Review Category : Top Stories

Senior Class Donates Nearly $8,000 to Principal Battling Cancer

WMUR(BETHLEHEM, N.H.) — A New Hampshire principal battling a rare cancer was brought to tears when her senior class unanimously decided to give up their senior class trip and donate nearly $8,000 to her medical care.

Courtney Vashaw, principal of the Profile school for both junior and high school students in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, was diagnosed with a rare cancer of the soft tissue earlier this month. The senior class at the school surprised Vashaw on Tuesday with the news that they would donate the funds for their senior class trip for her treatment.

“She’s just very caring, very selfless, and we wanted to be selfless, too,” Ian Baker, a senior at the school, told ABC News affiliate WMUR-TV.

Vashaw said she had “no idea” her seniors were planning on surprising her. They tricked her to coming by telling her it was for a senior meeting, she said. Once she arrived, the entire senior class announced that they had unanimously voted to donate their funds to Vashaw.

“I feel like this has been a beautiful experience as an educator,” she told ABC News. “You work so hard to try and help cultivate not only academically astute young people but kids who care. I am just so impressed and so proud of these kids for being the embodiment of that.”

After seven years at the school, Vashaw said this is just the second group of students she has seen go from middle schoolers to high school graduates. In a few weeks, she is scheduled to go to New York to get specialized treatment for her rare and aggressive form of cancer, but before that she will celebrate as her students pick up their diplomas.

“If I even make it through the graduation without being a teary, soggy mess, it’s going to be a miracle,” she told ABC News.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Inside an Ecocapsule: A Futuristic Wind and Solar Powered Pod-Like Home

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A small wind and solar powered pod home called the Ecocapsule could be the home of the future if its creators have their way.

While the egg-shaped homes look more like something from a Hunger Games movie, Nice Architects, a company based in Slovakia, said each Ecocapsule has an “efficient spatial layout [that] allows you to enjoy convenience of household facilities in off-grid conditions,” according to the company’s website.

Residents of an Ecocapsule won’t be roughing it, either. The company said each pod is equipped with running water and hot showers, thanks to a wind turbine, solar-powered battery and a water filtration system.

Each pod is only 120 square feet — enough to “comfortably house” two adults and store equipment, according to the website.

Living in such close quarters may seem less than ideal for some people, but Nice Architects said it envisions the Ecocapsule as a home that could be moved anywhere, allowing owners to live nearly anywhere on the planet.

The price of an Ecocapsule hasn’t been revealed, however Nice Architects said the pods will offer owners plenty of mobility.

“It can be shipped, airlifted, towed or even pulled by a pack animal,” it says on the company’s website.

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Jason Statham Finally Gets Funny in “Spy”

Universal(NEW YORK) — The last time we saw Jason Statham onscreen, he was playing the bad guy inFurious 7. But in his latest film, Spy, where he stars opposite Melissa McCarthy, the British actor gets funny.

Statham — who’s best-known as an action star in movies like The Transporter and The Expendables — admits in the June issue of Esquire that previously, he hesitated to take on comedy roles.

“I’ve always been apprehensive about trying to do a f***ing comedy, because they’re either brilliant or they’re f***ing terrible,” he explains. “At least in making an action film, there’s always going to be someone who wants to see a car chase. Even if a lot of the people don’t like it, there will be a lot of people that do. But bad comedy is just garbage.”

But Statham says Spy “works, and I give a lot of the credit — or all of the f***ing credit — to [writer] Paul [Feig] and the writing.”

If you’re surprised to see Statham back on the big screen so soon after starring in Furious 7, which is still playing, the actor says he’s just getting the work while he can.

“It’s that peasant mentality,” he said. “Make hay while the sun shines. When you’re kicking around and you ain’t got no money, that don’t feel too good. So when there’s finally money coming in, it’s hard to say, ‘I’m too good for that.’ It’s finding a balance, really, and it’s a difficult thing to manage. But have I taken on too many jobs? Probably.”

Has that philosophy ever prompted Statham to do a movie he now regrets? “Yeah, I think I’ve said that more often than not. Yeah.”

Spy, also starring Rose Byrne, Jude Law and Allison Janney, hits theaters June 5.

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Rick Santorum Announcing Run for President

Sean Gardner/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Rick Santorum, the former Republican senator from Pennsylvania, will announce on Wednesday that he will seek the GOP nomination for president in 2016, ABC News has learned.

ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos will sit down for an exclusive interview with Santorum Wednesday afternoon.

Santorum, 57, is set to reveal his presidential intentions at an event Wednesday in Cabot, Pennsylvania, near his childhood home. It will be his second run for the White House, almost four years after he won primaries and caucuses in 11 states and finished second to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the race for the Republican nomination.

Santorum will join a quickly widening Republican field that already includes six declared candidates and could grow to encompass around a dozen more. Several contenders are expected to give him tougher competition this time around for the Christian conservative votes he relied on in 2012.

His experience in the last election could prove helpful, as several Republican nominees, including Romney and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., did not clinch the ticket until their second try.

But the competitive nature of this cycle has already thrown a hurdle in Santorum’s path, with recently released debate rules opening the possibility he will not poll high enough to participate in the first debate in August.

