Review Category : Top Stories

White House Fence Jumper Got Further Than Previously Thought, Sources Say

DesignforU/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The man who broke into the White House two weeks ago was able to make his way farther into the White House than previously believed.

A law enforcement official confirmed to ABC News on Monday that Omar Gonzalez, 42, made his way through the entrance hall and cross hall — passing a stairwell to the president’s quarters — before being tackled in the East Room, the room where President Obama and so many other presidents have made some of their most important announcements.

The development calls into question the narrative originally released by the Secret Service, which suggested Gonzalez, of Texas, had been taken into custody near the front doors of the White House.

News of how far Gonzalez breached the White House was first reported on Monday by the Washington Post.

“Gonzalez failed to comply with responding Secret Service Uniformed Division Officers’ verbal commands, and was physically apprehended after entering the White House North Portico doors,” the Secret Service said in a statement on Sept. 20.

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Amanda Bynes Arrested on DUI Charge

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — Amanda Bynes has been arrested for alleged DUI, ABC News has confirmed.

The California Highway Patrol confirmed that the actress was arrested at 4:10 a.m. on Sunday and charged with a misdemeanor. She was booked by the Los Angeles Police Department at a station in Van Nuys, California at 7 a.m. and held on $15,000 bail. Bynes was released that day at 12:44 p.m. on her own recognizance.

Last year was a troubling one for the 28-year-old actress. She was arrested in May 2013 for allegedly throwing a bong out of her New York City apartment window, though the case was dismissed in June 2014. Later in 2013, she entered rehab after being detained for a mental evaluation when she was involved in a disturbance in Thousand Oaks, California. Afterwards, her mother acted as her conservator, though it was not clear if she still was functioning in that role.

Things seemed to be improving for Bynes, who left rehab in December and, shortly thereafter, enrolled in fashion school.

“She’s doing extremely well. Her primary focus is bonding with her family and being a student,” her attorney, Tamar Arminak, told People magazine in April, adding that Bynes was on “zero medication.”

People also reported that, around that time, Bynes got her driver’s license back following earlier legal troubles, including a 2012 DUI arrest. The magazine added that this past February the actress pleaded no contest to a lesser alcohol-related offense in her DUI case to avoid jail time. As a result, she was placed on three-years probation and had to attend a three-month alcohol education course and pay fines.

Bynes is due in court on this new charge on October 23.

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The Rich Get Even Richer on “Forbes” 400 List

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Bill Gates is the wealthiest person in America for the 21st straight year, says Forbes magazine. He is worth $81 billion, up $9 billion from 2013.

Coming in behind Gates in this year’s Forbes 400 list is Warren Buffett with $67 billion, up $8.5 billion from 2013. Larry Ellison rounds up the top three with a net worth $50 billion, an increase of $9 billion.

According to the magazine’s latest rankings, the average net worth of each member on the list is $5.7 billion, the highest amount to date. Last year, the average was $5 billion.

When combined, the wealth of the Forbes 400 is $2.29 trillion, up from $2.02 trillion in 2013 and the highest figure to date. The record amount is partly due to the strength of the U.S. stock market.

To find out who else made the list this year, click here.

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Battle of Kobane: ISIS, Kurdish Fighters Battle Along Turkey-Syria Border

iStock/ThinkstockREPORTER’S NOTEBOOK By ABC News’ Terry Moran

(KOBANE, Syria) — It was another surreal day on the hills overlooking the Syrian border, watching the battle for city of Kobane, inside Syria.

ISIS is tightening its grip here. Kobane is a Kurdish city and it is nearly surrounded. Tens of thousands of residents have fled across the border, and the Kurdish defenders left behind seem both outgunned and outmanned.

But they are tough. And this place is their home.

This morning, ISIS fighters shelled the city. It was very strange and very sad to stand on a hill less than a mile away and watch the shells fall on the downtown streets and into the neighborhoods of the city. There is no targeting, no military objective here; ISIS is just raining fire on civilians.

This whole campaign — now more than a month old — has shown again how ruthless and efficient is the ISIS playbook for taking territory.

First, a lightning advance seizes roads, villages and key points and shapes the coming battle. Then, ISIS forces move forward slowly and engage on the ground, probing the defenses, looking for opportunities to advance further. Next come the bombardment and that is followed by the final assault — and the slaughter.

In the past few days, the city’s Kurdish defenders have finally gotten some help. The U.S. and it’s allies have carried out air strikes against ISIS — apparently targeting ISIS positions and supply lines. In fact, we saw what seemed to be several air strikes to the west of the city today. Kobane’s defenders say these strikes have not stopped the jihadist advance.

Perhaps that is because ISIS may be getting some help here, too, from Turkey.

