Review Category : Top Stories

Secretary Kerry on Iraq Strategy: ‘It Won’t Be Just Bombs’

Win McNamee/Getty Images(BAGHDAD) — Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. will stand by the Iraqis as they deal with the threat of ISIS and said the country needs an inclusive central government that can lead Iraqi national forces against Islamist militants.

The secretary arrived in Baghdad Wednesday to participate in talks with Iraqi leaders to form a coalition against hostile militants and offer support for the new Iraqi government.

Kerry said was important that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s new government stand up new Iraqi national guard units that will protect their home regions, because the Iraqis can’t rely on U.S. airstrikes against ISIS alone.

“It won’t be just bombs. It will be comprehensive with Iraqi forces on the ground in Iraq,” Kerry said.

He said it was important for the Iraqi forces to be “reconstituted and trained” so that they can handle ISIS themselves. Iraqi troops largely folded when ISIS first invaded their country with the Mosul invasion back in June.

“This is a fight the Iraqis need to win and one that the U.S. and the rest of the world has to support every step of the way,” Kerry said.

Kerry noted he had been “encouraged” during his meetings with Iraq’s new government leaders at how willing they seemed to govern in a more inclusive manner than in the past, when former prime minister al-Maliki largely excluded Sunnis and other Iraqi minorities from his administration.

But Kerry could not give many specifics in terms of what tangible assurances those leaders gave him that they would continue to run the country this way, only that the U.S. is assured as long as they seem to be moving in the direction of inclusivity.

“The road to democracy is never easy,” he said.

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Was Ohio Plane Crash a College Frat Accident?

iStock/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND) — Relatives of a student who died in an Ohio plane crash are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit over suspicion that the crash may have been a fraternity event gone wrong.

Four students from Case Western Reserve University — Abraham Pishevar, 18, Lucas Marcelli, 20, John Hill, 18, and Michael Felten, 19 — died in the Aug. 25 crash.

Felten, a licensed pilot, was flying the Cessna 172R. According to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board, Felten told air-traffic controllers he was going to “fly east to sightsee.” A loss of control shortly after takeoff likely caused the accident, according to the NTSB report.

Prior to the crash, Marcelli shared a video from the cockpit.

“Cleared for takeoff,” he wrote.

Marcelli and Felten were members of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. According to documents filed in court Tuesday, Pishevar’s parents believe the students may have been on the plane as part of a ZBT fraternity rush or recruitment event.

Pishevar shared photos on Snapchat before the crash, writing, “About to go on a night flight” and “rush” in the posts.

“The Snapchat photo that you’ve seen which has a heading ‘Rush’ on it goes to what Abraham’s state of mind was,” family attorney Jamie Lebovitz said.

Pishevar’s family is seeking safety, insurance and other records from the fraternity and the flying club that rented the students the plane.

In a statement, Zeta Beta Tau says the flight was not connected to the fraternity, saying, “We have been assured…that the flight was not a recruitment event.”

Bita Pishevar Haynes, Abraham’s aunt, said his family was overwhelmed by the suddenness of his death and is still trying to figure out what happened the night of the crash.

“Abraham was starting out his first day at Case Western when this tragedy happened,” she said.

Haynes said Abraham’s relatives weren’t aware of his interest in joining a fraternity.

“No one from our family knew he was even rushing,” she said.

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What to Do Before You Buy the iPhone 6

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The announcement of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus might have made you eager to part with your old iPhone — but there’s one important step you need to take before making the switch.

If you’re planning on giving away, selling or trading in your current iPhone, it’s recommended that you make sure your device is wiped clean. This will make sure your personal information and digital memories aren’t given to someone else.

First, it’s important to make sure your phone is backed up. There are two easy ways to do this.

iCloud

Chances are you’re already using the iCloud, but here’s how to make sure you’ve recently backed up everything.

Tap Settings, then go to iCloud, choose Storage & Backup. Make sure the iCloud switch is toggled to “on” and then choose “Back Up Now.”

iTunes

Connect your iOS device to your computer and open iTunes. Then, choose file, devices and then backup.

If you’re using a version of iTunes 10.7 or earlier, right click the device from the list and then choose “backup now.”

Double check that the backup worked by going to preferences and then clicking devices. The latest backup and the device should be listed on the screen.

Wiping the Phone

Once you’re satisfied everything is backed up to the iCloud or iTunes, you’re ready to restore the phone back to its factory settings. Go to settings, general, reset and then choose “Erase All Content and Settings.”

Now you’re ready to sell, trade-in or give away your iPhone.

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Greed Motivated Man to Poison Wife with Nicotine, Prosecutor Says

iStock/Thinsktock(SANTA ANA, Calif.) — Greed drove Paul Curry to poison his wife in 1994, prosecutors alleged in court Tuesday, the first day of a cold case-turned murder trial in California.

