Review Category : Top Stories

Escaped NC Inmate Captured as Prison Employee Arrested

North Carolina Department of Public Safety(RALEIGH, N.C.) — A convicted murderer who escaped from a North Carolina correctional facility unit Saturday was captured Sunday evening, and a prison food service worker is accused of helping him escape after allegedly having sex with him.

Kristopher McNeil, 29, was captured after escaping from the Brown Creek Minimum Unit in Polkton, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety said.

Davidson County authorities said they found McNeil along Highway 52 near Hickory Tree Road before 11 p.m. Sunday. Witnesses recognized McNeil’s photo from media coverage and contacted law enforcement, officials said.

George Solomon, director of prisons, said in a statement: “We appreciate the many law enforcement agencies working closely by the department’s side working to get McNeil back in custody. We are especially grateful to the citizens who called in tips and anyone who aided in his capture without anyone getting hurt.”

McNeil was discovered missing from the Brown Creek Minimum Unit Saturday and may have scaled a fence. He was serving a 14-year prison term for second-degree murder and was due for release in 2018. Because of his escape, McNeil will be transferred to Central Prison in Raleigh.

Meanwhile, Kendra Lynette Miller, 33, faces charges of sex with an inmate, providing an electronic device to an inmate, harboring a fugitive and aiding and abetting a fugitive, according to Public Safety officials. Her bond was reportedly set at $500,000.

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A Year of Sleepless Nights for Boy Who Survived Deadly Israeli Attack at Gaza Beach

A recent Israeli military investigation called the incident a “tragic accident,” claiming the target of the attack was a Hamas “compound,” and mistook the young boys for militants. ABC News(GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip) — Um Atawf will never go to the beach again.

“I will never, ever want to even see the sea again,” she says through tears, just a few blocks from crashing waves of the Mediterranean.

She hasn’t set foot on the beach since July 16, 2014.

Mohammad Ramiz Bakr, 11, Ahed Atef Bark and Zakariya Ahed Bakr, both 10, and Ismail Mahmoud Bakr, 9, all died that day as the international press, including an ABC News correspondent, watched in horror. Within seconds, two Israeli airstrikes hit the children while they played on the beach; Um Atawf lost a son, grandson and two nephews.

A recent Israeli military investigation called the incident a “tragic accident,” claiming the target of the attack was a Hamas “compound,” and mistook the young boys for militants. But a new United Nations report, released last week and to be presented Monday at the Human Rights Council, tells a different story.

While critical of both sides of the conflict, the U.N. finds that Israelis blatantly failed to take all measures to avoid harming civilians that day.

“Firstly, the boys were aged between 9 and 11 years, and were therefore small in stature in comparison to the size of an average adult,” the U.N. writes, pushing back against the Israel Defense Forces’ conclusion that real-time visual surveillance was unable to identify the figures as children.

The IDF summary concluded that “it would not have been possible for the operational entities involved to have identified these figures, via aerial surveillance, as children.”

As for this week’s U.N. report, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement, “It is regrettable that the report fails to recognize the profound difference between Israel’s moral behavior during Operation Protective Edge and the terror organizations it confronted. This report was commissioned by a notoriously biased institution, given an obviously biased mandate.”

Eight boys from the Bakr family were on the beach that day, and four suffered serious injuries but survived, including Um Atawf’s 12-year–old son, Moatasir Bakr.

“We were playing soccer,” Moatasir told ABC News at his house in Gaza City, speaking in stunted, haunted sentences.

The kids were playing on the breakwater near a metal storage container with no electricity, no running water, and no military equipment that ABC News was able to see at the time.

“We went to get the football [inside the container],” Moatasir recalled. “[My cousin] got hit by a missile immediately. We started running.”

The first boy was killed by the first strike, the other three were hit as they sprinted across the beach.

“When one of the identified figures entered into the remains of the container which had been attacked on the day prior to the incident, one missile was fired from the air towards the container and the adjoining shed,” Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Peter Lerner wrote on Facebook. “As a result of this attack, it appeared that one of the figures identified was hit. Following this attack, the rest of the figures began to run in the direction of the compound’s exit.”

