” Psaki said. “We hope very much that this ceasefire will prove to be durable and sustainable. That it will put an end to rocket and mortar attacks and that it help to bring about an enduring end to the conflict.”

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A Look Back at the Owners of Burger King

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — On Tuesday Burger King announced the acquisition of Tim Hortons, becoming the world’s third largest fast-food restaurant company.

The company has had several owners and holding companies since 1954, including the Pillsbury dough boy and a booze magnate.

In honor of the deal, here is a look back at who has held the Burger King crown over the years:

1954: David Edgerton opened the first Burger King in Miami in 1954, when hamburgers and milkshakes were 18 cents. Three months later, James McLamore joins as a partner and the co-founders form Burger King of Miami Inc.

1960s: In 1961, the two men acquired national and international franchising rights for the Burger King brand, according to the Burger King corporate website. In 1963, South Florida Restaurants Inc. changed its name to Burger King Corp. as it opened its first international restaurants: two locations in Puerto Rico. In 1967, the Pillsbury Co. acquired Burger King for $18 million. At the time, Burger King had 274 restaurants and 8,000 employees across the world, the company states on its website.

1988: In 1988, Grand Metropolitan PLC acquired the Pillsbury Co., including Burger King, for $5.79 billion.

1997: In 1997, Grand Metropolitan merged with Guinness to create Diageo PLC.

2000: In 2000, Diageo announces that it planned to spin off Burger King, choosing to instead focus on spirits and liquor.

2002: In 2002, Burger King sold to private equity firms Texas Pacific Group, Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners for $1.5 billion.

2006: In 2006, Burger King Holdings went public and listed its stock on the New York Stock Exchange.

2010: On October 19, 2010, 3G Capital acquired Burger King Holdings, turning the restaurant chain into a privately held company again.

2012: In April 2012, Burger King Worldwide Holdings Inc. and Justice Holdings Limited, a publicly listed British investment company, listed Burger King on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading began June 20, 2012, under the ticker NYSE:BKW. 3G Capital maintains about 70% of company ownership, according to the Burger King corporate website.

2014: On Aug. 26, 2014, the home of the Whopper buys Tim Hortons and becomes the world’s third largest fast-food restaurant company with $23 billion in sales.

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HP Recalls 5 Million Laptop Power Cords

Courtesy U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (NEW YORK) — Hewlett-Packard is recalling the power cords for more than 5 million laptops because they can overheat and potentially catch fire.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the HP and Compaq notebook computers impacted by the recall were sold from 2010 to 2012. The power cords are black and have an LS-15 marking on the AC adapter end.

There have been a few reports of the cords melting or charring, and two claims of minor burns.

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ISIS Demands $6.6M Ransom for 26-Year-Old American Woman

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A third American hostage held by ISIS has been identified as a 26-year-old American woman who was kidnapped a year ago while doing humanitarian relief work in Syria. The terror group is demanding $6.6 million and the release of U.S. prisoners for the life of the young woman, who the family requested not be identified.

She is the third of at least four Americans who were known to be held by ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. American journalist James Foley was executed by the group in a video that appeared online last week. Another writer, Steven Sotloff, was seen alive but under duress in the same footage.

In addition to the multi-million dollar ransom, the terror group has also demanded that the U.S. release Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT-trained neuroscientist who was convicted by the U.S. in 2010 of trying to kill U.S. officials two years before, according to a supporter of Siddiqui who has been in contact with the hostage’s family.

Siddiqui’s release has been a regular demand of groups critical of U.S. policy in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, but on Monday, Siddiqui’s family spoke out through supporters to say they were “very distraught” Siddiqui’s name was invoked with the ransom request and sought to distance themselves from ISIS.

“If the issue is true, we would like to state that our family does not have any connections to such groups or actions,” reads a letter written by Siddiqui’s family. “We believe in a struggle that is peaceful and dignified. Associating Aafia’s name with acts of violence is against everything we are struggling for.”

