Review Category : Top Stories

Adult ISIS Fighter in Child Executioner Video Killed, Official Says

Oleg Zabielin/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A notorious ISIS fighter featured in the shocking video this month of a boy appearing to execute two prisoners with a handgun has been killed in battle, a counter-terrorism official said on Wednesday.

Abu Saad al-Dagestani was the nom de guerre of an ISIS terrorist shown in the gruesome Jan. 13 tape overseeing what ISIS claimed was the execution of two alleged “Russian spies” by a boy under 11. Al-Dagestani was first reported killed in jihadi tweets on Jan. 15, which claimed he was “martyred” near the embattled Kurdish town of Kobani on Syria’s border with Turkey.

“We do think he was killed,” a counter-terrorism official familiar with military operations around Kobani by the U.S.-led coalition told ABC News Wednesday.

The video, apparently produced by an ISIS media outlet and shared on Twitter, was seven minutes long and featured “confessions” by the two men. In a heavily-edited section, the boy, called a “lion’s cub,” was shown firing a pistol at the heads of the men, who each fall, apparently lifeless.

The boy appeared to have long hair and was dressed in black next to the adult overseeing him, al-Dagestani — whose true identity is not known but was believed to be among many foreign fighters from Dagestan or Chechnya — who wore a long beard, winter cap and carried both a pistol and a shoulder-slung rifle.

Officials declined to comment on the video’s authenticity, but military sources and others said they suspected the executions were staged, noting the absence of bullet impacts and blood splatter. Another former counter-terrorism official, however, previously told ABC News the murders look fairly real to him.

ISIS is well known for its sophisticated disinformation program, which is part of a highly-sophisticated media messaging committee that specializes in shocking western audiences with cinematic scenes of mass-decapitations and executions.

ISIS releases through its local affiliates in Syria and Iraq often multiple videos a day they produce depicting executions for a variety of alleged violations of religious Shariah law or their own rules. Most involve beheadings or amputating limbs in graphic bloodlettings.

Tweets announcing the death of al-Dagestani appeared on both ISIS-linked accounts as well as anti-ISIS Peshmerga accounts.

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Romney Will Portray Hillary Clinton as ‘Clueless’ on Jobs, Foreign Policy

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Mitt Romney will speak about poverty in a speech in the nation’s poorest state Wednesday evening — while directly taking aim at Hillary Clinton, saying she “cluelessly pressed a reset button for Russia.”

Romney will address students at Mississippi State University, and in excerpts provided to ABC News by an aide, Romney outlines an early line of attack he may employ if he again runs for president.

“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cluelessly pressed a reset button for Russia, which smiled and then invaded Ukraine, a sovereign nation,” Romney will say. “The Middle East and much of North Africa is in chaos. China grows more assertive and builds a navy that will be larger than ours in five years. We shrink our nuclear capabilities as Russia upgrades theirs.”

Romney also described three issues the nation needs to improve — likely topics he would build his campaign on — including the “need to help make the world a safer place,” the “need to restore opportunity, particularly for the middle class,” and the “need to lift people out of poverty.”

In what looks like an early attack against Clinton, trying to align her with President Obama, Romney will say, “How can Secretary Clinton provide opportunity for all if she doesn’t know where jobs come from in the first place?”

Romney then goes after the president, asking how he expects to “make America the best place on earth for businesses, as he promised in his State of the Union address” if there are high business taxes, regulations that “favor the biggest banks and crush the small ones,” as well as a “complex and burdensome health care plan” — an attack he tried to employ in his last campaign unsuccessfully.

The president’s health care plan was repeatedly compared to Romney’s health care plan in Massachusetts, something he denied, but an issue that will likely come up again by GOP opponents in a future campaign.

Romney will add that the country needs a president who will “do what it takes to bring more good paying jobs to the placement offices of our college campuses.”

