Review Category : Top Stories

Hatchet-Wielding Man Who Attacked Cops ‘Just an Angry Guy’

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A hatchet-wielding man who attacked two police officers in New York City before he was shot to death was likely “just an angry guy” and was not connected to any terrorist organizations, a police source told ABC News.

The attack happened at 2 p.m. Thursday, at the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and 162nd Street in the city’s borough of Queens.

Surveillance video released by police shows the man — later identified as Zale Thompson, 32 — wearing a heavy green jacket, raising the 18 ½ inch hatchet, prepared to strike as he walked down the sidewalk. The man was unprovoked and did not speak before swinging his hatchet, police said.

Officer Kenneth Healey, 25, is listed in critical but stable condition at Jamaica Hospital with a head wound following the attack, police said. Officer Joseph Meeker, 24, is listed in stable condition with an arm injury.

Additionally, a 29-year-old woman located nearby was accidentally struck by a bullet in her lower back and is recovering from surgery, police said.

Police initially wondered if the attack was terrorism-related, but according to the police source, authorities haven’t been able to connect Thompson to any terrorist organization.

“The initial impression is that he’s just an angry guy who’s ranting about the American government and American oppression of foreign people,” the source said.

Police executed several search warrants and found other axes and hunting knives, the source said.

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Hatchet-Wielding Man Who Attacked Cops ‘Just an Angry Guy’

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A hatchet-wielding man who attacked two police officers in New York City before he was shot to death was likely “just an angry guy” and was not connected to any terrorist organizations, a police source told ABC News.

The attack happened at 2 p.m. Thursday, at the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and 162nd Street in the city’s borough of Queens.

Surveillance video released by police shows the man — later identified as Zale Thompson, 32 — wearing a heavy green jacket, raising the 18 ½ inch hatchet, prepared to strike as he walked down the sidewalk. The man was unprovoked and did not speak before swinging his hatchet, police said.

Officer Kenneth Healey, 25, is listed in critical but stable condition at Jamaica Hospital with a head wound following the attack, police said. Officer Joseph Meeker, 24, is listed in stable condition with an arm injury.

Additionally, a 29-year-old woman located nearby was accidentally struck by a bullet in her lower back and is recovering from surgery, police said.

Police initially wondered if the attack was terrorism-related, but according to the police source, authorities haven’t been able to connect Thompson to any terrorist organization.

“The initial impression is that he’s just an angry guy who’s ranting about the American government and American oppression of foreign people,” the source said.

Police executed several search warrants and found other axes and hunting knives, the source said.

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ISIS Hit Hard, But Iraq Offensive Could Be Year Away

iStock/Thinkstock(MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Florida) — The combination of American airstrikes and Iraqi and Kurdish military operations are beginning to undermine ISIS’s confidence on the battlefield but an Iraqi offensive to take back territory is a long way off, U.S. military officials believe.

It could be as long as a year before Iraq’s military is capable of launching a major offensive operation to retake Mosul and maybe just as long before a force of U.S. trained Syrian rebels can begin their own offensive operations against ISIS, the militant Islamic group also known as ISIL or the Islamic State.

Officials at U.S. Central Command told reporters Thursday that it’s still too soon to determine the strategic impacts in the fight against ISIS, but they are encouraged by improved Iraqi military operations and the resistance of Syrian Kurdish fighters in Kobani.

The officials said ISIS wants to maintain its freedom of movement across the non-existent border between Iraqi and Syria, so it has focused its operations on establishing two major west-to-east supply routes between Iraq and Syria. A southern route links eastern Syria with Fallujah in Iraq’s Anbar Province. The Iraqi Army has continued to fight ISIS to prevent them from establishing full control of the highway to Fallujah, but their operations have been limited in scope.

A second northern route for ISIS extends from northeastern Syria past the Mount Sinjar area and into the Iraqi city of Mosul. Kurdish Peshmerga forces have taken back the Mosul Dam from ISIS and checked the group’s offensives east of Mosul.

One U.S. official said the Iraqi Army currently has “an ability to conduct localized counterattacks” to contest ISIS advances in Iraq, but he would not say they are in the midst of a counteroffensive.

“We need to help the Iraqi Army take the counteroffensive and that’s going to require a more sustained effort,” the official said noting it will need U.S. help in rebuilding its intelligence-gathering, logistics and military planning efforts.