“While we deeply appreciate the sincere feelings of those who, like us, wish to see the freedom of our beloved Aafia, we cannot agree with a ‘by any means necessary’ approach to Aafia’s freedom. Nor can we accept that someone else’s daughter or sister suffer like Aafia is suffering,” the letter says.

The Siddiqui family has been “traumatized by the thoughts that someone else could be harmed in the name of Aafia,” said Mauri Saalakhan of the Peace and Justice Foundation, who held a sparsely attended press conference Monday and spoke on behalf of the Siddiqui family.

“They’re opposed to it. In their letter to ISIS they made it very clear, this is not the way, these are not the conditions under which we want our loved ones released,” Saalakhan said. “Nor did they want harm to come to anyone else’s loved one in the name of Aafia…They conveyed that message loud and clear.

“The most important message that I could convey to ISIS or whoever it is that’s holding these innocent people captive abroad is that at the end of the day, this type of approach in response to an injustice that you feel, is not only not the inappropriate way to go, but, properly understood, it is a violation of the tenets of the faith that we claim to believe in,” he said. “We just have to do the right thing because it is the right thing, without any strings attached. And the right thing would be to let this young woman go back to her family, go back to her life. And the right thing for America to do, for our government… would be to do the same with Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.”

The details of the ISIS ransom demand and the abduction of the young aid worker were disclosed by Saalakhan and a close friend of the unnamed hostage family in statements to ABC News Monday.

Each of the three known surviving American hostages in ISIS’ hands have been threatened with death since Foley’s execution, sources have told ABC News. In the video that showed Foley’s death, a masked militant said that Sotloff’s fate rested in President Obama’s hands — an apparent demand that the U.S. stop airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq.

The day after Foley’s execution video emerged online, the U.S. military announced it had continued bombing runs against ISIS in Iraq and overnight, The New York Times reported President Obama has approved surveillance flights over Syria, what the paper called a potential precursor to airstrikes there.

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Man Suing British Airways for Flying Him to Grenada, Not Granada, Spain

British Airways Media Centre(NORTH BETHESDA, Maryland) — A Maryland man is suing British Airways because of a mix-up that landed him in a completely different country from his intended destination.

“I had a conference in Lisbon, Portugal, and I saw that as my opportunity to finally get to Spain,” Dr. Edward Gamson, of North Bethesda, Maryland, told ABC News. “I had always wanted to see the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.”

But a major issue held up Gamson and his partner from their dream vacation: spelling.

Granada, Spain, is spelled similarly to Grenada, a small Caribbean island country located nearly 4,000 miles away near the coast of Brazil, which is where Gamson, who works as an endodontist, and his partner found themselves in September.

Gamson and his partner had flown from Washington, D.C., to London. The two thought they were flying to Spain, but instead boarded a flight to St. Lucia, which was then headed to Grenada.

“Within 20 minutes of departing…we look at this little monitor in front of us, and the plane’s heading west, so I go up to the flight attendant and said, ‘Why west? Why not south? We’re going to Spain,’” Gamson recalled. “He said, ‘Spain, what are you talking about? We’re going to Grenada. We’re in the West Indies,’ and my heart just dropped.”

While Grenada was spelled correctly on their tickets, Gamson said he didn’t notice because he was in vacation mode.

“We had just flown across the Atlantic first class and really enjoyed it. I think just my mindset was like, ‘Just lay back, and don’t think about it,’” Gamson said.

So the two flew to St. Lucia, then caught a flight to Miami. From Miami, they flew back to London and finally to Lisbon.

The grueling three-day travel schedule of seven different flights cost a total $2,776.

Gamson is now suing British Airways, through which he booked the vacation, for the error.

“When I booked [the trip], with British Air, not only was I specific on city and country, but I even gave airport codes,” he said. “And I certainly had no way of anticipating that there could be a booking agent who didn’t know the difference between the West Indies and Spain.”

In a statement to ABC News, British Airways officials said they have been trying to work with Gamson to correct the error.

“We have been in regular contact with the couple since the incident took place and have offered extensive assistance,” the statement said. “They declined the airline’s offer of new flights to Granada, Spain, and at the request of the customers, British Airways provided flights, at no additional charge, to an alternate destination.” As a “good will gesture,” the airline also gave Gamson and his partner enough frequent flier miles to book another trip in the future.