He will also call the president’s foreign policy “timid” because he walked “away from his red line in Syria, of paring back our military budget, and of insulting friends like Israel and Poland? Strong American leadership is desperately needed for the world, and for America.”

If Romney does run again in 2016, he will of course have a competitive GOP primary first before being able to take on Clinton if she is the nominee, or any Democrat. In his first run for the White House in 2008, he also went after Clinton during the GOP primary. That year, he lost the primary to Sen. John McCain.

Romney’s 2012 campaign did not focus on poverty, although his running mate Paul Ryan did address the issue at times during his part of the campaign, but it’s clear this will be a central issue to Romney if he does move forward.

In the speech, he will say during that last campaign he “met folks…almost every week during my campaign” who had “fallen into poverty as result of an unfortunate event, like losing a job.”

“These folks were almost uniformly optimistic about finding their way back into the middle class,” the former Massachusetts governor will say. “But I also met folks who had been in poverty from generation to generation. These we have to help escape the tragedy and the trap of chronic generational poverty.”

Romney will say “for fifty years and with trillions of dollars,” Washington has tried to fight the “war on poverty with failed liberal policies,” but it hasn’t worked.

“It’s finally time to apply conservative policies that improve America’s education system, promote family formation and create good-paying jobs,” he will say.

In the 2012 campaign, Romney was ridiculed and called unrelatable for his “47 percent” comments or when he said following his win in the Florida primary that he is “not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it.”

In national exit polls after the 2012 loss, Obama won 81 percent to Romney’s 18 percent of voters who said the candidate quality that was most important to them was he “cares about people like me.”

With Romney’s early pivot to focus on poverty, he is likely trying to avoid those issues that derailed him last time.

On Wednesday, the Boston Globe reported extensively about Romney’s four luxurious homes including an 11,000 square foot one in La Jolla, California he may be trying to sell, possibly before another presidential bid. The home has a spa and a car elevator, a luxury that Democrats jumped on during the last campaign and will likely once again if he runs again.

Romney aides believe Clinton’s own wealth will make his no longer a political liability with an aide telling ABC News in the same statement given to the Globe: “It’s going to be hard for Hillary Clinton to make Mitt Romney’s wealth a fruitful line of attack, with her multi-million dollar mansions in Georgetown and Chappaqua and her jet-setting lifestyle of the rich and famous.”

A spokesman for Clinton did not immediately return a request for comment.

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Romney Will Portray Hillary Clinton as ‘Clueless’ on Jobs, Foreign Policy

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Mitt Romney will speak about poverty in a speech in the nation’s poorest state Wednesday evening — while directly taking aim at Hillary Clinton, saying she “cluelessly pressed a reset button for Russia.”

Romney will address students at Mississippi State University, and in excerpts provided to ABC News by an aide, Romney outlines an early line of attack he may employ if he again runs for president.

“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cluelessly pressed a reset button for Russia, which smiled and then invaded Ukraine, a sovereign nation,” Romney will say. “The Middle East and much of North Africa is in chaos. China grows more assertive and builds a navy that will be larger than ours in five years. We shrink our nuclear capabilities as Russia upgrades theirs.”

Romney also described three issues the nation needs to improve — likely topics he would build his campaign on — including the “need to help make the world a safer place,” the “need to restore opportunity, particularly for the middle class,” and the “need to lift people out of poverty.”

In what looks like an early attack against Clinton, trying to align her with President Obama, Romney will say, “How can Secretary Clinton provide opportunity for all if she doesn’t know where jobs come from in the first place?”

Romney then goes after the president, asking how he expects to “make America the best place on earth for businesses, as he promised in his State of the Union address” if there are high business taxes, regulations that “favor the biggest banks and crush the small ones,” as well as a “complex and burdensome health care plan” — an attack he tried to employ in his last campaign unsuccessfully.

The president’s health care plan was repeatedly compared to Romney’s health care plan in Massachusetts, something he denied, but an issue that will likely come up again by GOP opponents in a future campaign.