Curry could spend the rest of his life behind bars if convicted in the death of Linda Curry, who was 50 when she died.

Curry, 57, poisoned his wife with nicotine in order to collect more than $500,000 in insurance money and other benefits, prosecutors say.

“This man took Linda Curry for a paycheck,” prosecutor Ebrahim Baytieh said in court Tuesday. “The man sitting at the end of counsel table was greedy, wanted money. And for that, he killed his wife.”

They were married for 21 months when Linda died mysteriously in their Orange County home. She was a non-smoker, but tests revealed fatal levels of nicotine in her system.

It’s unclear how prosecutors believe he administered the nicotine.

But prosecutors say it took years of tests before they could connect Paul Curry to his former wife’s death. By then he’d moved on, living in Kansas, remarried and working at a government job.

He was arrested in 2010.

Curry has pleaded not guilty to his former wife’s slaying. His defense attorney, Lisa Kopelman, told jurors Tuesday that Linda Curry had battled gastrointestinal problems for years before the couple married, and she might have used nicotine as an experimental medicine to treat her mystery illness.

“She was very, very desperate to find a cure,” Kopelman said. “You’re going to have to find my client ‘not guilty.’”

But Curry himself wasn’t so confident, at least not in a recording prosecutors played for jurors Tuesday, featuring his call to his new wife from jail after his arrest.

“If I go there and go to trial, they laid out a bunch of stuff. I gotta tell you, it looks bad,” he said in the recording.

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Area Faces Severe Weather Threat Today

9/10/14 – 4:58 A.M.

Area residents will be keeping an eye on the weather today, as a cold front is bringing the threat of severe weather with it as it approaches our area. The National Weather Service issued a report yesterday that said there is a chance we’ll see strong storms and damaging winds move in around 3 p.m.

The NWS has already issued a Flash Flood Watch for some area counties. The watch goes into effect for Putnam, Allen, Henry, and Hardin Counties at 2 p.m. One to three inches of rain is expected in those areas.

We’ll be monitoring the weather throughout the day, and will break in with information as needed this afternoon.

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Karzai Pleads for Resolution to Disputed Afghan Presidential Election

Sean Gallup/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued an urgent appeal for unity Tuesday to the two candidates who are vying to replace him.

Speaking at a tribute to slain resistance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, who was killed by the Taliban 13 years ago, Karzai told hundreds of Afghan leaders that they need to convince Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah to stop bickering about the outcome of the election for the good of the nation.

An audit of eight million ballots was conducted after Abdullah alleged massive fraud. Earlier this week, Abdullah said he would not accept the results of the audit, which appear to favor Ghani, while also seeming to hedge on taking part of a unity government.

Karzai is desperate to leave office, having served two terms, and already staying on two months past the initial deadline to hand over power to his successor.

However, despite Karzai’s pleas for a diplomatic end to the controversy, many pro-Abdullah followers booed a Ghani supporter off the stage, which also forced Karzai to exit the venue.

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Man Behind Apple Watch Design, Says Device Went Through ‘Millions’ of Versions

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(CUPERTINO, Calif.) — The Apple Watch went through “millions” of different version before it was unveiled Tuesday in Cupertino, California, Apple Senior Vice President of Design Jony Ive told ABC News’ David Muir in an exclusive interview.

“When you actually do the calculations, it’s millions and millions,” Ive said. “We’ve always tried to make products that people don’t begrudgingly use but want to use, and I think that the bar for that is very high when it’s something that you wear and it’s something that you’re going to wear all day, every day.”

It was Ive’s voice that narrated the pre-recorded video demonstration for the smartwatch during Tuesday’s big unveiling at the Flint Center in Cupertino.

The watches, Ive said, come in three collections and a range of faces, which can differentiate between a touch and a press.

“The way that we treated this from a design point of view was that you had hardware and then software,” Ive said. “Our experience as customers, as users, is they’re the same. They’re one and the same. So in terms of this, we designed the user interface, gave people multiple choices.”

The watch is also customizable. Users can choose watch faces that include minute and second hands, digital time and more options for personalization. For people who don’t wish to wear a large device, Apple developed a smaller watch, 38 mm in height compared with the 42 mm option, with matching smaller straps.

“We worked extremely hard to make it an object that would, one, be desirable but to be personal because we don’t want to wear the same watch,” Ive said. “One of the reasons it takes us a long time [is] because, I think, people are very discerned. A lot of people don’t wear a watch, at the moment.”

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Oscar Pistorius’ Marathon Trial Marked by Screams, Tears, Vomit, Anger

Werner Beukes/Independent Newspapers/Gallo Image/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) — Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial has spanned five months, prolonged by several interruptions including a month long break so the paralympian sprinter could be examined by a team of mental health experts.

Judge Thokozile Masipa has spent the last five weeks determining and writing her verdict, which will be revealed later this week.