Moatasir says that’s when he screamed, “We will all die at once.”

The IDF’s Lerner wrote, “Shortly before their exit from the compound, an additional missile was fired from the air towards them, which hit the figures in question after they had exited the compound.”

Moatasir said, “From the sea, they shot another missile at us. We start screaming and we start saying, ‘Oh, my God, oh my God…’”

When he stopped running, his younger brother and two cousins lay on the sand, motionless. Returning to the same beach a year later, Moatasir freezes, unable to speak.

Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, Moatasir barely sleeps now and violent nightmares plague his nights. He doesn’t go to school and his parents can’t remember the last time he picked up a soccer ball. The PTSD medicine costs around $100 per prescription, an unmanageable fee for the impoverished family of fishermen.

And Moatasir is far from alone; there are about 308,339 psychologically distressed kids in Gaza, according to UNICEF. Palestinian children older than 6 living in the Gaza Strip have now witnessed three conflicts with Israel in their short lives.

Moatasir has tried to throw himself off the family’s second floor balcony, grows angry easily, his mother says, and lashes out at his siblings.

After a year, he’s not getting any better, she adds.

“I have nobody to play with now.” Moatasir said, not looking particularly interested in playing. “Nobody.”

ABC US News | World News

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Google Finds New Trend in Search for ‘Gun Laws’ After Charleston Church Shootings

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Not surprisingly, last week’s church shooting in Charleston has reignited the debate about gun laws in the U.S., a trend borne out by new figures from Google.

The online search engine’s updated Trend tools revealed a change in searches from “gun shop” to “gun control” in the days after the Charleston church shooting.

As analyzed by The Huffington Post, the search for “gun shop” is usually more popular than “gun control,” according to last year’s information gathered by the Trends tool. But within 72 hours of the Charleston shootings, searches in 45 states were for “gun control” instead of “gun shop.”

The five states that didn’t follow the trend are South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, North Carolina and Kentucky.

While the shift in search trends does not necessarily reflect a shift in attitudes towards gun control, the HuffPost-YouGov poll found 49 percent of Americans think it’s time to discuss stricter gun policies.

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European Central Bank Declines to Extend Credit to Greek Banks

Patrick Poendl/iStock/ThinkStock(ATHENS, Greece) — The finances of Greece are teetering on the edge after the European Central Bank declined to extend any more credit to banks.

Greeks have been lining up at ATMs to withdraw cash as Greek banks will be closed Monday and ATM use will be restricted after a weekend of turmoil over the repayment of billions in dollars in foreign loans which are due on Tuesday.

Europe’s central bank says it will not extend emergency funds to Athens after the Greek government rejected mandated austerity cuts in return for debt forgiveness.

Athens will ask the people to weigh in on the cuts in a referendum next weekend.

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Rally in Rome to Support Pope Francis’ Stance on Climate Change

neneos/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(ROME) — Pope Francis’ recent call for the world to act against climate change sparked a rally of thanks in Rome on Sunday.

Multi-faith leaders strolled alongside scientists and environmental activists on their way to St. Peter’s Square to celebrate the Pope’s tough stance against climate change.

A recent paper by Pope Francis on the issue calls for the world to wane itself off fossil fuels and chastised leaders for creating a system that serves wealthy countries at the expense of the poor.

The paper on climate change comes ahead of a UN conference in Paris later this year.

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New York Prison Escapee David Sweat Caught After 3-Week Manhunt

This undated photo released by the New York State Police shows David Sweat. Authorities say 48-year-old Richard Matt and 34-year-old David Sweat escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora. New York State Police(MALONE, N.Y.) — Police have captured convicted murderer David Sweat, who escaped from a maximum security prison in upstate New York more than three weeks ago, three officials told ABC News.

Sweat is “under the control of law enforcement,” the officials said. His condition is unknown.

His accomplice, Richard Matt, was shot and killed by a border patrol SWAT team Friday afternoon in Elephant’s Head, New York, just 50 miles away from the prison, after he was spotted by a law enforcement officer walking in the woods.

