Review Category : Top Stories

Will You ‘Stand Up for Robin Williams’ Monday?

ABC/Randy Holmes(NEW YORK) — Do you think Robin Williams deserves one last standing ovation? You can help deliver it Monday at 4 p.m. ET.

A Facebook campaign is urging people to get on their feet Monday in one final tribute to the late actor and comedian, who died a week ago in an apparent suicide.

Asking for “one last curtain call for a man who made our life a little better one laugh at a time,” the organizers of the unofficial event urge people in San Francisco — near where Williams lived — and nationwide to participate in a “one-minute standing ovation,” adding, “Make it the loudest…ever!”

“C’MON USA LETS HEAR IT,” say the organizers. “If you’re in your car, honk that horn!”

Participants are also asked to wear red.

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DOT Endorses Technology that Allows Cars to Talk to Each Other

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Department of Transportation says cars that talk to each other could prevent more than half a million car crashes a year.

It’s called vehicle to vehicle communication technology — or V2V — and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says it could move the focus from helping people survive crashes to helping them avoid crashes altogether.

A new report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposes a new rule, issued in 2016, that would require new cars to come equipped with two types of V2V.

The report says those advance warning systems could prevent up to 592,000 crashes and save 1,083 lives every year.

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Hillary Clinton Is Finally Going Back to Iowa

Feng Li/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Hillary Clinton is going back to Iowa for the first time in six years.

The former secretary of state will headline Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry in Indianola next month, making her first visit to the state since 2008.

Bill and Hillary Clinton will be on hand for Harkin’s final steak fry, a representative for the couple confirmed. It’s a long-standing tradition that launched a young Barack Obama back in the fall of 2006. This year’s event is scheduled for Sept. 14.

Hillary Clinton’s decision to headline the steak fry, which “might promise to be the best ever,” according to Harkin’s website, could be seen as a swift political move for the former New York senator as she continues to mull a second run for president.

The former presidential candidate has not stepped foot in Iowa since she came in third in the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 4, 2008. And when she skipped the state during her nationwide book tour this summer, some in Iowa started to feel neglected.

The Gazette, an Iowa newspaper, practically begged Mrs. Clinton to visit last month.

“We’ve watched as you have flexed your muscles on the international stage and have been impressed with your ability to connect,” the Gazette editorialized. “But as Iowans, we need to see that connection in action. Our hope, if you are really considering a 2016 run, is that you have learned from your experience and come to Iowa intent on having true conversations about what matters to our state and the fine people in it.”

The Des Moines Register was first to report the news of Hillary Clinton’s upcoming Iowa appearance Monday. It has been confirmed to ABC News by a top Iowa Democrat with long ties to Harkin, who plans to retire next year at the end of his fifth term.

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Dollar General Counters with Rival Bid for Family Dollar

Dollar General Corporation(GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn.) — A bidding war is heating up for the struggling discount retailer Family Dollar, and big bucks are involved.

Dollar General has made a proposal to acquire Family Dollar for $78.50 per share, or approximately $9.7 billion. The all-cash bid is more generous than a rival offer made last month by Dollar Tree, worth $74.50 a share.

“For Family Dollar shareholders, our proposal is financially superior to the current transaction agreement with Dollar Tree and would provide Family Dollar shareholders with a substantial premium and immediate liquidity for their shares,” Dollar General CEO Rick Dreiling said in a statement Monday.

Neither Dollar Tree nor Family Dollar has commented on the new bid.

Dollar General’s share price rose 9 percent Monday morning. A merger could lead to more intense competition for Walmart, which also serves lower and middle-income consumers.

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Man Rescued After 5 Miles into Transatlantic Dinghy Voyage

iStock/Thinkstock(DORSET, England) — A Bulgarian man’s bold attempt to sail to America from England in a 14-foot dinghy was thwarted by rescue crews who were concerned about his safety.

The man was severely seasick when a Royal National Lifeboat Institution rescue crew found him only 5 miles into the 3,000-mile voyage.

“He was exceedingly cold, wet and violently ill,” institution press officer Jo Dadds told ABC News Monday.

“He had packed one bag of food and one bag of clothing with him,” Dadds said. “He insisted on continuing his journey when our crew members first found him. He didn’t want any help at all.”

The man was found with a Bulgarian passport that included a U.S. visa. A yacht sailing by the dinghy Saturday noticed the intrepid sailor and informed the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, according to Dadds.

“He was found struggling with strong wind and tide on Saturday afternoon along the coast of Mudeford,” Dadds said. “He had bought the dinghy for 300 pounds [about $500] earlier on Saturday morning from a boating club.”

