Review Category : Top Stories

Stephen Colbert Says Goodbye to “The Colbert Report” Thursday Night

Comedy Central(NEW YORK) — After nine years as host of The Colbert Report, and with a new gig as David Letterman’s replacement on the horizon, Stephen Colbert will sign off from his Comedy Central late-night show on Thursday night.

Colbert launched his show on Oct. 17, 2005, after spending several years as a correspondent on another Comedy Central program, The Daily Show. His parody of right-wing TV commentators quickly became a hit, as he popularized terms such as “truthiness.”

Colbert’s highlights during his run include hosting the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2006, launching a fake run for president in 2007, and hosting a handful of episodes of his show from Iraq in 2009.

Colbert faced controversy earlier this year, when the Twitter account for his show posted a tweet that was intended to mock Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder for the way he handled the complaints regarding his team’s nickname, but which some deemed insensitive to the Asian community. The tweet inspired a social media campaign calling for his show to be cancelled. For his part, Colbert said he did not write the tweet.

Colbert’s guest on The Colbert Report finale, airing at 11:30 p.m. Eastern time, will be Grimmy, a.k.a. The Grim Reaper.

Colbert will take over CBS’ Late Show from Letterman next September. Comedy Central will fill his current time slot with The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, premiering Jan. 19.

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US Confirms 67 Airstrikes in Iraq, Syria

Michael Fitzsimmons/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — U.S. forces conducted 67 airstrikes in Syria and Iraq between Monday and Wednesday.

According to U.S. Central Command, six strikes in Syria and 61 in Iraq were conducted in the three-day span. Forty-five of the strikes in Iraq were conducted in support of the Peshmerga and Iraqi security forces operating in the region, targeting approximately 50 targets.

The strikes, led by the U.S., also involved 11 other nations, including the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, Australia, Belgium and Canada.

A defense official confirmed to ABC News that 45 airstrikes were in support of a Peshmerga offensive near Sinjar in northwest Iraq. That area is controlled by ISIS, and a highway in the area is believed to be used by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria to supply its forces in Mosul and other areas of Iraq.

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Six Indicted in Connection with January Chemical Spill in West Virginia

Photo by Tom Hindman/Getty Image(WASHINGTON) — The Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that Freedom Industries and six former executives of the company have been charged with federal crimes linked to the January 2014 Elk River chemical spill in West Virginia.

“Just a mile upstream from Charleston’s primary source of drinking water, the conditions at the Freedom Industries facility were not only grievously unacceptable, but unlawful,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. “They put an entire population needlessly at risk.”

Former Freedom President Gary Southern, owners and officers including Dennis Farrell, William Tis, Charles Herzing, consultant Robert Reynolds and tank farm plant manager Michael Burdette were charged on Wednesday.

According to the DOJ, those charged engaged in misconduct that included the failure to maintain a containment area around the facility’s tanks; failure to make necessary repairs to ensure the effectiveness of the containment area; failure to properly inspect a tank containing the chemical MCHM; failure to develop and implement a spill prevention, control, and countermeasures plan; and failure to develop and implement a stormwater pollution prevention plan and groundwater protection plan.

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Deployed Airman Dressed as Santa Claus Surprises Son

Fuse/Thinkstock(MT. JULIET, Tenn.) — Aaron Williams, a kindergartner from Tennessee, may never look at a Santa Claus anywhere, anytime the same way again.

The 6-year-old was surprised at his school Tuesday by his dad, a member of the U.S. Air Force who dressed as Santa Claus, white beard and all, for the surprise.

Aaron’s dad, Senior Airman Nicholas Williams, is in the middle of a year-long deployment to South Korea, so Aaron thought his dad would not be home to celebrate Christmas.

“He started actually crying when I told him that,” Aaron’s mom, Whitney, told local ABC affiliate WKRN, referring to how she kept the secret from her son by telling him that his dad would not be home.

“He was really upset and I felt really bad, like a horrible mother for lying to him like that,” she said.

