Review Category : Top Stories

Car Bomb Explodes Outside US Consulate in Erbil, Iraq

File photo. Wathiq Khuzaie/Getty Images(IRBIL, Iraq) — A car bomb exploded Friday just outside the U.S. consulate in Irbil, Iraq.

It’s unclear how many people may have been injured or killed, but local reports from northern Iraq say some foreigners were injured.

The State Department says all American personnel have been accounted for.

“A vehicle-born improvised explosive device (VBIED) was detonated directly outside an entry point on the perimeter of the U.S. Consulate in Erbil, Iraq on April 17,” a senior State Department said in a statement provided to ABC News. “All Chief of Mission personnel have been accounted for and there are no reports of injuries to Chief of Mission personnel or local guards.”

The official said local security forces have responded to the scene and are securing the area.

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Pup Gets Life-Changing Surgery After a Lifetime of Crawling

WLOS(ASHEVILLE, N.C.) — A rescued pit bull has become a “tap dancer,” in the words of his owner, after having reconstructive surgery to fix a rare deformity that left him only able to crawl.

Roscoe, a pitbull, was born with a deformity that left his front legs partially bent backwards under his wrists, according to ABC News affiliate WLOS-TV in Asheville, North Carolina. As a result, he was forced to walk on his wrists, with the front part of his legs bent backward like “flippers.”

Dr. David Crouch, a vet from Asheville, was able to help Roscoe walk by performing surgery to fix the deformation.

He was “trying to walk on the tops of his wrists and created bloody sores,” Crouch told WLOS-TV.

To pay for the surgery, the Asheville Humane Society in North Carolina raised more than $3,000 for the pup.

After the surgery, Roscoe quickly transitioned from “baby steps” to a more elegant gait with his casts.

“For the first couple of days he was really wobbly on his stilts,” Roscoe’s foster parent, Laurel York told WLOS-TV. “He’s managing to walk around on his little stilts.”

Crouch told WLOS-TV he’s heartened that Roscoe has made a huge improvement in such a short period of time. He pointed out that by walking on his toes in his casts, Roscoe looks and sounds a bit like a tap dancer as he heals.

“You kind of tap dance like Fred Astaire right now,” Crouch told the pup.

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New Book Reveals How to ‘Party Like a President’

PhotoQuest/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — As candidates begin to announce their bids for the White House in 2016, a new book takes a historical look back at presidents, not to name the greatest foreign negotiators or domestic policy pioneers, but to see who ranks as the top partiers-in-chief in American history.

Sitting down with ABC News/Yahoo News just a short stagger away from the White House in Grant’s Bar at Old Ebbitt Grill, Washington’s oldest saloon, the author of Party Like a President: True Tales of Inebriation, Lechery and Mischief from the Oval Office, Brian Abrams, explained his metric for determining which president’s partying habits earned his legacy a spot on the list.

“If you look at all the presidents who drank regularly, or drank like a sport — I don’t mean like wine with dinner — I mean actually could sit down and plow away at whiskey or wine…that leaves us with about half of them,” he said. “Of that half, I would say that you look at body mass.”

Weighing in at about 250 pounds, Grover Cleveland takes the cake as the hard-swigging president with the highest body mass — with Lyndon Johnson a close second at around 230 pounds.

The 22nd and 24th president of the United States earned a reputation for drinking during his early days as sheriff in Buffalo before becoming governor of New York. “Grover was known in Buffalo that he could just pound mug after mug of beer. He would take days off [at the bar],” Abrams said.

On the “lechery” aspect of Abram’s study, he said while Bill Clinton certainly places high — recent revelations about one president’s extramarital affair may tip the scale in his favor as history’s biggest presidential lech.

“Warren G. Harding [came] up in news headlines in this last year when a lot of his personal papers were released, these love letters to one of his mistresses, Carrie Phillips,” Abrams said. He added that the letters “might have been the jaw-dropping moment” for him while writing the book.

“They weren’t so much creepy as they were cheesy,” he explained. “In one of the letters, [Harding] wrote: ‘My jerry is standing up beside me as I write this.’ And then he also named her anatomy seashell, which I think is hacky. You can do better than seashell.”

Also earning a top spot in his review is perhaps the most well-known playboy president, John F. Kennedy.

“He deserves some kind of award I think,” Abrams remarked. “He could make people see the stars, when in fact he’s running around like diving into swimming pools with naked flight attendants while Jackie’s at Neiman Marcus.”