The strong wind sweeping along the coast filled the man’s boat with water.

“We explained to him how crucial it was to transfer him back to the shore,” Dadds said. “There was no cover on his boat. It was the kind of dinghy that kids learn to sail in.”

After 45 minutes’ resistance, the man was finally taken back to the English shore by the rescue crew. He was later brought to a hospital by the awaiting ambulance crew.

“Without our crew, he would have died.” Dadds said. “That was a voyage well over 3,000 miles. He didn’t have a mobile phone. He didn’t have a radio. He didn’t have a life jacket with him.”

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Pope Francis Calls for Korean Peace on Final Day of Trip

Buda Mendes/Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) — Pope Francis completed his five-day trip to South Korea Monday, urging the two Koreas to reject suspicion, confrontation and competition and unite as “one family, one people.”

Emphasizing peace on the Korean peninsula at the Mass of peace and reconciliation at Seoul’s main Myungdong Cathedral, he advised that South Koreans should continue generosity in providing humanitarian aid to those in need, referring to the North.

“Forgive brothers who sinned for 77 times,” he said.

The two Koreas were divided in 1953 and are still technically at war. There is no freedom of religion in North Korea, although a figurative Catholic church exists, approved by the State. Pyongyang warned Sunday of a “merciless pre-emptive strike” against the South, directing displeasure at the annual U.S.-South Korean joint military drills planned for this week.

Thousands of citizens gathered in a rainy morning in front of the cathedral to get a glimpse of the pope, 77, who mesmerized the nation with his humble style and attitude in the past five days.

“It was a shockingly tight schedule for an old man,” Kim Sang-Min, who said he was not a Catholic, said. “I could tell that he wanted to meet as many people as possible. He touched our hearts.”

South Korean President Park Geun-hye, North Korean defectors and elderly “comfort women” who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military in early 1900s attended the mass. One woman gave Francis a pin of a butterfly, a symbol of their predicament; he wore it throughout the mass.

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Majors That Can Lead to the Highest-Paying Jobs

Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — College students: choose wisely during this back-to-school season.

A list of highest-earning U.S. jobs by their average salaries was released this month, topped by many jobs in the science and medical fields.

CareerCast used information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and its 2014 “Jobs Rated” report.

How do you get those jobs? Most of the educational training for those high-paying careers starts in college. Note that many of these careers, including the top-paying job of surgeon, can often come with a six-figure graduate school debt load, said Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.

ABC News asked CareerCast to compile the a list of college degrees that pay off and the average salaries of related fields.

Lee said studying actuarial mathematics ranks among the top professions in CareerCast’s annual Jobs Rated Report (No. 4 in 2014) for its employment outlook (26 percent growth by 2022) and high annual salary. Meanwhile, mathematics dominated the top of CareerCast’s report. Mathematician ranked No. 1, statistician No. 3, actuary was No. 4 and economist was No. 18. An educational background in statistics provides the foundation to pursue any number of careers in math, Lee said.

Business-related fields can also lead to high salaries.

“I was once told by an academic advisor that he recommends undecided underclassmen minor in a field they’re interested in but major in business,” Lee said. “His reasoning: a business degree entails requisite courses that can benefit any working American no matter her/his walk of life. As for career paths, a business degree means opportunities in a wide variety of possible fields.”

Studying for pharmacy and chemistry-related fields can also pay off.

“Some universities have pharmacological chemistry-specific programs for students seeking to become pharmacists. However, because passing the PCAT exam is the primary requisite for entry into a pharmacy college, a general chemistry degree can prepare aspiring pharmacists,” Lee said.

Not surprisingly, Lee calls computer engineering an “ideal 21st Century degree program” because those career opportunities for graduates are abundant. Software engineer and computer systems analyst are two of the higher scoring in CareerCast’s 2014 report, but computer engineering graduates might also find opportunities in computer programming and web development, Lee said.

Various universities, including Colorado and Stanford, have adopted engineering physics programs. As Lee notes, this is how Stanford University describes its program in its mission statement: “Engineering Physics prepares students to apply physics to tackle 21st century engineering challenges, and to apply engineering to address 21st century questions in physics.”

“This degree can prepare undergraduates for a variety of post-graduate engineering programs. And engineering careers are some of the most promising in our Jobs Rated Report,” Lee said.

The jobs of surgeon and physician are among the top-paying with high outlooks. Requirements for undergraduates seeking admission into medical school vary by program, Lee said. However, human biology requirements at many universities match the requisites demanded by medical schools.

The “engineering physics” major is something of a catch-all engineering program for students interested in gaining a wider knowledge base before specializing in a particular area of engineer, according to CareerCast.

