Review Category : Top Stories

Israel Launches ‘Ground Phase’ in Gaza Battle

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) — Israeli forces have launched a “ground phase” in its effort to halt rockets being fired at Israel from Gaza, the Israeli military confirmed Thursday.

The incursion into Gaza “will include close coordination between IDF units including infantry, armored corps, engineer corps, artillery, and intelligence combined with aerial and naval support,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

Until Thursday, the battle has consisted of Hamas, which controls Gaza, launching rockets at Israel and Israel hitting what it calls terrorist sites in Gaza with fighter jets and naval guns.

Israel twice halted its attacks and negotiations with Hamas for a more permanent cease-fire were being conducted in Cairo, Egypt.

The IDF said Thursday it sent troops into Gaza, “Following 10 days of Hamas attacks by land, air and sea, and after repeated rejections of offers to deescalate the situation.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Broadway Star Elaine Stritch Dead at 89

Rommel Demano/Getty Images(BIRMINGHAM, Mich.) — Broadway great Elaine Stritch died Thursday, her friend, Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, told ABC News. She was 89.

“She passed away this morning at 8 o’clock at her home in Birmingham, Michigan,” said Herdlicka, who worked with Stritch on a production of A Little Night Music. “She had several friends there and it was very peaceful and painless, from what I hear.”

“It’s been extremely heartbreaking for everybody in her family and everyone in New York,” Herdlicka added.

Born in Detroit in 1926, Stritch moved to New York City at 17 to study at the Dramatic Workshop of The New School alongside Marlon Brando. She began her theater career in 1944 and in 1946 she made her Broadway debut. A few years later, she appeared on TV for the first time.

In the 1970s, she moved to London, where she starred in several West End productions, as well as a British sitcom, Two’s Company. For that, she earned a BAFTA TV Award nomination.

Meanwhile, her personal life was evolving. In 1972, Stritch married actor John Bay, her co-star on Two’s Company, who died 10 years later. Around that time, Stritch returned to America. She never remarried.

In 1993, Stritch earned an Emmy award for a guest-starring role she had in Law & Order. She went on to earn two more Emmys — in 2004, for her variety program, Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, and 2007, for her guest starring role on 30 Rock, in which she played the Alec Baldwin character’s brassy mother.

Stritch, a five-time Tony nominee, also won a Tony for her one-woman show, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, which explored her experiences with alcoholism, among other topics.

A longtime New Yorker, she moved back to Michigan last year.

“I don’t know what to say about humor except thank God for it,” she once told the New York Times. “I can change the subject of my life with humor when it’s down. I can change it like that!”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Facebook Launches App for Famous People

Facebook(NEW YORK) — Facebook wants to put you in touch with your favorite celebrity.

The social network launched a new app Thursday, called “Mentions,” that is available to actors, musicians and other influencers who have verified pages.

More than 800 million of Facebook’s users are connected to celebrities on the website, according to the company, making an app for famous people seem like the next logical step.

Celebs with verified pages in the United States can request access after downloading the app and administrators of verified pages can request access directly from Facebook.

After they’ve downloaded the app and have permission, your favorite social media savvy celeb can see what you’re saying about them, join the conversation and host live question and answer sessions.

Facebook turned to a star-studded crew to help test the app, including Ed Sheeran, Mariah Carey, Tyrese Gibson and soccer player Alex Morgan.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Rental Car or Marijuana Dumping Ground?

iStock/Thinkstock(DENVER) — Denver International Airport rental cars appear to be increasingly used as a marijuana dumping ground for travelers. People who want to avoid illegally bringing pot into the airport simply leave it in the car or offer it to the car rental agencies, one Avis Rent A Car airport agent said Thursday.

“We see quite a few cases,” the 18-year Avis employee in Denver, declining to give her name, told ABC News. “We basically don’t touch it. Usually, the manager will take it and flush it down the toilet.

“We are a drug-free environment. We don’t take it or give it back; we just flush it.”

Recreational marijuana use by adults 21 and older has been legal in Colorado since late 2012. Possession of up to 1 ounce is OK, but it’s illegal to take any amount out of the state.

So some customers offer their leftovers to the rental agents.

“I have had customers come up to the counter and give it to us, asking ‘Do you want it?’” the Avis rental agent said, adding that she immediately declines and offers to help the customer dispose of it.

Denver International spokesman Heath Montgomery said the facility’s formal policy is that “marijuana is not allowed on airport property.”

The airport has seen sixteen cases this year of individuals trying to get marijuana through security to take with them, which Montgomery cites as infinitesimally small when compared to the 25 million passengers to date who have passed through.

“No one has been cited,” Montgomery said. “We usually just have them toss it in the trash.”
Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Malaysia Airlines Plane Goes Down over Ukraine Near Russian Border

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia) — A Malaysia Airlines passenger plane went down Thursday after the airline said it had “lost contact” with one of its flight over Ukraine near the Russian border.

The airline said in a tweet that the Boeing 777 plane — Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lampur with 280 passengers and 15 crew members on board — had its “last known position was over Ukraine airspace.”

The plane had left Amsterdam at 12:15 p.m. (local time) and was estimated to arrive in Kuala Lampur International Airport on Friday at 6:10 a.m. (local time), according to Malaysia Airlines.

Flight radar shows the plane was lost somewhere on the eastern border of Ukraine.

Photos showed a large plume of black smoke near where the plane was believed to have gone down. The fate of the passengers aboard the plane remains unknown.

[Live Updates: Malaysia Airlines Plane]

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko confirmed that the plane “disappeared from radar screens.”

“In recent days, this is the third tragic accident after the Russian territory were downed aircraft AN-26 and SU-25 Armed Forces of Ukraine. We do not exclude that this aircraft was also shot down, and stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not commit any action to defeat the purposes of the air,” he added in a statement.