All was perhaps forgiven Tuesday morning when Aaron and his classmates at Lakeview Elementary School in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., gathered in the school library to, they thought, be read a story by an elf.

When Santa Claus appeared and the elf, the school’s physical education teacher in costume, asked who wanted to pull Santa’s beard, it was Aaron who, by chance, raised his hand first.

“He’s actually a really shy little boy so it was so sweet that he wanted to do it the most of all of them,” Tiffany Brown, the school’s assistant principal, told ABC News.

“It took him a few times of tugging on the beard and it wasn’t until it came off that he saw,” Brown said. “He stopped laughing and went into kind of awe and his first word was very clearly, ‘Daddy.'”

“There wasn’t a dry eye in the room,” she said.

Williams will have 28 days at home with his family before returning to South Korea through May to complete his military tour, WKRN reports.

“I couldn’t ask for really anything more than to be home for Christmas,” Williams told the station.

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Deployed Airman Dressed as Santa Claus Surprises Son

Fuse/Thinkstock(MT. JULIET, Tenn.) — Aaron Williams, a kindergartner from Tennessee, may never look at a Santa Claus anywhere, anytime the same way again.

The 6-year-old was surprised at his school Tuesday by his dad, a member of the U.S. Air Force who dressed as Santa Claus, white beard and all, for the surprise.

Aaron’s dad, Senior Airman Nicholas Williams, is in the middle of a year-long deployment to South Korea, so Aaron thought his dad would not be home to celebrate Christmas.

“He started actually crying when I told him that,” Aaron’s mom, Whitney, told local ABC affiliate WKRN, referring to how she kept the secret from her son by telling him that his dad would not be home.

“He was really upset and I felt really bad, like a horrible mother for lying to him like that,” she said.

All was perhaps forgiven Tuesday morning when Aaron and his classmates at Lakeview Elementary School in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., gathered in the school library to, they thought, be read a story by an elf.

When Santa Claus appeared and the elf, the school’s physical education teacher in costume, asked who wanted to pull Santa’s beard, it was Aaron who, by chance, raised his hand first.

“He’s actually a really shy little boy so it was so sweet that he wanted to do it the most of all of them,” Tiffany Brown, the school’s assistant principal, told ABC News.

“It took him a few times of tugging on the beard and it wasn’t until it came off that he saw,” Brown said. “He stopped laughing and went into kind of awe and his first word was very clearly, ‘Daddy.'”

“There wasn’t a dry eye in the room,” she said.

Williams will have 28 days at home with his family before returning to South Korea through May to complete his military tour, WKRN reports.

“I couldn’t ask for really anything more than to be home for Christmas,” Williams told the station.

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US Says North Korea Responsible for Sony Hack

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The federal government has determined that North Korea is responsible for the hacking of computers at Sony Pictures Entertainment, ABC News has learned.

A senior administration official tells ABC News that the individual or group who hacked Sony are not in North Korea, but rather was directed by officials in North Korea to launch the attack.

Earlier Wednesday, federal cyber-security sources close to the investigation confirmed to ABC News that there is evidence to indicate the Sony intrusion was routed through a number of infected computers in various locations overseas, including computers in Singapore, Thailand, Italy, Bolivia, Poland and Cyprus.

The primary suspects in the investigation were members of an elite North Korean cyber-security unit known as “Bureau 21,” the sources also confirmed on Wednesday.

Law enforcement officials believe that group was also responsible for a malicious gaming app that infected thousands of smartphones in South Korea last fall, and an earlier attack on broadcasters and banks in that same country.

Some of the techniques and language used in the Sony hacking are similar to those used in these previous attacks in South Korea, sources said.

On North Korean state TV, an anchor read a government statement denying that North Korea hacked Sony pictures, but praised it as a “righteous deed.”