Turkey has long been concerned about Kurdish separatists in its southeastern provinces and their allies across the border in Syria — in Kobane. There were reports earlier this year of arms shipments from Turkey crossing the border into ISIS-controlled Syria. The Turkish government called these shipments “humanitarian aid” — and slapped a court order banning any further press coverage of the issue.

The politics are murky. But the progress of the battle is clear.

A few miles west along the border, we watched the Kurdish defenders of Kobane try to hold a key approach to the city. As night fell, the ISIS fighters moved forward, trying to flank the Kurdish positions. The fighting grew fierce, as the crack-and-thump of tracer rounds, the thud of mortar fire and the increasingly desperate snapping and pinging of small-arms exchanges filled the narrow valley. The jihadist fighters just kept pushing ahead.

In the gathering darkness, we could hear the wind carry across the barren hills chorus after chorus of their ancient, piercing cry: “Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!”

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Texas Doctor Sentenced 10 Years for Poisoning Lover

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) — The Texas doctor convicted last week of poisoning her lover was sentenced on Monday to 10 years in prison.

Dr. Ana Gonzalez-Angulo, who was found guilty of aggravated assault Friday, was charged after prosecutors said she spiked Dr. George Blumenschein’s coffee in 2013 with ethylene glycol, a sweet-tasting chemical found in antifreeze.

“I am very grateful; justice has been served,” Blumenschein said at the start of the trial’s sentencing phase Friday.

Gonzalez-Angulo, 43, and Blumenschein, 50, both worked as oncologists at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Blumenschein’s girlfriend had testified in court last week that he suspected his mistress, Gonzalez-Angulo, was responsible but that he was afraid to contact authorities.

Evette Toney told a Houston courtroom about how she found out her boyfriend, Blumenschein, was having an affair with fellow cancer researcher Gonzalez-Angulo at the prestigious cancer center.

Prosecutors said Gonzalez-Angulo spiked Blumenschein’s coffee after he picked Toney over her.

The poisoning left Blumenschein with permanent kidney damage, according to testimony from doctors who treated him.

Gonzalez-Angulo had pleaded not guilty, and could have faced up to life in prison.

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Did Intelligence Community Underestimate ISIS Risk in Iraq?

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Did the White House miss the memo on ISIS, or did the intelligence community fail to assess the risk?

In an interview Sunday on CBS’ 60 Minutes, President Obama said Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and his team “underestimated” the risk that ISIS posed in Iraq and didn’t warn that the Iraq army, marred by sectarian division, would crumble.

“Jim Clapper has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” Obama said.

The president also said it’s “absolutely true” that the U.S. overestimated the commitment and strength of the Iraqi army in taking on the militant group.

At Monday’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest cast the net a bit wider, saying the U.S. didn’t see it coming.

“Nobody predicted the speed and pace with which ISIL would advance across the Syrian border with Iraq,” Earnest said, using one of several acronyms for the militant group.

But members of the administration did voice concerns. State Department official Brett McGurk was asked at a House hearing last November whether the administration was underestimating the threat.

“I don’t want to get into whether it was underestimated. I’m really focusing my job on where we are now and we face a real problem,” McGurk said at the time.

Despite Obama’s remarks, Earnest denied Monday that the White House is at odds with the intelligence community.

“The president has confidence in Director Clapper and the president has confidence in the intelligence professionals who are responsible for providing him advice and intelligence about what’s happening on the ground,” Earnest said.

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Debbie Gibson Opens Up About the Lows of Lyme Disease

ABC/Kelsey McNeal(NEW YORK) — Singer Debbie Gibson admits that she is just now starting to feel like herself again after struggling from Lyme disease for the past year.

“This is my first pain-free month,” she told People magazine. “My strength has really come back. I’ve put back on about 12-15 lbs. Before, I couldn’t ride my bike. I could hardly walk. Now I can. I went to yoga for the first time a month ago. I’m someone who has spent my life dancing and working out, and I wasn’t able to do it with this disease.”

Indeed, things got so bad that Gibson, 44, said she “became a shell of myself.”

“I couldn’t lift my head sometimes,” she continued. “My boyfriend said I was mixing up words in my texts. It really got into my cognitive skills. I took crazy amounts of antibiotics, including doxycycline. It killed so much stuff in my body.”

The “Lost in Your Eyes” singer is happy to be taking fewer pills for her disease.

“I’m on zero medications and two supplements. Isn’t that crazy? It’s all about getting my own body back online,” she said. “My food sensitivities have gone away — I was able to eat airplane food yesterday and didn’t have a major episode!”

Even though things are better, she’s not looking “too far ahead.”

“I’m taking things day by day,” she added. “I get into trouble when I look too far ahead and worry about the future. I’m now grateful for each day.”

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Deaths Linked to GM’s Faulty Ignition Switches Rises to 23

General Motors(NEW YORK) — More deaths have been linked to General Motors’ faulty ignition switches.