While the official predicted it might be a matter of months before a sustained counteroffensive could be launched he also said it could still be “months, maybe a year” before Iraqi security forces attempt to retake Mosul. The official said that before that Iraq’s security forces have to overcome the neglect in recent years to their intelligence gathering, logistics and military planning.

The officials said ISIS has stopped moving in large ground formations because doing so makes them vulnerable to targeting by airstrikes. That happened earlier this week when a dozen airstrikes helped repel an ISIS offensive against Kurdish forces at the Mosul Dam.

While ISIS continues to attack outside of Baghdad, one official said the tactical change also means ISIS can no longer mount a large scale threat to Baghdad.

Meanwhile ISIS has decided to make the battle for Kobani a focal point of their ground campaign in Syria. One official said ISIS had “double-downed” on their attempt to take over the city by continuing to send reinforcements to take over the city.

While cautioning that Kobani could still fall into the hands of ISIS, the officials said that possibility has lessened as Kurdish fighters have held on to the western part of the city during a weeks-long assault.

One of the officials speculated that the resistance by the Kurdish fighters has challenged ISIS’ narrative of “inevitable victory” that is heavily promoted online by the group’s “information campaign” to attract new followers and garner international support

The officials also provided reporters with new details on the formation of a force of 5,000 Syrian moderate opposition forces to be trained by the U.S. in Saudi Arabia.

The actual vetting of potential recruits is still months away and officials have said the first trained teams might not return to Syria until the late spring.

According to one official, the goal of the training program is to train units of 100 to 300 men who will initially provide “local defense” for their towns and villages, partly as a means of ending refugee flows.

But it could be quite some time before they morph into a force that could conduct offensive operations against ISIS. “We see this kind of as a long-term thing,” said the official. “It could be a year to 18 months, what have you, to be able to see an effect on the battlefield, we’re talking about an offensive effect.”

Another official suggested that if the American strategy’s initial focus to degrade ISIS inside Iraq is successful, the trained moderate Syrian rebels might be facing a different kind of ISIS when they return to Syria.

“They’re going to be looking at a lot less mobile ISIL, a lot less capable ISIL, a lot more hunkered down and possibly insurgent ISIL,” said the official.

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US Taking a Tougher Stance Against Animal Cruelty

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — People who hate animal cruelty should be happy about an important change in federal law that will go into effect next year.

Beginning in 2015, the FBI will consider animal cruelty as a crime against society, falling into the same category as homicide, kidnapping, burglary and arson. Animal cruelty crimes will also be included in the Uniform Crime Report — National Incident Based Reporting System.

The change should help law enforcement authorities get a better handle on understanding the motivation behind these crimes as well as stopping future ones from occurring.

Animal cruelty crimes will be reported to the UCR under the following classifications: simple/gross neglect; intentional abuse and torture; organized abuse; and animal sexual abuse.

Besides protecting animals from some unspeakable acts, the FBI also believes that the new system will help prevent violent crimes against humans since studies have shown that people who commit heinous acts such as serial killing often abused, hurt and killed animals during their adolescence.

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Germany to Provide Arms, Possibly Training to Kurds Fighting ISIS

Aziz Karimov/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Add Germany to the list of those countries taking a bolder stand against the Islamic State.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced Thursday that his government would begin providing weapons to Kurdish groups in northern Iraq that are battling ISIS fighters.

In addition, Steinmeier suggested that Germany might also avail military advisers to assist in training armed Kurds.

“We have an exploratory mission which is examining what and whether something could work” in the northern city of Ebril, he said.

This assistance is an expansion of humanitarian aid that Germany is also providing to those in the region at war with ISIS.

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Airlines Profits Soaring

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The nation’s airlines are flying high — maybe higher than they ever have before.

Several carriers, including American, Alaska, Southwest, and JetBlue Airlines posted record third-quarter profits Thursday. Even United Continental, which hasn’t been keeping up with the pack, said they enjoyed an excellent third quarter.

All the airlines expect the good times to continue during the upcoming holiday season, barring setbacks that might include anxiety over Ebola.

As for what accounts for the huge earnings, industry analysts say it has to do with more people flying, higher ticket prices and of course, those extra fees for checked bags and other things that used to be free.

There’s one other factor that’s putting the airlines in the cockpit seat: lower prices of crude oil, which means cheaper fuel.

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Movie Review: “Ouija” (Rated PG-13)

Universal(NEW YORK) — One of the keys to a good ghost story/horror movie is putting something on the screen we can relate to — and who hasn’t played with a Ouija board at some point in their lives?