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Engine Photos Land Spirit Airlines Flight Attendant in Controversy

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — A Spirit Airlines flight attendant found herself in the middle of a controversy after passengers spotted her posing for photos inside a jet engine.

A passenger saw stewardess Ericka Paige Diehl posing for the photos while passengers boarded a Spirit Airlines flight at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The passenger took down the flight attendant’s name and contacted ABC News station WLS-TV, asking if the photo was part of a new pre-flight checklist.

The passenger then found out that Diehl posted the photos to her Facebook page, WLS reported.

Spirit Airlines said in a statement about the photos, “The activity portrayed in the photo absolutely goes against Spirit policy.”

But for many in the flying community, the outrage over Diehl’s photo shoot is unmerited. Sylvester Pittman, an aviation consultant with Airline Guys and a former flight attendant, said such photos are popular for flight crews.

“I have a picture in a jet engine, and pretty much everybody that I know that has been a flight attendant … it’s just one of those things that we like to do,” Pittman said.

Heather Poole, a flight attendant and author of the New York Times bestseller Cruising Attitude, also addressed the issue, writing on Twitter, “The photo of the flight attendant in the engine isn’t a problem. We all take them. The time that she decided to take it could be an issue.”

Diehl did not respond to a request for comment, but told WLS she wasn’t at liberty to discuss the photos. The photos were removed from her Facebook page and replaced with the quote, “Your wings already exist, all you have to do is fly.”

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Queen Elizabeth Opens New Session of UK Parliament

Chris Jackson/Getty Images(LONDON) — Queen Elizabeth II opened a new session of Britain’s parliament on Wednesday with the traditional pomp and pageantry.

As expected, she announced plans for a referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership in the European Union during her speech.

“My government will renegotiate the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union, and pursue reform of the European Union for the benefit of all member states,” the queen said.

“Alongside this, early legislation will be introduced to provide for an in-out referendum on membership of the European Union before the end of 2017,” she added.

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Gas Prices Continue to Rise

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Gas prices continue to go up as summer nears.

The Energy Department says the average price of regular unleaded gas went up about three more cents in the past week and now stands at $2.77 a gallon.

In California, the average is about a buck higher. And in the southern part of the state, it’s even worse.

Many gas stations around Los Angeles are selling regular unleaded gas for around $4 a gallon. But for the first time in weeks, California’s gas prices have dropped about 5 cents.

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Beyonce Among “Forbes'” Most Powerful Women in Entertainment

Eric McCandless/CBS(NEW YORK) — Forbes has announced its list of the World’s Most Powerful Women of 2015, and Beyonce was named one of the most powerful women in entertainment.

Queen Bey ranks number 21 on the overall tally of 100 and she second among other women in the entertainment industry who made the list, behind Oprah Winfrey. Other celebs on the list include Angelina Jolie, Taylor Swift and Ellen DeGeneres.

The publication based the tally on of each woman’s influence and relevance, and ranked them by money and media momentum. The 11 women in entertainment on the list are “all at the top of their game and are committed to inspiring change.” In total, they have a combined social media imprint exceeding six billion followers and fans.

Last year, Beyonce ranked 17th on the annual list, with the publication citing her performance at the Super Bowl in February 2013; the surprise release of her visual, self-titled album last December; and her successful Mrs. Carter Show World Tour.

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Four Taliban Fighters Killed After Attack on Afghan Guesthouse

iStock/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Four gunmen attacked an upscale neighborhood in Kabul, Afghanistan overnight, engaging in a fierce firefight with security forces, according to officials.

There were no casualties other than the four gunmen, all of whom were killed.

Police say the attackers were targeting a guesthouse in the area.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack. Earlier this month, the group attacked another guesthouse in Kabul, killing a dozen people, including an American.

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State Department Proposes Rollout of Clinton Emails Starting June 30

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — In a federal court filing submitted late Tuesday night, the State Department proposed a new plan to rollout heavily scrubbed versions of 55,000 emails belonging to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The State Department said it will begin posting the emails on its website starting on June 30 and then continue posting them every 60 days — aiming to have them all posted by Jan. 15, 2016.

Judge Rudolph Contreras will consider the request. Earlier this month, he quickly ruled against a State Department request to hold onto all the emails until 2016, demanding instead a “rolling production.”

Although Clinton has said she wants the State Department to make all of her emails public, the matter was brought to court after a news organization sued the State Department, demanding the emails be released pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.

State Department officials have argued that the process of clearing the emails for release is an arduous and time consuming task that often involves the participation of multiple government agencies.

“Keep in mind that we are reviewing a huge amount of material from Secretary Clinton’s tenure at State on a wide range of issues,” one senior State Department official said on Tuesday.

Last Friday, the State Department release 300 of Clinton’s emails that related to the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya. Those emails had previously been released to the House Select Committee on Benghazi that’s been investigating the attack for over a year.

The chairman of that committee, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., has said he won’t be satisfied until Clinton hands over her private email server, which she used exclusively throughout her tenure at State to conduct official business. Clinton has said she won’t make that available.

Gowdy and Clinton’s Republican rivals argue that because her emails were kept private she was the ultimate arbiter in determining which emails to release and which to delete — and therefore the process is flawed.

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