Ken Feinberg’s latest report shows 23 deaths are now eligible for a claim. Last week, Feinberg, the independent administrator of GM’s compensation program, reported 21 deaths.

GM intially estimated that at least 13 deaths resulted from its defective ignition switches.

The automaker hired Feinberg to pour through death claims from families whose loved ones died in accidents they believe were caused by the problem. Compensation for each confirmed death claim will be at least a million dollars.

The overall compensation program, which launched on Aug. 5, is open for submission until Dec. 31 through GMIgnitionCompensation.com.

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Ashraf Ghani Sworn in as New Afghan President

Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Afghanistan swore in its newly elected president on Monday, marking the first peaceful transition of power since the fall of the Taliban.

Wearing a traditional Afghan turban, Ashraf Ghani took the oath of office inside the presidential palace. The inauguration was attended by more than 1,000 local and international delegates and was kicked off by outgoing President Hamid Karzai, who thanked the international community for its support over the past 13 years.

Ghani is a technocrat who was educated in the United States. He inherits a Taliban insurgency that’s growing and an economy rife with corruption that’s almost entirely dependent on foreign aid.

For his part, the new president says he’ll tackle those problems head on and quickly sign a new military deal allowing foreign troops to stay in the country.

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Why Hong Kong Residents Are Taking to the Streets

Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Image(HONG KONG) — Hong Kong police on Sunday night fired tear gas into a rowdy but largely peaceful crowd of pro-democracy protesters, which seemingly ballooned and spread across the city only after the moment the tear gas was released from its shell.

The crowds — for which there were no official numbers, although activist groups were estimating them to be in the tens of thousands — effectively brought parts of the international financial hub to a virtual standstill for the second straight day Monday.

The student protests and the Occupy Central movement were initially about electoral reforms. Beijing said in August that it would allow Hong Kong to elect its own leader if the candidates were pre-screened and friendly to Beijing. That did not sit well with some of the electorate.

When the Hong Kong government and its police force decided to respond to protesters with force, some locals who did not initially support the week-long student protest or the plan to disrupt Hong Kong’s financial district seemed to galvanize behind the two movements. A new movement and hashtag arose from the tear gas: the #UmbrellaRevolution, named after the accessory of choice the protesters chose to defend themselves.

In the brief, unexpected violence, moderate Hong Kong residents may see a future that resembled any other mainland Chinese city, where dissent is removed by a show of force.

‘Hong Kong Exceptionalism’

Hong Kong, a self-governed southern Chinese territory, prides itself on its freedom of speech and assembly — a freedom its cousins in mainland China do not share.

There lies the heart of the issue: Call it “Hong Kong exceptionalism,” or, at least, the perception of it — because, after all, Hong Kong is part of China. It was this “Hong Kong identity” that people seemed to be flooding into the streets to defend.

When Hong Kong was handed back over to China from British colonial hands in 1997, the former colony was promised eventual “full democracy” under a “one country, two systems”-type of governance. Authorities also guaranteed the Hong Kong way of life would be preserved until at least 2047.

Despite its freedoms, full democracy and universal suffrage was something that Hong Kong never enjoyed as a British crown colony and something no Chinese citizen had on the mainland.

Seventeen years on, pro-democracy activists believe China is reneging on its promise.

Public opinion in Hong Kong is divided. Many residents remain politically conservative and opt for stability above all else.

Cantonese Worry About Mandarin-ization

Despite that, relations between Hong Kong and the mainland are at their frostiest since the 1997. Hong Kong has flourished as an international financial hub since the handover but the mostly Cantonese-speaking population is also going through an identity crisis. Their idea of “Hong Kong exceptionalism” is under threat.

Some Hong Kong residents are feeling squeezed out of opportunities by what they believe is a “Mandarin-ization” of the Hong Kong economy, where the highest wages are going to Mandarin-speakers with extensive mainland Chinese connections, creating an increasing wealth gap. They also believe wealthy business elites are pandering to the Chinese government in order to access the mainland market at the expense of everyday Hong Kong residents.

Changing Demographics

In 1984, when it was decided Hong Kong would return to China, the city of Shenzhen, which sits on Hong Kong’s border with the mainland, had roughly 200,000 residents. Shenzhen is now dwarfs Hong Kong’s 7.2 million residents as megacity of 15 million people.

The influx of mainland Chinese investors and tourists into Hong Kong have also raised property prices and a strain on some consumer goods.

When the Hong Kong police, held up as heroes in local films and on TV, fired tear gas at its own people, some may not have recognized the city they called home.

The New York Times quoted a recent university graduate Steve Lee in the thick of the tear gas saying, “Hong Kong has gone crazy. It is no longer the Hong Kong I know, or the world knows.”

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