Review Category : Top Stories

Pope Francis Begins South America Trip in Ecuador

RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images(QUITO, Ecuador) — Pope Francis arrived in Ecuador on Sunday for a nine-day, three-country trip in which he hopes to connect with some of the poor of South America.

Vatican spokesperson Federico Lombardi predicted crowds of more than one million during the pope’s trip to South America. “I think there will be people all over the continent watching TV, all the events,” he said, saying the total number of people following the pope’s trip could be in the hundreds of millions.

Pope Francis is from Argentina, but he will not visit that country during the trip, instead making appearances in Bolivia and Paraguay in addition to Ecuador.

The trip aims, in part, to connect

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Jason Pierre-Paul Injured in Fireworks Accident

Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul suffered an injury to his hands in a July Fourth fireworks accident.

ESPN sources and multiple reports confirmed the injury. Pierre-Paul was meeting with doctors on Sunday.

The extent of his injuries was not immediately known.

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Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana Christened in Front of Royal Family, Godparents

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, carries Princess Charlotte of Cambridge as they arrive at the Church of St Mary Magdalene on July 5, 2015 in King’s Lynn, England (Photo by Matt Dunham – WPA Pool /Getty Images)(KING’S LYNN, England) — Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana was christened on Sunday in a ceremony at St. Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate of her great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

The 2-month-old daughter of Prince William and Princess Kate arrived to the church in a stroller pushed by Kate.

The family was greeted by well-wishers who had gathered outside the church to see the fourth-in-line to the British throne.

Kate then picked up Charlotte to carry her inside.

William held George’s hand as they entered and left the church, and George at one point waved to the crowds.

Charlotte, born May 2 in London, wore the same christening gown worn by her big brother, Prince George, at his christening. The gown, remade by the queen’s dresser, Angela Kelly, in 2008, is an exact replica of the gown first commissioned by Queen Victoria 174 years ago and has been used for every generation of royal infants.

Duchess Kate wore a white Alexander McQueen ensemble to the ceremony, while Prince George sported a white shirt with red shorts.

The queen wore a rose Angela Kelly dress and hat.

Joining the family for Princess Charlotte’s christening were the queen, Prince Charles and Camilla, and Kate’s family, siblings Pippa and James, and her parents, Carole and Michael Middleton.

Charlotte’s uncle, Prince Harry, missed the christening because he is spending the summer in Africa.

Also in attendance were Charlotte’s godparents and their spouses.

Prince William and Princess Kate announced Princess Charlotte’s five godparents this weekend: Kate’s cousin Adam Middleton, William’s cousin The Hon. Laura Fellowes, and three of the couple’s friends, Thomas van Straubenzee, Sophie Carter and James Meade.

The invited guests celebrated the christening in a place of special significance to Princess Charlotte’s paternal grandmother, the late Princess Diana, who was baptized in the same church in 1961. In choosing St. Mary Magdalene Church for Charlotte’s christening, Prince William and Kate made a poignant nod to William’s mother, as they did when they selected their daughter’s name, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.

St. Mary Magdalene Church is also the parish church of the queen on the Sandringham estate and is where the royal family spends Christmas every year.

The church is also close to Anmer Hall, the 10-bedroom home also on the queen’s Sandringham estate, where William, Kate, Charlotte and her big brother, Prince George, have been spending most of their time since Charlotte’s May 2 birth.

The Most Rev. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who also presided over Prince George’s christening, conducted the ceremony.

Princess Charlotte was baptized with water from the River Jordan poured from the priceless silver “Lily Font,” which is housed in the Tower of London with the rest of the crown jewels. The silver baptism bowl is 17-inches high and 16-inches wide, decorated with gilded lilies and ivy and was commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1840.

It is supported by the lily-shaped stem, which gives the font its name, on a bed of acanthus leaves. The scrolled sides of the high base are decorated with three cherubs playing lyres, and the royal arms of Queen Victoria and the joint arms of Queen Victoria and Albert Prince Consort.

A gold-jeweled Bible, with more than 500 sapphires, rubies and opals, an early-1900s gift from the American Wanamaker family, is also housed inside the queen’s local church on the Sandringham estate.

Documenting the historical day for the royal family is Mario Testino, the world-renowned photographer whom William and Kate tapped to take the official photographs of the christening party.