Romney will add that the country needs a president who will “do what it takes to bring more good paying jobs to the placement offices of our college campuses.”

He will also call the president’s foreign policy “timid” because he walked “away from his red line in Syria, of paring back our military budget, and of insulting friends like Israel and Poland? Strong American leadership is desperately needed for the world, and for America.”

If Romney does run again in 2016, he will of course have a competitive GOP primary first before being able to take on Clinton if she is the nominee, or any Democrat. In his first run for the White House in 2008, he also went after Clinton during the GOP primary. That year, he lost the primary to Sen. John McCain.

Romney’s 2012 campaign did not focus on poverty, although his running mate Paul Ryan did address the issue at times during his part of the campaign, but it’s clear this will be a central issue to Romney if he does move forward.

In the speech, he will say during that last campaign he “met folks…almost every week during my campaign” who had “fallen into poverty as result of an unfortunate event, like losing a job.”

“These folks were almost uniformly optimistic about finding their way back into the middle class,” the former Massachusetts governor will say. “But I also met folks who had been in poverty from generation to generation. These we have to help escape the tragedy and the trap of chronic generational poverty.”

Romney will say “for fifty years and with trillions of dollars,” Washington has tried to fight the “war on poverty with failed liberal policies,” but it hasn’t worked.

“It’s finally time to apply conservative policies that improve America’s education system, promote family formation and create good-paying jobs,” he will say.

In the 2012 campaign, Romney was ridiculed and called unrelatable for his “47 percent” comments or when he said following his win in the Florida primary that he is “not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it.”

In national exit polls after the 2012 loss, Obama won 81 percent to Romney’s 18 percent of voters who said the candidate quality that was most important to them was he “cares about people like me.”

With Romney’s early pivot to focus on poverty, he is likely trying to avoid those issues that derailed him last time.

On Wednesday, the Boston Globe reported extensively about Romney’s four luxurious homes including an 11,000 square foot one in La Jolla, California he may be trying to sell, possibly before another presidential bid. The home has a spa and a car elevator, a luxury that Democrats jumped on during the last campaign and will likely once again if he runs again.

Romney aides believe Clinton’s own wealth will make his no longer a political liability with an aide telling ABC News in the same statement given to the Globe: “It’s going to be hard for Hillary Clinton to make Mitt Romney’s wealth a fruitful line of attack, with her multi-million dollar mansions in Georgetown and Chappaqua and her jet-setting lifestyle of the rich and famous.”

A spokesman for Clinton did not immediately return a request for comment.

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Facebook Unveils New Super Bowl Hub for Fans

Facebook(NEW YORK) — The Super Bowl and social media have become a favorite annual pairing, joining the ranks of chips and salsa, and chicken wings and beer.

Facebook on Wednesday unveiled a new real-time hub for fans to use while watching the big game.

Whether it’s Marshawn Lynch’s potential antics, a halftime surprise from Katy Perry or a simple touchdown celebration, it’s now even easier to see what your friends and others are saying.

Facebook’s Super Bowl experience also gives users the best commentary from celebrities, a play-by-play of the game and videos of some of the most highly anticipated commercials.

It’s likely Super Bowl XLIX, which pits the Seattle Seahawks against the New England Patriots, could be one of the most buzzed about events on Facebook this year.

Last year, the social network said more than 50 million people had an astounding 185 million interactions about the Super Bowl on game day.

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Facebook Unveils New Super Bowl Hub for Fans

Facebook(NEW YORK) — The Super Bowl and social media have become a favorite annual pairing, joining the ranks of chips and salsa, and chicken wings and beer.

Facebook on Wednesday unveiled a new real-time hub for fans to use while watching the big game.

Whether it’s Marshawn Lynch’s potential antics, a halftime surprise from Katy Perry or a simple touchdown celebration, it’s now even easier to see what your friends and others are saying.

Facebook’s Super Bowl experience also gives users the best commentary from celebrities, a play-by-play of the game and videos of some of the most highly anticipated commercials.