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Pilots Risk Significant UV Exposure

Digital Vision./Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Pilots should remember to pack their sunscreen, researchers said, after a study noted that flying at 30,000 feet exposes pilots to significant ultraviolet radiation.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology, found that pilots flying at 30,000 feet for 56 minutes receive the same amount of UV-A radiation as is received during a 20-minute session in a tanning bed. The windshields on planes block UV-B radiation, but not UV-A. The research was prompted by recent findings that pilots and cabin crew more commonly suffered from skin cancer.

Researchers measured the amount of UV radiation in airplane cockpits during flights and compared it to the amount released in tanning beds. Specifically, radiation was measured in the pilot seat. Researchers say that pilots and cabin crew should use sunscreen and undergo periodic skin checks.

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Sprint Faces Lawsuit for Alleged ‘Cramming’

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against Sprint Corporation for alleged illegal billing of wireless customers for unauthorized third-party charges.

“Today…we are suing Sprint for allowing illegal charges to be crammed onto consumers’ wireless bills,” CPFB Director Richard Cordray said Wednesday. “Consumers ended up paying tens of millions of dollars in [unauthorized] charges…many of these consumers had no idea that third parties could even place charges on their bills.”

The CPFD says that third-party billing involved products such as “premium text messages” or “premium short messaging services.” These products involve ringtones or text messages containing love tips, horoscopes or “fun facts.” Consumers would be charged either a one-time fee between $0.99 and $4.99 or monthly subscriptions costing as much as $9.99 per month. Sprint received a 30- to 40-percent cut of the revenue from those charges, the CPFB says.

According to the CPFB, some of the third-party merchants even tricked consumers into providing their cell phone numbers to receive “free” digital content, and then charged for that content. Others, the CPFB says, simply placed fabricated charges on bills without delivering any goods.

The bureau is accusing Sprint of allowing third parties to illegally charge consumers, automatically billing consumers for illegitimate charges without their consent, disregarding red flags about third parties and ignoring consumer complaints about unauthorized charges.

The bureau says that consumers incurred millions of dollars in illegitimate charges, while Sprint collected hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

Earlier this year, AT&T agreed to pay $105 million in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission for cramming.

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US Says North Korea Responsible for Sony Hack

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The federal government has determined that North Korea is responsible for the hacking of computers at Sony Pictures Entertainment, ABC News has learned.

A senior administration official tells ABC News that the individual or group who hacked Sony are not in North Korea, but rather was directed by officials in North Korea to launch the attack.

Earlier Wednesday, federal cyber-security sources close to the investigation confirmed to ABC News that there is evidence to indicate the Sony intrusion was routed through a number of infected computers in various locations overseas, including computers in Singapore, Thailand, Italy, Bolivia, Poland and Cyprus.

The primary suspects in the investigation were members of an elite North Korean cyber-security unit known as “Bureau 21,” the sources also confirmed on Wednesday.

Law enforcement officials believe that group was also responsible for a malicious gaming app that infected thousands of smartphones in South Korea last fall, and an earlier attack on broadcasters and banks in that same country.

Some of the techniques and language used in the Sony hacking are similar to those used in these previous attacks in South Korea, sources said.

On North Korean state TV, an anchor read a government statement denying that North Korea hacked Sony pictures, but praised it as a “righteous deed.”

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Pilots Risk Significant UV Exposure

Digital Vision./Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Pilots should remember to pack their sunscreen, researchers said, after a study noted that flying at 30,000 feet exposes pilots to significant ultraviolet radiation.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology, found that pilots flying at 30,000 feet for 56 minutes receive the same amount of UV-A radiation as is received during a 20-minute session in a tanning bed. The windshields on planes block UV-B radiation, but not UV-A. The research was prompted by recent findings that pilots and cabin crew more commonly suffered from skin cancer.

Researchers measured the amount of UV radiation in airplane cockpits during flights and compared it to the amount released in tanning beds. Specifically, radiation was measured in the pilot seat. Researchers say that pilots and cabin crew should use sunscreen and undergo periodic skin checks.

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