Matt and Sweat used power tools to cut through the back of their adjacent cells on June 6 at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, about 20 miles south of the Canadian border, police said. They broke through a brick wall, then cut into a steam pipe and slithered through it, finally emerging outside the prison walls through a manhole.

More than 1,000 corrections officers and law enforcement officers were involved in the search.

Matt was serving 25 years to life in prison after he kidnapped and beat a man to death in 1997. Sweat was serving a life sentence after he was convicted of killing a Broome County sheriff’s deputy in 2002.

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Teen’s Condition Improving After Shark Attack in North Carolina

Voyagerix/iStock/Thinkstock(NORFOLK, Va.) — A teenage boy has been upgraded from critical to serious condition after he was bitten by a shark off the North Carolina coast Saturday, a hospital official said.

The teen was taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia, after he was attacked Saturday afternoon near Waves in Dare County, part of the Outer Banks.

The teenager, who has not been identified, is 18 years old, Carol Via Flynn of Sentara Healthcare told ABC News on Sunday, though the National Park Service previously reported the victim’s age as 17.

The attack came a day after a 47-year-old man was bitten by a shark while swimming at a beach in Avon, North Carolina.

Four other attacks were reported along North Carolina’s coastline this month. A 13-year-old girl was bitten in the foot at Ocean Isle on June 11. Hunter Treschl, 16, lost his arm in an attack on June 14 at Oak Island, and Kiersten Yow, 12, was bitten in the arm and leg less than 90 minutes before Treschl’s attack. An 8-year-old boy was bitten on Wednesday at Surf City.

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David Sweat’s DNA Found on Food a Mile From Where Richard Matt Killed, Official Says

Undated photos released by the New York State Police show David Sweat who escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora. New York State Police.(DANNEMORA, N.Y.) — DNA belonging to the convicted murderer who remains on the loose after escaping prison three weeks ago was found on remnants of food a mile from where his accomplice was killed Friday, an official briefed on the manhunt efforts said Sunday.

About 1,300 law enforcement officers were involved in the search for David Sweat as they concentrated their efforts near the village of Malone, New York, about 20 miles from where fellow escapee Richard Matt was found in a wooded area Friday.

The pair escaped the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y., on June 6.

The official said a man wearing dark clothes was spotted in the woods sometime Saturday about a mile south of where Matt was killed.

Matt was discovered by Customs and Border Protection agents Friday who heard him coughing, the official said. Whiskey was found nearby and investigators believe he was “sipping on” it during the manhunt, said the official.

Franklin County Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill believes a break in the search for Sweat will come in the next few days.

“Something’s going to give,” he said Saturday. “He’s going to make a mistake. We’re going to find him in this perimeter or we’re going get a decent lead.”

The search focused on an established perimeter near the village of Malone and the town of Duane in Franklin County. But Mulverhill said that perimeter wasn’t the only search area.

“We’re not all involved in the perimeter area, so we’re not putting all our eggs in one basket,” he said. “There are a number of leads outside the perimeter that are being investigated and those leads are being run through.”

According to Mulverhill, the rainy weather gives searchers several advantages in their search.

“We relieve [the searchers] from their posts, they’re able to come back, get a nice hot meal … have an opportunity to get dried off, change footwear, change their gear … and then head back out to post,” Mulverhill said. “Sweat doesn’t have that opportunity.”

Mulverhill said he believed Sweat was likely fatigued and “getting desperate.”

“He’s not getting regular meals, he’s not getting regular sleep,” he said. “I think he’s fatigued. I think he’s getting desperate.”

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American Al Qaeda to ISIS: No Paradise for You

zabelin/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The atrocities committed by the terror group ISIS are so horrific that a high-profile al Qaeda member, an American citizen, purportedly addressed the group directly in a new al Qaeda publication and lectured them that if they keep it up, Allah will not grant them paradise in the afterlife.