Testino, 60, photographed the engagement photos for Princess Kate and Prince William, and was also chosen by the late Princess Diana selected to photograph her for Vanity Fair.

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Polls Close on Historic Greek Referendum

Polling station officials count the ballots at a polling station in Athens on July 5, 2015. (LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)(ATHENS, Greece) — The polls have closed in Greece in a historic referendum that could determine the country’s future in Europe, its currency and impact the global economy.

Greece’s government has cast the vote as one about increased unpopular austerity measures.

Opponents argue it has more to do with Greece’s place in the European Union and the Eurozone.

Surveys leading up to the referendum show voters almost evenly split.

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Three People Rescued From Crashed Car Before It Ignited

MattGush/iStock/Thinkstock(PENNSAUKEN, N.J.) — Good Samaritans helped rescue three people from a car that crashed in New Jersey, reportedly pulling them to safety just before the vehicle caught fire.

A vehicle carrying a 20-year-old man, a 19-year-old woman and an 18-year-old woman was headed south on Route 130 in Pennsauken, New Jersey, early Saturday morning when the driver lost control of the car, ABC News station WPVI-TV in Philadelphia reported.

The vehicle hit a traffic light control box and then crashed into a fence at the Crescent Memorial Cemetery, WPVI-TV reported.

Passing motorists stopped and pulled the injured out of the car just before it burst into flames.

The injured were brought to Cooper University Hospital where one of the women was in critical condition, while the other two were in stable condition.

Police declined to comment to ABC News Sunday about the incident.

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Usher Makes a Statement on 4th of July at Essence Music Festival

Image Courtesy RCA/Saccenti(NEW ORLEANS) — When Usher closed out Saturday night’s concerts at the Essence Music Festival 2015 in the New Orleans’ Superdome, he wanted to make a statement. After all, it was the Fourth of July, the day when America celebrates its Independence.

The R&B crooner wore a black leather jacket with the words, “Have we really achieved our independence,” written on the back in white lettering. And after he performed songs such as “OMG,” “Climax,” and “Here I Stand,” he eventually took his jacket off to reveal another message on his T-shirt. The words “Fourth of July” were crossed out and another word stood prominently underneath: “Juneteenth.”

Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day for African-Americans and celebrates the abolition of slavery in the Confederate south. However, it’s typically celebrated on June 19.

Along with his statements, Usher also put on a good set. The Atlanta-bred singer performed “Nice & Slow,” “Love in the Club,” “Yeah!” and “Matrimony,” during which he brought out rapper Wale.

The Essence Music Festival continues Sunday night with concerts, featuring Floetry, Mary J. Blige, Omarion and Kendrick Lamar.

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Find This Man a Girlfriend and He’ll Pay You $10K

Ren You, 29, has offered $10,000 to anyone who can find him a long-term girlfriend.(Courtesy Ren You)(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) — Ren You is a 29-year-old with a Harvard MBA and a job at a private equity firm. He is also someone who does not like to be inefficient and does not want to miss out on opportunities. Those two character traits led You to develop a novel way to find love.

The Birmingham, Alabama, resident is offering $10,000 to anyone who can find him a girlfriend of six months or more. He is accepting applications now on his website, DateRen.com.

“I’ve done dating websites and I’ve met people through friends,” You told ABC News. “I’m sure if I stuck with those ways that, down the road a few years, maybe I’d find someone, but that seems very time consuming and not efficient.”

“I don’t know if this is an improvement,” he said of DateRen.com. “But it’s something new so I thought I’d give it a shot.”

Ren says he is consumed by 12-hour days at work, leaving little time for dating and even less time for fun and relaxation, “the bottom tier items” that “usually get cut.”

“Look at it this way: if you work 12 hours/day, how would you want to spend the few waking hours you have left?,” You explains on DateRen.com. “Probably not standing around in a bar with your fingers crossed. This is way more fun for me.”

The University of Virginia alumni says he received a handful of submission after launching the website earlier this week but now has around 400 potential dates in his inbox thanks to media coverage from around the world.

“Apparently it got picked up by a news outlet in China so I’ve gotten bombarded with a lot of mothers recommending their daughters, which is a new thing ,” You said. “One mom linked to her daughter’s Rhodes Scholar write-up.”