It’s likely Super Bowl XLIX, which pits the Seattle Seahawks against the New England Patriots, could be one of the most buzzed about events on Facebook this year.

Last year, the social network said more than 50 million people had an astounding 185 million interactions about the Super Bowl on game day.

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Facebook Unveils New Super Bowl Hub for Fans

Facebook(NEW YORK) — The Super Bowl and social media have become a favorite annual pairing, joining the ranks of chips and salsa, and chicken wings and beer.

Facebook on Wednesday unveiled a new real-time hub for fans to use while watching the big game.

Whether it’s Marshawn Lynch’s potential antics, a halftime surprise from Katy Perry or a simple touchdown celebration, it’s now even easier to see what your friends and others are saying.

Facebook’s Super Bowl experience also gives users the best commentary from celebrities, a play-by-play of the game and videos of some of the most highly anticipated commercials.

It’s likely Super Bowl XLIX, which pits the Seattle Seahawks against the New England Patriots, could be one of the most buzzed about events on Facebook this year.

Last year, the social network said more than 50 million people had an astounding 185 million interactions about the Super Bowl on game day.

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Kim Jong-un to Meet with Vladimir Putin

Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has RSVP’d to a May celebration in Russia commemorating the Soviet victory over Germany in World War II.

The historic trip would be the North Korean leader’s first visit outside his country since he took power and succeeded his father in 2011. It would also be his first time meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in person.

North Korea and Russia have been strengthening their relationship in recent months.

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Senator to AG Nominee Loretta Lynch: ‘You’re Not Eric Holder, Are You?’

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — “You’re not Eric Holder, are you?”

That question, posed to Loretta Lynch nearly two hours into her confirmation hearing to be the next attorney general, seemed to encapsulate what every Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee was likely thinking.

“No, I’m not,” Lynch assured the man who asked the question, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, with a wry smile. “I will be myself. I will be Loretta Lynch [if confirmed.]”

Cornyn said Holder’s record has weighed “heavily” on some of his fellow senators’ minds, insisting Holder was “openly contentious” toward Republican lawmakers, “stonewalled legitimate” oversight investigations, and “harassed” states that passed laws requiring certain forms of identification for voters to cast ballots in elections.

At the opening of the hearing, committee chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said he hoped Lynch “has what it takes” to “fix” President Obama’s Justice Department.

Still, by lunchtime much of the hearing remained tame — with Lynch and senators from both sides of the aisle calmly trading questions and answers on issues that have been debated in such hearings for years.

However, Republicans also took sharp aim at the Obama administration’s plan to bring sweeping changes to the U.S. immigration system, using executive action to offer temporary legal status to nearly five million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Many Republicans on the Senate committee derided the move as a deliberate violation of the U.S. Constitution and pressed Lynch over how she would handle the executive action.

Lynch rebuffed Republican suggestions that the executive action amounted to a refusal to enforce the law, saying it was instead an attempt to set priorities.

She echoed the Obama administration in suggesting the point of the executive action was to “prioritize” deportations of the “most dangerous” people, namely criminals, terrorists and other violent offenders. And she called it all a “reasonable way to marshal limited resources.”

She said she has not seen regulations laying out exactly how the Department of Homeland Security will enact the new action, but she said she has reviewed an opinion from the Department of Justice assessing the president’s legal authority to take such action.

She said that assessment seemed reasonable, noting the department did conclude in some instances that certain administration proposals were not allowed under the law.

Pressed by Sen. Jeff Sessions over whether undocumented immigrants have a right to citizenship, Lynch called citizenship a “right” for those born in the United States and “a privilege” for others. Sessions agreed.

But when asked by Sessions whether she, as attorney general, would take legal action against any employers who preferred to hire undocumented immigrants over U.S. citizens, Lynch called it an “important point” that should be reviewed.