“My dear brothers: While no one can deny the considerable strength and prowess of the Islamic State group [ISIS] in military terms, at the same time, the crimes it has committed against Muslims cannot simply be overlooked or forgotten with time, because in Islam there is no statute of limitations,” the late Adam Gadahn said, according to an al Qaeda magazine published recently online. “And if these wrongs are not brought to an end and rectified here in this world, then a severe punishment has been promised both for those who committed them as well as those who encouraged, condoned or justified them, even if from behind a computer or mobile phone thousands of miles away.”

“Oppression of any kind is wrong, and [there] will be darkness for its perpetrator on the Day of Judgment. The Ummah’s [Muslim community’s] Jihad is not a video game; it is real life, with real consequences, in this world and the next,” he said.

Gadahn, born Adam Pearlman, was killed accidentally in an American counter-terrorism operation in January, according to the White House. Apparently the U.S. forces who conducted the mission didn’t know Gadahn was at the target location. Another al Qaeda member said in the magazine that it was an airstrike that killed Gadahn.

The interview with Gadahn, in which he discusses his background as a California boy in an unorthodox home and his bizarre journey into the ranks of al Qaeda, appears to have been conducted last fall. A majority of the 80-plus page interview is dedicated to sharp criticism of ISIS, the terror group that split from al Qaeda in recent years and one that Gadahn says “is already known to be responsible for the murder and killing of a large number of Muslims on the flimsiest of pretexts.”

“Does anyone think [Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda figures] were calling on them to bring the wrath of the entire world down on Iraq and Syria by attacking and displacing largely powerless and defenseless minorities and slaughtering their men and enslaving their women and children?… Of course not!” he said. “Frankly, all of us used to be sympathetic to varying degrees towards the Islamic State of Iraq [ISIS] — despite its mistakes –- when it was seen as a weak and oppressed force valiantly fighting brutal tyrannies. But now that it has become clear that it has – unfortunately – adopted some of the traits, methods and tactics of those same tyrannies, it no longer holds the same place in our hearts that it did once upon a time.”

Early last week ISIS released its most gruesome video yet -– one showing the execution of a dozen fighters, some purportedly members of al Qaeda’s Syria faction. Different groups of the men are drowned, blown up by a rocket-propelled grenade or decapitated with explosives. Friday an ISIS affiliate claimed responsibility for the bombing of a mosque in Kuwait, which killed 27 Muslim worshippers.

In addition to the mass killing of Muslims, Gadahn also took issue with ISIS’s on-camera murder of Alan Henning, a British humanitarian. Henning was one of a string of Western hostages, including three Americans, to be executed by ISIS. Gadahn claimed that al Qaeda went as far as demanding ISIS release Henning because he was an aid worker.

“…[T]he brothers in An-Nusra [al Qaeda’s faction in Syria] sought the release of Henning soon after his kidnapping, but regrettably, their appeals – like the rest – fell on deaf ears,” Gadahn said. “Alan Henning didn’t go to Syria as a soldier or a spy. He went to Syria as a member of a Muslim aid convoy to distribute relief supplies to displaced and needy Syrians. But rather than thank him, some interlopers rewarded him first by kidnapping him and then by slaughtering him on camera.”

But Gadahn’s sympathetic words are out of place compared to other parts of the interview, where the American celebrated the attacks on Canadian soldiers and the Canadian Parliament, and later described his jubilant reaction to the 9/11 attacks in which his organization killed 3,000 innocent Americans.

“It was a mix of surprise, amazement and exhilaration as well as some apprehension, at least in the beginning,” he said. Gadahn said he was in Kandahar, Afghanistan when it happened and that night “there was a celebratory atmosphere… People were congratulating each other on this incredible and historic victory with which Allah had favored us.”

And like ISIS, Gadahn also called for attacks in Western countries.

“We in al Qaeda have been consistent in calling for attacks on America and its Crusader allies,” he said.

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Iran Nuclear Talks to Slip Past Deadline

Photo by Getty Images(VIENNA) — The continued nuclear talks between Iran and the U.S. are now expected to go past Tuesday’s deadline.

Iran’s Foreign Minister is returning to Tehran on Sunday for a day of consultations, but is expected to return to Vienna this week.

U.S. officials continue to insist that progress has already been made in the last few days, but are still very cautious about the prospects of a deal.

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