But Gamson said he declined their offer and is moving forward with a $34,000 lawsuit.

“It sounds like a lot, but it’s a composition of the pre-paid expenses that were in Spain that we never were able to use, the cost of the flights — and this is a first-class flight — and the fact that the two of us for a number of days obviously did not have a vacation,” he said. “Blunders happen, and we realize that. And we’re reasonable, but then settle it.”

Gamson and his partner finally made it to Granada in May.

“Now I’ve waited a long time, but this trip really was worth it,” Gamson said. “It was that beautiful.”

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Man Suing British Airways for Flying Him to Grenada, Not Granada, Spain

British Airways Media Centre(NORTH BETHESDA, Maryland) — A Maryland man is suing British Airways because of a mix-up that landed him in a completely different country from his intended destination.

“I had a conference in Lisbon, Portugal, and I saw that as my opportunity to finally get to Spain,” Dr. Edward Gamson, of North Bethesda, Maryland, told ABC News. “I had always wanted to see the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.”

But a major issue held up Gamson and his partner from their dream vacation: spelling.

Granada, Spain, is spelled similarly to Grenada, a small Caribbean island country located nearly 4,000 miles away near the coast of Brazil, which is where Gamson, who works as an endodontist, and his partner found themselves in September.

Gamson and his partner had flown from Washington, D.C., to London. The two thought they were flying to Spain, but instead boarded a flight to St. Lucia, which was then headed to Grenada.

“Within 20 minutes of departing…we look at this little monitor in front of us, and the plane’s heading west, so I go up to the flight attendant and said, ‘Why west? Why not south? We’re going to Spain,’” Gamson recalled. “He said, ‘Spain, what are you talking about? We’re going to Grenada. We’re in the West Indies,’ and my heart just dropped.”

While Grenada was spelled correctly on their tickets, Gamson said he didn’t notice because he was in vacation mode.

“We had just flown across the Atlantic first class and really enjoyed it. I think just my mindset was like, ‘Just lay back, and don’t think about it,’” Gamson said.

So the two flew to St. Lucia, then caught a flight to Miami. From Miami, they flew back to London and finally to Lisbon.

The grueling three-day travel schedule of seven different flights cost a total $2,776.

Gamson is now suing British Airways, through which he booked the vacation, for the error.

“When I booked [the trip], with British Air, not only was I specific on city and country, but I even gave airport codes,” he said. “And I certainly had no way of anticipating that there could be a booking agent who didn’t know the difference between the West Indies and Spain.”

In a statement to ABC News, British Airways officials said they have been trying to work with Gamson to correct the error.

“We have been in regular contact with the couple since the incident took place and have offered extensive assistance,” the statement said. “They declined the airline’s offer of new flights to Granada, Spain, and at the request of the customers, British Airways provided flights, at no additional charge, to an alternate destination.” As a “good will gesture,” the airline also gave Gamson and his partner enough frequent flier miles to book another trip in the future.

But Gamson said he declined their offer and is moving forward with a $34,000 lawsuit.

“It sounds like a lot, but it’s a composition of the pre-paid expenses that were in Spain that we never were able to use, the cost of the flights — and this is a first-class flight — and the fact that the two of us for a number of days obviously did not have a vacation,” he said. “Blunders happen, and we realize that. And we’re reasonable, but then settle it.”

Gamson and his partner finally made it to Granada in May.

“Now I’ve waited a long time, but this trip really was worth it,” Gamson said. “It was that beautiful.”

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Drivers May Get a Break at the Pump this Labor Day Weekend

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Americans hitting the road this weekend for Labor Day may get some relief at the pump.

Gas prices this holiday weekend are expected to be at their lowest level in four years. Currently, the national average price for a gallon of gas is $3.43 — 16 cents cheaper than Labor Day 2013.