The White House said that Russian President Vladimir Putin, near the end of Thursday morning’s call with President Obama, noted the reports about a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a tweet, “On reports of tragic Malaysian plane crash: at this time US do not have any conformation of cause, individuals on plane or any addl details”

This is the second Malaysia Airlines plane to be involved in a crash this year.

On March 8, Flight MH370 vanished with 239 people on board after it took off from Kuala Lampur bound for Beijing. Malaysian officials said the plane disappeared somewhere in the Southern Indian Ocean, but no wreckage has ever been recovered.


ABC News | ABC Sports News

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Liberals Outline Goals for End of Obama’s Presidency

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — From reducing student loan debt to expanding voter rights to dealing with the scourge of violent crime, liberals on Wednesday laid out an ambitious agenda for the waning years of the Obama presidency.

At a day-long summit organized by Generation Progress, the youth division of the influential Washington-based think tank Center for American Progress, speakers such as Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi articulated their goals to an audience of more than 1,000.

Here are five issues that came up again and again at the Make Progress National Summit, and the ones most likely to be focal points for Democrats in the next two years:

1. Student Loan Debt:

Catering to a crowd of millennials, members of Congress who spoke at the summit used the crisis as fuel for the liberal fire. Indeed, Warren, dedicated her entire speech to highlighting the crisis and had quite a few choice words for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. When discussing the failure of her “Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act” bill, Warren said that a filibuster of the bill was led by McConnell, prompting several boos from the crowd. She went on to say, “We are going to build a better country than the one Mitch McConnell envisions,” garnering applause. Toward the end of her speech, she told the crowd to challenge Republican senators and “ask them why they work for billionaires instead of for students trying to build a better future.”

2. Campus Sexual Assault:

The high rate of sexual assault on college campuses was also a huge talking point at the summit. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., expressed her frustration with the issue, acknowledging that female college students are more likely to be raped than women of the same age who are not in college. She went on to say, “We are failing our students. This isn’t just a date gone bad or a guy drinking too much. These are predators.” Biden also touched on the issue, ensuring that he is committed to a no-tolerance policy for violence against women on college campuses and that men who physically assault women should be punished.

3. Paid Leave:

Gillibrand also discussed the issue of paid leave, saying she believes it is time for America to compensate pregnant women and other citizens who take time off to care for family members. “We are the only industrial country in the world without paid leave,” she said. Pelosi, D-Calif., whose speech focused on unleashing the power of women in the work place, also called for paid leave.

4. Gun Violence Prevention:

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., spoke about gun violence prevention in urban, rural and residential areas. He called the inability of Congress to pass a bill supporting tougher background checks for gun purchases “a stunning failure of democracy.” He unconventionally suggested that the liberal audience could learn a lesson from the National Rifle Association, saying that the organization ultimately killed gun control legislation by taking decades to build up the powerful organization. He suggested that Democrats would have to be involved in a similarly lengthy drawn out fight to get gun control legislation to pass.

5. Voting Rights:

Biden also used his soapbox to speak about voting rights and the Supreme Court’s decision last summer to invalidate Section IV of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. “I have to tell you, I never ever thought that I’d be standing here as a grown man in a battle for access to the ballot box in the year 2014,” Biden said. He went on to say that the “single most precious right that an American possesses is unfettered access to the ballot box.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Malaysia Airlines Loses Contact with Passenger Plane over Ukraine

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Malaysia Airlines said it lost contact with one of its passenger planes Thursday over Ukraine near the border with Russia.

The airline said in a tweet that it had “lost contact with MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukraine airspace.”

In a statement, Boeing said, “We are aware of reports of MH17. We’re gathering more information.”

Story developing…

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Airbnb Unveils New Logo

Airbnb(NEW YORK) — When Airbnb unveiled its new logo, netizens went wild trying to pin down what the simple scribble looks like.

But the rent-a-room service says the logo — which resembles a pretzel shape or an upside-down heart — is symbolic of belonging, the core of the Airbnb brand, according to CEO Bryan Chesky.

“For so long, people thought Airbnb was about renting houses,” he wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. “But really, we’re about home. You see, a house is just a space, but a home is where you belong. And what makes this global community so special is that for the very first time, you can belong anywhere.”

A video explains the symbol, called the bélo, and it stands for four things: people, places, love and Airbnb.

The logo is the latest in an ongoing rebranding process for the company, which has also redesigned its website and app, ratcheted up its marketing efforts and launched a bed and breakfast service.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Malaysia Airlines Loses Contact with Passenger Plane over Ukraine

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Malaysia Airlines said it lost contact with one of its passenger planes Thursday over Ukraine near the border with Russia.

The airline said in a tweet that it had “lost contact with MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukraine airspace.”

In a statement, Boeing said, “We are aware of reports of MH17. We’re gathering more information.”

Story developing…

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Airbnb Unveils New Logo

Airbnb(NEW YORK) — When Airbnb unveiled its new logo, netizens went wild trying to pin down what the simple scribble looks like.

But the rent-a-room service says the logo — which resembles a pretzel shape or an upside-down heart — is symbolic of belonging, the core of the Airbnb brand, according to CEO Bryan Chesky.

“For so long, people thought Airbnb was about renting houses,” he wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. “But really, we’re about home. You see, a house is just a space, but a home is where you belong. And what makes this global community so special is that for the very first time, you can belong anywhere.”

A video explains the symbol, called the bélo, and it stands for four things: people, places, love and Airbnb.

The logo is the latest in an ongoing rebranding process for the company, which has also redesigned its website and app, ratcheted up its marketing efforts and launched a bed and breakfast service.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →