Review Category : Top Stories

White House Knew of Recent ISIS Threat to Kill US Journalist

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — ISIS had recently threatened to kill U.S. journalist James Foley to avenge airstrikes the United States has conducted in Iraq, a senior U.S. official told ABC News.

The White House had been aware of the threat prior to the release of a video Tuesday night that appears to show the beheading of Foley and warns that militants will carry out a similar act against U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff, who went missing in August, the official said.

President Obama was briefed on the video aboard Air Force One Tuesday night as he returned to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, from Washington to resume his August vacation. The White House said the intelligence community is working to authenticate the gruesome video that allegedly shows Foley’s beheading.

“If genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, said.

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Schoolkids Need to Be Extra Cautious in September

iStock/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — The end of summer means the start of school, and September is when most younger children head back to class. While it’s an exciting time, Safe Kids Worldwide reports it’s also the month that the most children are struck by automobiles, largely because of distractions.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center experts recommend a variety of precautions that parents can undertake to help ensure their youngsters’ safety.

First and foremost, children need to be taught to make eye contact with motorists before stepping off the curb, while also turning off all digital devices. If the kids have cellphones, they should only use them in an area away from traffic.

Another important reminder for parents whose children might be old enough to walk to school themselves is to go over a safe route that has crossing guards at every intersection. Even then, children should also be versed on all pedestrian safety rules.

Motorists are cautioned as well to slow down before reaching all stop signs, crosswalks and intersections, while remembering that cars stopping inside crosswalks may force kids into danger zones.

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Schoolkids Need to Be Extra Cautious in September

iStock/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — The end of summer means the start of school, and September is when most younger children head back to class. While it’s an exciting time, Safe Kids Worldwide reports it’s also the month that the most children are struck by automobiles, largely because of distractions.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center experts recommend a variety of precautions that parents can undertake to help ensure their youngsters’ safety.

First and foremost, children need to be taught to make eye contact with motorists before stepping off the curb, while also turning off all digital devices. If the kids have cellphones, they should only use them in an area away from traffic.

Another important reminder for parents whose children might be old enough to walk to school themselves is to go over a safe route that has crossing guards at every intersection. Even then, children should also be versed on all pedestrian safety rules.

Motorists are cautioned as well to slow down before reaching all stop signs, crosswalks and intersections, while remembering that cars stopping inside crosswalks may force kids into danger zones.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Schoolkids Need to Be Extra Cautious in September

iStock/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — The end of summer means the start of school, and September is when most younger children head back to class. While it’s an exciting time, Safe Kids Worldwide reports it’s also the month that the most children are struck by automobiles, largely because of distractions.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center experts recommend a variety of precautions that parents can undertake to help ensure their youngsters’ safety.

First and foremost, children need to be taught to make eye contact with motorists before stepping off the curb, while also turning off all digital devices. If the kids have cellphones, they should only use them in an area away from traffic.

Another important reminder for parents whose children might be old enough to walk to school themselves is to go over a safe route that has crossing guards at every intersection. Even then, children should also be versed on all pedestrian safety rules.

Motorists are cautioned as well to slow down before reaching all stop signs, crosswalks and intersections, while remembering that cars stopping inside crosswalks may force kids into danger zones.

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Browns Name Brian Hoyer Starter over Manziel

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Cleveland Browns announced that Brian Hoyer will be the starting quarterback entering the 2014 season on Wednesday.

Hoyer and Johnny Manziel were in a quarterback competition all camp and preseason, but Hoyer’s veteran experience is what put him over the top.

“He was the clear leader from the beginning,” Browns head coach Mike Pettine said in a statement. “We’ve maintained all along that if it was close, I would prefer to go with the more experienced player. Brian has done a great job in the meeting rooms and with his teammates on the practice field and in the locker room.”

The announcement comes after the No. 22 pick in this year’s draft gave the middle finger to fans during their Monday night game against Washington.

“I think Brian’s been very poised,” Pettine said Wednesday. “I think he’s handled the situation well. He’s had a lot of things going on.”

“I think it’s especially good, as an offensive unit, to go out and play and gain cohesion and chemistry. That was one of the reasons I wanted to go ahead and make the decision before this third preseason game so that [Hoyer and the rest of the starting offense[ could play as a unit for a good chunk of it,” Pettine continued.

Hoyer has only four starts in his career and completed 2-of-6 passes for 16 yards on Monday night.

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Certain Seniors Advised Against Cancer Screenings

TongRo Images/Thinkstock(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) — Cancer screenings can help people detect early signs of the disease or put their minds at ease if no trace of cancer is found.

However, Dr. Ronald Chen, a radiation oncologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says in a new study that too often elderly patients are screened for certain cancers that are of little consequence to them if they are only expected to live up to ten more years.

In particular, the aged are tested for prostate, breast, cervical and colon cancer, which are certainly serious but not so much as a person nears the end of life.

Chen and other cancer experts say quality of life may be adversely affected through biopsies and treatments such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

According to Chen, both patients and physicians may have to be educated about the pros and cons of cancer screening.

Dr. Cary Gross, who wrote an accompanying editorial to Chen’s study, contends, “People should ask about their probability of dying from cancer if they are screened, compared to if they are not screened. Also, they should ask about which type of test is best for them, and why the doctor recommends it.”

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How to Vacation for Next to Nothing as a Mystery Shopper

ABC News(NEW YORK) — The Chulews — Mike, Rebecca and 2-year-old Veronica — recently went on a summer vacation for practically free. Their gas, flight, hotel and even their meals were about 80 percent off. That’s because the Chulews of Texas are mystery shoppers.

“If I wasn’t a mystery shopper,” Rebecca Chulew said, “I don’t even know how I would pay full price for these things.”