“Oil is dropping, because we saw prices earlier in the summer above $100 a barrel. There were fears that the instability in Iraq would hit oil supply. They didn’t in any major way. Plus, here in the United States, we’re producing the most oil since 1972. That is driving oil prices down, and as a result, prices at the pump are dropping, too,” ABC News Chief Business and Economics Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis explains.

According to AAA, 29.7 million Americans are projected to go on a road trip between Aug. 28 and Sept. 1.

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Saying So Long to Summer: Fall Foods Already Hitting Shelves

Tim Hortons | Starbucks(NEW YORK) — It’s the dog days of summer, and you can celebrate the heat with a pumpkin spice latte. Or perhaps you’d prefer a caramel apple Oreo.

Either way, the fall flavors you desire come September have already arrived.

“With the fast approach of fall, we know fans are hungry for what’s next and we’re excited to help them celebrate the new season just a little bit early,” an Oreo brand representative told ABC News of their new flavor, available for a limited time at Target.

Starbucks and Tim Hortons have taken similar stances, with Starbucks creating an online scavenger hunt for its fans to “unlock” the opportunity to order the brand’s popular pumpkin spice latte starting Tuesday.

“It’s a fun way to give our most passionate fans an opportunity to enjoy this seasonal favorite before it officially launches across the country,” a Starbucks representative told ABC News.

Support on social media has grown as the date approached, with excitement starting even in mid-July.

“Just a reminder: We are now less than 30 days away from the return of #PumpkinSpiceLatte at @starbucks,” @TVMoJoe wrote on July 30.

But not everyone agrees.

“It’s definitely way too early to be displaying fall foods as it’s not even September,” Dana Halpern, 26, of New York City, told ABC News. “I don’t see myself getting one anytime soon. I can’t imagine ordering a pumpkin spice latte until the weather is just crisp enough and I reach for a jacket on a regular basis.”

If you’re like Halpern and still too hot for the warm version, Tim Hortons has you covered. The Canadian-based coffee chain launched an iced pumpkin pie cappuccino.

Tim Hortons spokeswoman Brynn Burton told ABC News that they’re not trying to shoo away summer, but rather welcome fall and answer customers’ requests for the fall flavor year-round.

“The reason we released the pumpkin in late summer is really because when back-to-school starts, fall is on people’s minds, and especially pumpkin,” Burton said. “Summer unofficially ends when school starts. Our American guests are crazy about pumpkin and have indicated to us that they would even enjoy it all year round.”

Convenience stores are also getting in on the action. The Big Y in Lee, Massachusetts, has already built its Halloween display, shocking Lesley Messer, 30, of New York City during a recent visit there — enough to post a photo of the offerings on Instagram.

“It’s August 16th, guys,” Messer, ABC News’ digital entertainment editor, wrote. “Relax.”

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Amazon Not Always the Cheapest Place to Shop

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Amazon has a great reputation with consumers for discounts. And while prices of many items on Amazon are a good deal, it’s not always the cheapest source for everything.

If you’re looking for school supplies, food and clothing, the online retail giant may not be the cheapest place to shop. The same goes for diapers.

“Target’s diapers, Walmart’s store-brand diapers — those are cheaper,” says consumer writer Cameron Huddleston at Kiplinger’s. “As a mother of three, I have plenty of experience in this area and I can tell you those generic diapers work just as well as the brand names.”

Some moms disagree but you can shop around.

“You can still get them delivered to your door. Walmart has a subscribe-and-save program too,” Huddleston notes.

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Search Underway for American Student Missing in Israel

iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) — A large search is underway in the Jerusalem Forest for an American student who never came back from a hike on Friday.

Police units, search and rescue teams and dozens of volunteers are fanning out across the forest to try to find Aaron Sofer, a 23-year-old Orthodox Jew from Lakewood, New Jersey.

Sofer had come to Jerusalem to study in a Yeshiva, or Jewish seminary. He disappeared Friday while hiking with a friend who told Israeli Police the two had split up to take different paths down a steep incline.

Given that the forest is where three Orthodox Israelis burned a Palestinian boy to death last month, police are concerned that Sofer may be the victim of a nationally-motivated crime.

So far, there is no evidence that is the case as the search enters its third day.

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