Asked which president he would chose to spend one crazy night with after researching the book, one name immediately came to Abrams’ mind: President Gerald Ford.

“Ford just seems very lovable,” he said, explaining that while researching the president for the book, he was hard-pressed to find any retired member of the White House Press Corps who covered Ford that was willing to talk about the experience.

“I eventually got one to talk to me, and he explained that a lot of them felt a certain loyalty to [Ford]… I found that so charming,” he recalled.

After Nixon resigned in disgrace over the Watergate scandal in August 1974, Ford wasn’t the only one to score a big promotion — the reporters who were assigned to cover the vice president did too, Abrams said.

“They’re all of a sudden on Air Force One instead of Air Force Two,” he said.

What’s more, Ford was fun to cover because he liked to have a good time. Abrams cited one particular anecdote from the very beginning of the Ford administration.

“The first week in the White House, there was a dinner function for the king of Jordan, and Ford just gets down on the dance floor to ‘Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,’” he said, referring to the 1973 tune by American folk rocker Jim Croce.

As for the current commander-in-chief, Abrams said Obama hits about average as far as historic presidential partiers go.

“I would probably put Obama in the middle,” he said. “He was no prude…he dabbled in drugs in high school and in college. He still enjoys a drink every now and then now.”

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Mark Zuckerberg’s Pet Project Takes a Hit

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — It turns out not everyone is on board with the idea of free Internet.

Mark Zuckerberg’s pet project, Internet.org, which offers access to basic free services, is at the center of a debate in India over net neutrality — the principle that people should be able to access all information equally.

Two months after the app was rolled out in the country, several Indian firms decided to pull out of the project due to concerns that the app does not provide equal access to information.

Time to draw a line in the sand, Cleartrip is pulling out of http://t.co/S7VKhY4RC7 & standing up for #NetNeutrality http://t.co/JtpCtbK0AT

— Cleartrip (@Cleartrip) April 15, 2015

NDTV is committed to net neutrality and is therefore exiting, and will not be a part of, Facebook’s http://t.co/r3IZLs9qEJ initiative.

— Prannoy Roy (@PrannoyRoyNDTV) April 15, 2015

In each country, Facebook partners with a mobile operator to roll out the app, which allows users to access certain services on their phones, including news, weather, health information, job postings and of course, Facebook.

Zuckerberg defended Internet.org in a blog post on his Facebook page, reiterating that he fully supports the principles of net neutrality.

“But net neutrality is not in conflict with working to get more people connected. These two principles — universal connectivity and net neutrality — can and must coexist,” he wrote.

“To give more people access to the internet, it is useful to offer some service for free. If someone can’t afford to pay for connectivity, it is always better to have some access than none at all.”

The Internet.org initiative was launched in 2013 with the goal of bringing mobile Internet access to people in the developing world — pushing forward Zuckerberg’s goal of connecting the world.

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Royal Baby Birth: Fans Hope Duchess Kate Delivers a Girl

ABC News(LONDON) — For three decades, the world has been transfixed by little royal boys in line for the British throne — beginning with the duo of Princes Wiliam and Harry and most recently continuing to William’s first-born, Prince George.

As Prince William, 32, and his wife, Duchess Kate, 33, prepare to welcome their second child, there is a resounding question: Could this little royal at last be a girl?

“People love George but let’s face it, there’s nothing like a princess in a dress,” said ABC News’ royal contributor Victoria Murphy. “I think if it’s a girl it’s a much bigger story.”

In London, the great Kate wait is in full swing.

The barriers have been put up at the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital, where the Duchess of Cambridge is expected to soon welcome her second child and the fourth-in-line to the British throne. Media pens were installed Thursday outside the hospital and the Palace has marked off the spots for major media organizations.

Royal insiders insist William and Kate do not know if the baby is a girl or a boy.

Bookies in London taking bets on royal baby names have posted odds that the new royal sibling will be a girl called Alice at 5-4. Elizabeth and Charlotte are second at 6-1. Victoria and the sentimental favorite Diana, in memory of the baby’s late grandmother, come in at 14-1. The name Alexandra has dropped to 16-1

Among the name favorites for a boy, Arthur and James now topping the betting lists at U.K-based betting company Ladbrokes at 20-1. Phillip and Henry, the proper name of the baby’s uncle, Prince Harry, are not far behind at 25-1.

Even more exciting are the 7-1 odds from the William Hill betting agency that the royal baby bundle of joy will be born this weekend. Duchess Kate has said only that she is due sometime between now and the end of April.