[Click here to learn about accredited mystery shopping companies.]

The Chulews said being a mystery shopper was like going on a secret spy mission.

Mystery shopping companies hire people to grade everything, from free newspapers for guests and towels laid out for the beach to whether the hair dryer in the bathroom works.

Shoppers then document their findings and opinions on a score sheet.

“We’re always looking for mystery shoppers,” said David Lipton, president of the mystery shopping company Sensors Quality Management. “The most successful mystery shoppers are those who are reliable, responsible. They have a keen eye for detail. They can follow the instructions that we provide.”

When the Chulews recently stayed at a hotel in Corpus Christi, Texas, they noted that the pillows in the lobby were messy and that there was sand on the carpeted steps.

At the end of their stay, though, the Chulews gave the hotel a thumbs-up.

The hotel declined to comment to ABC News.

The Chulews said they’d performed about 150 mystery shops this year, saving them about $5,000 in expenses they would have bought anyway.

“My haircut was a mystery shop,” Mike Chulew said. “My clothes. My shoes. My socks.”

“Once you know you can get a half-priced pair of shoes for doing 20 minutes of paperwork, why not?” Rebecca Chulew said.

“[Mystery shoppers] will save a significant amount off of their airfare, their stay at a hotel, a night out at a restaurant,” Lipton said.

But there are scams out there, he added. Be wary of companies that ask you to pay them money upfront.

Make sure you are dealing with a reputable company. Here’s some advice from the FTC on how to avoid a scam. And there’s a mystery shopper trade group that provides web resources.

Mystery shopping is just one way, though, to save big on a vacation as the summer comes to an end.

    Christine Partello of Boston and her fiance saved $75 on their honeymoon this summer by using Yapta. The website tracks the price of your flight and sends a notification if it drops.

      Gail Presses of New Orleans saved $600 by booking her hotel through Tingo. It tracks prices and automatically rebooks your room when the price drops.

        Rahul Razdan of New Jersey used Zalyn to find a car rental coupon, saving his family $246.

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          The International Effort to Free James Foley

          John Cantlie/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Before a video surfaced online appearing to show the brutal murder of American journalist James Foley, U.S. officials made repeated efforts to win freedom for Foley, attempting to identify and reach his captors through Turkish, Russian and Czech intermediaries.

          While officials continue to study and try to authenticate the grisly video that appears to show Foley’s execution at the hands of a captor from the Islamic jihadist group ISIS, details are now starting to emerge about the fevered efforts to gain his release.

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          Foley’s capture in November 2012 was initially kept quiet by his family, employers and U.S. officials until January 2013, when the family decided to break their silence and plead publicly for his release.

          “We want Jim to come safely home, or at least we need to speak with him to know he’s OK,” said his father, John Foley, in a statement posted online then. “Jim is an objective journalist and we appeal for the release of Jim unharmed. To the people who have Jim, please contact us so we can work together toward his release.”

          Soon after, Foley’s home state senators from New Hampshire spearheaded a government effort, sending a series of letters that January to State and Justice Department officials urging aggressive action, according to timeline released by Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. State Department officials reached out to the Syrian government through the Czech Protecting Power in Damascus, but had not received any diplomatic note in response.

          The State Department also requested “that Russia use its influence with the Syrian regime in support of our efforts,” Ayotte’s office said. “The Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, confirmed he had relayed the request to the Syrians.”

          Ayotte wrote directly to the President of the Turkish IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, Fehmi Bülent Yıldırım, to seek help in securing Foley’s release, but did not indicate whether or how Yildirim acted in response. Turkish towns along the Syrian border are used by many Syrian rebels and some Islamist militants as safe passage into Syria, and Turkish authorities are believed to have some influence in those circles.

          In November 2013, with scant signs of progress after a full year with Foley in captivity, Ayotte and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., put out their own public statement, urging that the effort continue.

          “As we mark one year since James’ disappearance, we urge the State Department and the FBI to redouble their efforts to find James and secure his release,” the statement said. “We will continue to assist the Foley family and press federal officials to take every reasonable measure to find James and bring him home.”

          Tuesday both senators released statements saying they were trying to determine if the gruesome video of Foley’s death is authentic.

          “If confirmed, this barbarous and heinous act shocks the conscience and underscores the truly evil nature of the terrorists we confront, who must be defeated,” Ayotte said.

          The State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment for this report. White House National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said U.S. intelligence officials are working to determine if the video is real and that if it is, the White House would be “appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist.”

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          Fire Reported At Farm Near Jenera This Morning

          8/20/14 – 4:38 A.M.

          Several Hancock County fire departments were called to what was described as a straw or hay fire early this morning. The blaze was reported at the Boehm Dairy Farm at 7326 Township Road 25 around 2:30 a.m. The farm is located north of Jenera between Township Road 60 and State Route 698.

          Fire departments from Jenera, Rawson, Mount Cory, and Arlington were all called to the scene.

          No other details were available.


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          Nuts! Hazelnut Shortage Could Affect Nutella Prices

          iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As if the world didn’t have enough problems, now it has to deal with a hazelnut shortage.

          For fans of Nutella, the popular hazelnut chocolate spread, the news could be dire.

          Since Nutella maker Ferro Group uses about 25 percent of the world’s supply of hazelnuts, a deficit of these nuts, largely due to a killer frost in Turkey earlier this year, could send the price of Nutella skyrocketing.

          It comes at an inopportune time for the company, which has seen sales of the spread jump in the U.S. as well as globally. Last year, 2.46 billion dollars’ worth of Nutella was sold.

          The hazelnut shortage has driven up prices by as much as 60 percent, and naturally, when that happens, manufacturers often pass along the increases to consumers.

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