A degree in biomedical engineering is highly specialized, but the field is projected to be one of the highest growth professions of the next decade, Lee said.

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New Zealander Reveals Private “Bucket List” Message from Robin Williams

Image Courtesy Monty Brinton/CBS(NEW YORK) — Days after Robin Williams apparently took his own life, a New Zealander revealed his wife received a private message from the Oscar winner to try to raise her spirits.

A chance to meet Williams was high on Vivian Waller’s bucket list, along with getting married, seeing her daughter’s first birthday, and turning 21. A fundraising campaign led Vivian and her husband Jack to get married and have a honeymoon, but suffering from lung, bowel and liver cancer, the Sunday Star Times reports she was too ill to meet the star.

Instead, her friends reached out to Williams, who sent her a brief but heartfelt message. “Hi Vivian, it’s Robin Williams here saying, ‘Hey girl, what’s going on down there in New Zealand?'” the actor comments, affecting a convincing Kiwi accent.

“I’m sending all my love to you, Jack and Sophie…knock this off your bucket list,” Williams commented, before “channeling Matthew McConaughey” with an “alright, alright, alright.” Williams signs off with “much love to you, baby.”

According to the video posted on Stuff.co.nz, Mr. Waller shared the private message because, “we love him, we want to show people how awesome a person he was.”

Unfortunately, Mrs. Waller’s condition has worsened. Her husband decided not to share the news of the actor’s apparent suicide with his ailing wife.

“We are just enjoying the time we have together. We take things a day at a time,” he said.

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National Guard Called In to Ferguson, Missouri; Brown Autopsy Released

Scott Olson/Getty Images(FERGUSON, Mo.) — A curfew imposed on the city of Ferguson by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon did little to quell disturbances Saturday night as one man was shot and seven people were arrested during protests over the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Meanwhile, even before authorities imposed another curfew Sunday at midnight, multiple smoke canisters were fired at protesters in an attempt to disperse a crowd after Molotov cocktails were allegedly thrown by agitators.

On Aug. 9, Brown and a companion were confronted by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, who witnesses say allegedly shot Brown multiple times while he had his hands in the air.

In an effort to calm the situation that has grown increasingly more volatile, Governor Nixon said early Monday he was directing the state National Guard to assist in restoring peace and order. Nixon blamed “the violent criminal acts of an organized and growing number of individuals, many from outside the community and state,” for jeopardizing the community. Meanwhile, all schools in Ferguson will be closed Monday.

In other developments, ABC News has confirmed details in the preliminary private autopsy performed on Sunday by Dr. Michael M. Baden, who was hired by the family, according to The New York Times.

According to his findings, Braden said that Brown was shot six times, including twice in the head. One of the bullets, which was the fatal shot, entered the top of the skull, suggesting Brown was bending down. He was also hit four times in the right arm.

Furthermore, the Justice Department will perform its own autopsy on Brown’s body, which is in addition to one by the St. Louis County Medical Examiner and Baden.

Following nights of clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement, Nixon had the Missouri Highway Patrol take over security from local cops while imposing the curfew beginning Saturday from midnight until 5 a.m.

Although the streets were mostly empty Saturday, one person was left in critical condition by an unknown shooter, and when police responded, their car was also shot at. The victim remains in critical condition.

Meanwhile, some groups refused to disperse, prompting authorities to fire smoke and gas canisters. Seven people who refused to leave the streets were then taken into custody.

Afterwards, Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ronald Johnson, who is in charge of the security, admitted feeling “disappointed in the actions of tonight.” However, he said that no looting occurred, largely because officers were guarding stores that were ransacked earlier in the week.

Brown’s death is under investigation by the U.S. Attorney and the FBI to determine if federal civil rights laws were broken. The teen was African-American, while Officer Wilson is white.

On Sunday afternoon, Brown’s parents hosted a rally at the Greater Grace Church in an attempt to bring the community together.

Civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton also spoke, saying, “Anybody that is going to be taken seriously in this country needs to address the police and Michael Brown.”

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U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers Releases Flood Study Numbers

8/18/14 – 4:58 A.M.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has finally released budget numbers for the ongoing Blanchard River Flood Study. Figures released to the Courier show $5.9 million has been spent on the project so far. 64 percent of that has been for labor done by the Army Corps.

The next highest expense has been for contract labor. That line item amounts to $2.1 million. Most of the contract labor has been done by the URS Corporation, a Cleveland engineering firm. They’ve been overseeing the environmental review.

When the flood study is finished, it’s expected to cost $9 million. Hancock County and the Army Corps have been splitting the cost.

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