On the immigration issue, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., strongly defended the Obama administration, saying it’s a “myth” that prioritizing law enforcement resources — known as “prosecutorial discretion” — amounts to a failure to enforce laws.

There are 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, and Congress “only allocates” enough resources for Homeland Security to deport 400,000 of them, so suggesting that the Obama administration is willfully skirting the law is “absurd,” Schumer said.

“Obviously, you have to make some choices here,” Schumer said. “This idea of going after higher-level dangerous crimes first is how law enforcement has gone on for hundreds of years, and should.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., took strong issue with Republicans’ criticism of Holder, saying he had no opportunity to defend himself at the hearing and insisting their claims “would not withstand” further scrutiny.

It’s “easy to…blame him” and history will show that Holder “actually brought the department back from a place where it had sadly been politicized” under the Bush administration, Whitehouse said.

Over and over, Lynch vowed to be an “independent and objective” attorney general, pointing to her long record as U.S. attorney.

And, she pledged, when she and lawmakers inevitably disagree on an issue, she will hear their concerns and “be open to discussion.”

She said it was important “to work with people who might disagree.”

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Meghan Trainor Was ‘Addicted to Diets’ Before Embracing Her Curves

Epic Records(NEW YORK) — Before she was singing about “bringing booty back” and embracing her curves, Meghan Trainor had to fight low self-esteem just like the rest of us. The 21-year-old singer admitted to U.K.’s Reveal that she used to be “addicted to diets,” and tried to follow Beyonce’s weight-loss secret.

Meghan tells the publication that her insecurities began in school when her best guy friend told her she’d be “so hot” if she lost ten pounds. She said she rushed home and told her mom she was “never eating again.” That’s when she started researching fad diets online.

“I Googled, ‘What does Beyonce do?’ and decided I’d try the detox diet with cayenne pepper,” Meghan recalled. “Do you know how much I had to drink to get used to it? It was so gross. I stopped straight away. I was like, ‘This is not normal.’”

Meghan said she’s since met Beyonce, who’s a fan of her music, and credits her for having a “real figure” in a business where many women feel they have to be skin and bones.

“I definitely feel like I’m 30 and I’ve been through a lot,” the 21-year-old singer said. “I haven’t experienced anything crucial or devastating. But I got addicted to weird little diets and I quickly realized how stupid it was.”

Meghan said that when she first wrote her #1 Grammy-nominated hit “All About That Bass,” it was more about how she wished she felt, rather than how she actually felt, about her body. But once she started performing and getting positive feedback, she says, she started to feel more confident. Now, she encourages her friends to love their bodies.

“I’m just 100 percent happier than I was,” she said. “The trick I tell my girlfriends now is that you have to say it out loud. You haven’t got to nearly kill yourself on these diets. You just have to look in the mirror and tell yourself, ‘Damn I look good today!’”

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‘Bulletproof’ Battery Could Prevent Fires, Researchers Say

File photo. iStock/Thinkstock(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) — The same bulletproof material that has saved countless lives may now have another practical use in everything from smartphones to airplanes.

Researchers at the University of Michigan have used Kevlar as a barrier to create slimmer lithium-ion batteries. The result is a battery that lasts longer, is more flexible and is explosion-proof, according to Nicholos Kotov.

The University of Michigan professor, who is co-inventor of the technology, told ABC News that Kevlar was chosen as an insulator for its “high strength” and “heat resistance.”

Standard lithium-ion batteries work by sending charges between electrodes via a circuit path. When battery membrane holes become a certain size, lithium atoms can accumulate and create structures called dendrites, which poke through the membrane.

Dendrites become a problem if they reach the other electrode, which will short out the circuit. This is how some battery fires are believed to have started.

“It turns out that this strength [of Kevlar] is very important for the prevention of the growth of dendrites in the batteries,” Kotov said.

The University of Michigan team founded a company, called Elegus Technologies, with the hope of bringing the research to market.

Kotov said 30 companies have so far requested samples of the material and that they hope to begin production toward the end of 2016.

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