In other words, Ouija should’ve been a slam dunk, with help from the usual horror movie fright tactics and unexpected loud noises all designed to scare the stuffing out of us. Unfortunately, Ouija never moves beyond these clichés, but lack of originality isn’t all that haunts this supernatural tale.

We start out with besties Laine (Olivia Cooke) and Debbie (Shelley Hennig) as little girls, playing with a Ouija board. It’s mildly creepy. Cut to eight or nine years later, when they’re apparently seniors in high school, and we see teen Debbie playing with an old, wooden Ouija board — by herself. She says goodbye to whatever she thinks she’s talking to, then burns the board. Laine shows up and begs her friend to hang out with her. Debbie declines, and with a little nudging from an evil spirit, she instead hangs herself.

By the way, this scenario is the best-executed sequence in the entire movie, because the dialogue and acting are limited.

As you no doubt have already figured out, Laine is going to try to contact Debbie, using a Ouija board and with the help of her friends and her Goth little sister. Predictably, all of them are going to be tormented by the spirit they contact. *Yawn*

Ouija is a horror movie that feels, at times, like it was written with an actual Ouija board (ghost writer?). The dialogue and acting are scarier than the movie itself, which will disappoint not only anyone who’s ever used a Ouija board, but also anyone expecting a truly frightening movie experience.

One-and-a-half out of five stars.

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Movie Review: “Ouija” (Rated PG-13)

Universal(NEW YORK) — One of the keys to a good ghost story/horror movie is putting something on the screen we can relate to — and who hasn’t played with a Ouija board at some point in their lives?

In other words, Ouija should’ve been a slam dunk, with help from the usual horror movie fright tactics and unexpected loud noises all designed to scare the stuffing out of us. Unfortunately, Ouija never moves beyond these clichés, but lack of originality isn’t all that haunts this supernatural tale.

We start out with besties Laine (Olivia Cooke) and Debbie (Shelley Hennig) as little girls, playing with a Ouija board. It’s mildly creepy. Cut to eight or nine years later, when they’re apparently seniors in high school, and we see teen Debbie playing with an old, wooden Ouija board — by herself. She says goodbye to whatever she thinks she’s talking to, then burns the board. Laine shows up and begs her friend to hang out with her. Debbie declines, and with a little nudging from an evil spirit, she instead hangs herself.

By the way, this scenario is the best-executed sequence in the entire movie, because the dialogue and acting are limited.

As you no doubt have already figured out, Laine is going to try to contact Debbie, using a Ouija board and with the help of her friends and her Goth little sister. Predictably, all of them are going to be tormented by the spirit they contact. *Yawn*

Ouija is a horror movie that feels, at times, like it was written with an actual Ouija board (ghost writer?). The dialogue and acting are scarier than the movie itself, which will disappoint not only anyone who’s ever used a Ouija board, but also anyone expecting a truly frightening movie experience.

One-and-a-half out of five stars.

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Red Sox Hire Chili Davis as Hitting Coach

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(BOSTON) — Former major league all-star Chili Davis was hired to be the Boston Red Sox hitting coach Thursday.

Davis joins the Sox after serving the previous three seasons as the Oakland Athletics’ hitting coach. He also served in the same position for Boston’s Triple-A affiliate, Pawtucket, in 2011.

“Chili’s experience and success as both a player and a coach make him a valuable addition to our staff,” Red Sox skipper John Farrell said. “We are excited to have him working with our hitters.”

Davis takes over for Greg Colbrunn, who served as Boston’s hitting coach the past two seasons.

Davis played 19 seasons in the majors, during which he hit .274 with 354 home runs, 1,372 RBIs and a .360 on-base percentage.

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Sanders Sails Broncos Past Chargers

(DENVER) — Emmanuel Sanders caught three touchdowns to lead the Denver Broncos past the San Diego Chargers 35-21 Thursday night.

Sanders finished his big day with nine catches for 120 yards and those three touchdowns.

“Every week we don’t know where the ball is going to go,” Sanders said. “The defense really dictates that and what Peyton is seeing. And tonight was just my night.”

Peyton Manning completed 25 of 35 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns, including a 31-yard bomb to Sanders with 32 seconds remaining in the first half to put the Broncos up 14-7, giving them the lead for good.

Juwan Thompson ran for two second-half touchdowns, and Ronnie Hillman had 98 yards rushing for Denver (6-1).

Philip Rivers completed 30 of 41 passes for 240 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions for San Diego (5-3).

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