Pistorius, once the poster boy of the London 2012 Olympics after becoming the first disabled athlete to compete against able bodied competitors, is now known for shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp early in the morning on Valentine’s Day last year.

The trial, which started on March 3, has been emotional, dramatic and at times graphic, and Pistorius’ reactions have ranged from crying and vomiting in the courtroom to fingering rosary beads and reading religious tracts during testimony.

The trial ended Friday and Judge Thokozile Masipa, along with two assistants, will determine whether Pistorius is guilty or innocent. If found guilty of the most serious charge, he could be sentenced to at least 25 years in prison.

Here are highlights from the trial:

  • The trial began with an emotional jolt as the first witness, Michelle Burger, broke down and cried as she testified about the blood curdling screams she said she heard in the pre-dawn hours on the day Steenkamp was killed. “Bang…(Pause) bang, bang, bang,” she remembered hearing shortly after the screams.
  • Pistorius’ lawyer Barry Roux told the court that he would call a sound expert to testify that Pistorius “screams like a woman when he is anxious or agitated” and that what neighbors thought were gunshots were in fact Pistorius striking the bathroom door with a cricket bat when he broke it down to get to Steenkamp after realizing he had shot her. This evidence was never brought, yet “Pistorius screams like a woman” became one of the most enduring and memorable phrases of the trial.
  • Apparent police bungling and possible theft was highlighted when the court heard that two of Pistorius’ expensive watches disappeared while police were in his house after the shooting. Former Boschkop Police Station commander, colonel Schoombie Van Rensburg, who was among the first on the scene after the shooting, testified that experts examined a blood-spattered box containing eight wristwatches, worth an estimated 50,000-100,000 rand ($4,675-$9,350), and that one vanished even after he warned his officers against theft. Roux told Van Rensburg that a second watch was also stolen, but the former commander said he knew nothing of a second theft.
  • Pistorius vomited, cried and squirmed in the dock as state pathologist Professor Gert Saayman testified about Steenkamp’s wounds and her stomach contents. The retching and vomiting continued as police ballistics expert, Capt. Christiaan Mangena, testified about the sequence of shots, where Steenkamp was standing on his reconstruction and about the effect of the Ranger or Black Talon ammunition Pistorius used — hollow point bullets that open up on impact.
  • Pistorius’ ex-girlfriend, Samantha Taylor, told the court that Pistorius often shouted at her and other people and did not sound like a woman when he yelled.
  • Pistorius testified in his own defense and started his evidence with a tearful apology to June Steenkamp, Reeva’s mother, but was tenderly asked by the judge to speak louder.
  • “I’d like to apologize and say that there’s not a moment and there hasn’t been a moment since this tragedy happened that I haven’t thought about your family. I wake up every morning and you’re the first people I think of, the first people I pray for. I can’t imagine the pain and the sorrow and the emptiness that I’ve caused you and your family,” Pistorius said. “I was simply trying to protect Reeva. I can promise that when she went to bed that night she felt loved.”
  • Pistorius, a double leg amputee, removed his prosthetics several times to demonstrate his instability and his reach without his prosthetics.
  • Prosecutor Gerrie Nel confronted Pistorius with a close up of Steenkamp’s bloodied head wound. “Say it! Say you killed Reeva Steenkamp!” he barked at Pistorius, causing another emotional outburst from the athlete.
  • Defense witness Dr. Merryll Vorster testified that she had diagnosed Pistorius with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which may have had an impact on the night he shot Steenkamp. Her claim led to a month-long psychological evaluation of Pistorius that concluded that he had no mental disorder.

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Three International Space Station Crew Members to Return to Earth

3DSculptor/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Three members of the crew of the International Space Station are set to return to earth on Wednesday.

Commander Steve Swanson and Flight Engineers Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev launched on March 25 and docked at the space station on March 27 of this year. After nearly six months of scientific research, the three will land back on earth at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Swanson handed over command of the space station to Flight Engineer Max Suraev on Tuesday in a traditional Change of Command Ceremony.

The three astronauts represent half of the crew of Expedition 40.

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Honda Showcasing Self-Driving Car

Bart Wolczyk/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DETROIT) — Honda is showing off a new self-driving car at the 2014 ITS World Congress this week, offering the first ever U.S. demonstration of the company’s automated driving technology.

According to a Honda press release, the vehicle being showcased in Detroit this week includes technology that allows for automated freeway merging, exiting and lane changing as well as vehicle-to-vehicle capability. The technology is being showcased on actual Detroit freeways.

Honda also said that it intends to showcase other technologies including vehicle-to-pedestrian/bicycle and vehicle-to-motorcycle capability.

Frank Paluch, President of Honda Research and Development Americas, said, “the creation and deployment of advanced, intelligent transportation systems represent the new frontier in the effort to one day eliminate traffic collisions, injuries, and fatalities.”

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