You says his own mom is supportive of his unique approach to love, as is his dad.

“They’re’ a little bit a-typical as far as Chinese parents go,” he said. “They’re relatively hands-off and no pressure to get married. Whatever I’m doing is of my own volition.”

You also ran the idea by his coworkers and his bosses before putting himself in the spotlight.

“They’re pretty open-minded and they thought it was hilarious and a creative idea,” he said. “So when this surprisingly got picked up and got back to them, it wasn’t a shock.”

You had been replying to each submission individually because he knows, “how crappy it feels to not get a reply on a dating website,” but now is weeding through to reply yes or no to the most thoughtfully-written messages, and may hire an intern to sort through them all.

The replies so far are about half from women nominating themselves, and half from friends, or moms, recommending someone. To You’s surprise, many of the entries have said they would not take the $10,000 should their nominee find love with You.

“They’ll say, ‘I just want this person to meet a good guy…I don’t care about the reward,’” You said. “I’m happy to pay if it works out because it’s a small amount of money for a big reward, but if someone preemptively says no, then it gives me some comfort that they just think I’m a pretty good dude.”

“The $10,000 offer made me come off rich but my family is very middle-class,” he added. “I did a lot of stuff for my parents after I graduated, of transferring their credit card debt, helping pay off loans, buying them a house…they know I have things under control. “

Instead of listing his most desirable qualities or what he wants in a woman, You says he just wants everyone to know he is a very normal guy who has taken an abnormal approach to hopefully finding love.

You also has an answer for those wondering if he could be defrauded by a girl who breaks up with him the day after their six-month anniversary.

“I think given the six months, I’ll be able to tell if you’re a fraud because that’s a long time to be my girlfriend and spend time with me,” You said. “If two people are going to split the $10,000 and one work basically to spend time with me, it’s a lot of time over six months.”

“If you do the math, I’m not sure who is willing to do this in lieu of a minimum wage job when you could probably make more in the job,” he said.

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Billy Joel Marries in Surprise 4th of July Ceremony

Myrna Suarez/WireImageBilly Joel just capped off a banner week by tying the knot.

The 66-year-old singer-songwriter married girlfriend Alexis Roderick, 33, Saturday at his Long Island, NY estate, according to US Weekly. By all accounts the ceremony was a surprise to the family and guests gathered for a Fourth of July celebration.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo officiated the nuptials, while guests included comic actor Kevin James and Alexa Ray Joel, Billy’s daughter with second wife Christie Brinkley, who posted her congratulations on Instagram, writing: “Congratulation to the glowing bride and groom.. And to my daughter Alexa, who has a wonderful friend in Alexis! Wishing the growing family every happiness!”

James was also there last Wednesday night, when Joel performed his record 65th show at New York’s Madison Square Garden, the most shows played there by any artist. James helped raise a banner commemorating the achievement.

Joel and Roderick, who’s pregnant, began dating in 2009, right about the time Billy divorced his third wife, Katie Lee.

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US Conducts Airstrikes in Syria Against ISIS

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. celebrates its independence and strikes against one of its major enemies.

The state department announced late Saturday that coalition forces had launched “the most sustained set of airstrikes to date” against ISIS.

According to a tweet from Ambassador, Deputy Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL Brett McGurk, the 16 airstrikes would inhibit ISIS from operating inside Raqqa, ISIS’ self-proclaimed capital.

The news of the airstrikes came as a fireworks viewing party took place at the south lawn of the White House among men and women in the military.

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The Fate of Greece Decided in Sunday Referendum

iStock/Thinkstock(ATHENS, Greece) — Will Greece run out of cash? A vote on Sunday will decide.

Millions in Greece are struggling as they try to deal with high unemployment and limits on ATM withdrawals. A vote Sunday will allow Greek voters to decide whether or not Greece should accept an international bailout plan after months of talks.

The plan has austerity restrictions in exchange for aid, but many voters find the plan confusing.

“If you read the ballot, nobody can understand it,” said Secretary General of the Greek Chamber of Commerce Nikos Sofianos. “I hold a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and I don’t understand it.”

Sofianos also said the plan has the country “divided” as many opinion polls show a nearly even split for both “yes” and “no” votes.

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