If the royal baby comes later this month, he or she could share a birthday with the Queen — who turns 89 on April 21 — or arrive on its parents’ fourth wedding anniversary, April 29.

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West Virginia Justice Challenged over Controversial Learjet Deal

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — A West Virginia businessman has filed a formal complaint against state Supreme Court Justice Robin Jean Davis with the state’s Judicial Investigation Commission, alleging she had a conflict of interest with a lawyer who bought a jet from her husband as he prepared to argue a $90 million case before her.

“The fact is, an attorney appearing before Justice Davis with a $90 million judgment in hand paid some $1.3 million to the Segal-Davis family, clearly creating a perception that the Justice’s ability to hear the case with complete impartiality could have been impaired,” wrote Bill Maloney, a Republican coal industry veteran from Morgantown who ran unsuccessfully for governor and now runs a conservative think tank.

The complaint is the latest challenge to Davis, the state court’s senior justice, following an ABC News investigation that discovered a lawyer appearing before her had purchased a Learjet from Alpine Air, the holding company solely owned by Davis’ husband, Scott Segal. The airplane sale took place just weeks after the Mississippi lawyer, Michael J. Fuller, had won a $90 million judgment for a client who was suing a nursing home for helping cause the death of his elderly mother.

Davis found for Fuller’s client in the appeal and wrote the majority opinion in the decision that cut the award by $40 million but enabled Fuller to collect a $17 million fee.

Maloney is not involved in the nursing home case, but in a statement indicated he filed the new complaint because he’s interested in protecting the reputation of the state’s judicial system so as to not scare off economic investments for the state.

Since the ABC News report aired, lawyers arguing cases against Fuller before the state supreme court have twice challenged her to recuse herself, and she has twice declined.

In a lengthy response to the first such request, Davis issued a 29-page opinion, saying that she was the victim of sensationalized press coverage by the national media — an apparent reference to the ABC News report.

“There are those who may argue that, even if the motion has no legal merit, I should step aside from the case in order to spare this Court and our great State from being assaulted by the outrageous fabrications that the national media will continue to heap upon our oft-maligned State,” Davis wrote. “This I cannot do. Courts are governed by law, not by media hype, and if I were to step aside in order to protect this Court from vicious and mean-spirited yellow journalism, I would in all likelihood encourage such tactics in the future by those who seek to use the media in order to manipulate the courts.”

Furthermore, Davis wrote that the “Petitioners’ bare bone statements that I have a personal relationship with Mr. Fuller is a clear example of an abuse of the motion to disqualify.”

The Judicial Investigation Commission is an independent, nine-member panel established to look into complaints of judicial misconduct, and to insure the ethical conduct of judges. Maloney filed the complaint this week, a copy of which was obtained by ABC News. In his complaint, he argues that Davis should have disclosed both the Learjet transaction, and subsequent political fundraising that Fuller did on Davis’s behalf.

Davis has repeatedly argued the opposite. She said she does not know the identity of her campaign donors, and was unfamiliar with the details of the airplane sale while she was adjudicating the case. When approached for comment about the matter in December, the then-Chief Justice told ABC News she had no need to disclose the $1 million sale of the aircraft, which she said was handled by a broker. She said she had no involvement in the deal.

“Why should I?” she told ABC News cameras.

Davis has not responded to an after-hours request for comment made by ABC News through the West Virginia courts after the complaint was made public.

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Browns’ Johnny Manziel Issues Statement Regarding His Time in Rehab

Elsa/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) — A week after being released from a rehab treatment facility, Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has issued a statement to the fans and to members of the Browns organization.

“I would like to thank my family, friends, the Browns organization, my teammates, and Browns fans everywhere, for your patience, understanding, and support during my stay at Caron,” Manziel said. “The doctors and staff have been amazing and what I’ve learned in the last couple of months has been tremendous. I owe private apologies to a lot of people that I disappointed but a very public one to the Browns organization and the fans that I let down.

“I take full responsibility for my actions and it’s my intention to work very hard to regain everyone’s trust and respect,” the statement continues. “I understand that will take time and will only happen through what I do and not what I say. I also understand there’s a lot of curiosity about this but anyone who has a friend or family-member that’s been through things like this knows it’s an ongoing process.

“I’m going to continue to ask folks to try to respect my privacy as I determine to what degree I am comfortable talking about a subject which I consider very personal. Most of you have been considerate about that and I thank you for it,” Manziel concludes.

The team has been non-committal regarding Manziel’s playing future, but he’s expected to join the team for offseason workouts.

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Reserve Deputy Robert Bates’ Weapons Training in Question After Shooting

ABC News(TULSA, Okla.) — An Oklahoma newspaper is alleging that Robert Bates, the volunteer reserve deputy now charged with killing an unarmed man, may not have been fully trained to handle his weapons.

Bates, 73, turned himself in at the Tulsa, Oklahoma, County Jail on Tuesday on a second-degree manslaughter charge in connection with the deadly April 2 shooting of suspect Eric Harris.

Bates, an unpaid volunteer reserve deputy, “shot the victim with a Smith & Wesson Revolver which at the time he shot it he believed it to be a Taser gun,” according to court filings.

Tulsa World reported that, according to sources, the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office had falsified “training records,” including “firearms certifications.” The newspaper also alleged that “supervisors were transferred after refusing to sign off.”

Ziva Branstetter, an editor and reporter for Tulsa World, told ABC News she was “extremely confident” in the newspaper’s sources and that the newspaper had worked on the story for two weeks.

“They’re all very solid sources,” she said Friday. “They’re people who have been concerned about Deputy Bates and his lack of training for quite a while and came forward.”

The April 2 shooting happened after a sting operation, when Harris, 44, ran from police after allegedly selling drugs and guns to an undercover deputy.

Video released by the sheriff’s office showed Harris getting into a car and pulling a gun out of his backpack. Less than a minute later, a car pulls up, and when deputies get out, Harris runs. A second video shows officers pursuing the suspect and then appearing to struggle to subdue him.

After a single gunshot, someone says, “I shot him! I’m sorry.” According to the sheriff’s office, the words were spoken by Bates just after he fired his weapon, when he realized that he hadn’t shot his Taser.

Both the sheriff’s department and Bates’ attorney say he was well-trained. The sheriff’s department Friday refused to respond to the allegations to the contrary because the newspaper used unnamed sources.

“The media outlet that is putting this information out is using unconfirmed and identified sources and also relying on anonymity,” said a public information officer Friday. “We don’t respond to rumor.”

Branstetter said Friday that there was a lot of public outrage in Tulsa.

“They want accountability,” she said. “They also want the FBI to step in. … No one has confidence in the sheriff’s department.”

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“Scandal” Possibly Kills Off a Major Character

ABC/Ron Batzdorff(NEW YORK) — Scandal fans were up in arms Thursday night after one of the main characters might have met his or her demise.

What is happening??? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! #Scandal

— Scandal (@ScandalABC) April 17, 2015

SPOILERS AHEAD

Jake, Olivia Pope’s former flame, who is played by Scott Foley, was stabbed at the end of Thursday night’s show by Pope’s new man, Russell, played by Brian White. Russell took a blade to Jake on an order from Olivia’s father, played by Joe Morton.

Fans took to Twitter to discuss, only to see a tweet from Foley himself.

“So, there it is. Thank you Twitter for tonight and all of the Thursday nights. It’s such an honor. #Scandal,” he wrote.

He also tweeted a few expletives.

Even fellow show star Joshua Malina wrote, “It has been a real pleasure working with @scottkfoley. #Scandal,” so maybe he really is gone!

Foley replied, “Very kind. Especially from you.”

Even the mastermind himself tweeted about the big event.

Holy #Scandal! I need a drink too, but not to grieve :D https://t.co/uvwk5fbbp3

— Joe Morton (@JOEtheMORTON) April 17, 2015

Aretha Franklin singing “I Did It My Way,” is a perfect finish … along with Jake being stabbed. #TGIT

— Joe Morton (@JOEtheMORTON) April 17, 2015

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SpaceX Dragon Brings Groceries to Astronauts

@AstroTerry/Twitter/NASA(NEW YORK) — How appropriate that the SpaceX Dragon would arrive Friday morning, with the first-ever espresso machine in space.

Now, the astronauts just have to unpack the cargo to find it.

More than 4,000 pounds of groceries, supplies and science experiments are on board the capsule, which blasted off Tuesday for the International Space Station.

The capsule was captured with the International Space Station’s robotic arm at 6:55 a.m. EDT as the station orbited 257 miles over the Pacific Ocean, just east of Japan. Astronauts live on Greenwich Mean Time, meaning Dragon arrived just before noon.

After the cargo is unloaded, Dragon will remain berthed at the International Space Station until around May 21, at which point it will splash down in the Pacific Ocean and will be recovered for use in future runs to the International Space Station.

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