Review Category : Top Stories

US Embassy in Iraq Denies Reports of Coalition Airstrike Mistakenly Hitting Iraqi Troops

Marcio Silva/iStock/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) — The U.S. embassy in Iraq on Friday denied Iraqi media reports that a coalition airstrike mistakenly struck Iraqi troops in Tikrit.

“We are aware of Iraqi media reports of casualties among Iraqi Security Forces in the vicinity of Tikrit University this morning,” the embassy’s statement reads. “No coalition airstrikes took place during the time or in the vicinity of these alleged casualties.”

The embassy referred further questions to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.

U.S. and coalition forces had begun to conduct airstrikes and offer additional support in the vicinity of Tikrit as Iraqi Security Forces attempt to retake the city from ISIS militants.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Amanda Knox’s Conviction Overturned by Italy’s Highest Court

ABC(ROME) — Italy’s highest court decided Friday to overturn Amanda Knox’s reconviction in connection with her roommate’s slaying, meaning that she will not be sent back to prison.

Knox’s mother confirmed to ABC News that her daughter’s conviction has been annulled.

Knox was initially convicted by an Italian court of killing British student Meredith Kercher in 2007, but that decision was overturned on appeal in October 2011 after she had spent four years in prison.

She was then reconvicted last year and an appeal of the reconviction began this month. There is no possibility of further appeals after Friday’s ruling.

“This is a big mistake that has to be rectified,” Knox’s defense attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova told ABC News before this latest appeal case began. “It has been done before.”

Knox has previously told ABC News that while she maintains her innocence, she will not be traveling to Italy for the new appeal because if found guilty, she would then be sent back to jail for up to 28 years.

“I did not expect this to happen,” Knox told ABC News in January 2014. “I really expected so much better from the Italian justice system. They found me innocent once before.”

Knox has rebuilt her life in her hometown of Seattle, writing freelance theater reviews for a local paper and working at a bookstore. In February, her family confirmed that she is now engaged to Colin Sutherland, a friend whom she has known since middle school.

Her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito is facing the same appeal and while he has been present in the Rome court throughout the week, Knox has remained in America.

“I will never go willingly back,” she said in January 2014.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Ellen Pao Loses Big Silicon Valley Sex-Bias Case to Kleiner Perkins

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — A preeminent venture capital firm was mostly victorious in Silicon Valley’s biggest sex discrimination suit.

A jury has ruled in favor of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in the case. At the center of the lawsuit and court case is Ellen Pao, 45, the interim CEO of Reddit and former partner at Kleiner Perkins. She filed her complaint in May 2012 against the prominent venture capital firm, which is based in Menlo Park, California, near the headquarters of Facebook, one of the many tech firms in which it has invested.

The jury decided in favor of Kleiner on three questions: the firm didn’t fail to promote Pao because she’s a woman, that it did take reasonable steps to help her and that it did try to prevent discrimination, if any. The judge ruled that the jury should continue deliberations on the fourth question, because only eight out of 12 decided the company didn’t retaliate against her for complaining. The decision must be reached by nine jurors.

Pao’s attorney Therese Lawless had urged the jury to make a decision that would send a message to the venture capital industry.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Gains on Wall Street Despite Slowed Economic Growth in Fourth Quarter

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — After a run of losses this week, Wall Street finished Friday’s session on a somewhat positive note. All three major indices closed the day with gains, despite a Commerce Department announcement of slower economic growth in the fourth quarter.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 33.90 to end the day at 17712.13.

The Nasdaq climbed 27.86 to 4891.22, while the S&P 500 closed the session at 2060.94, up 4.79 from its open.

The U.S. Commerce Department announced Friday that the U.S. gross domestic product climbed by just 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter. In the previous quarter, the GDP had risen by five percent.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Alabama Police Officer Indicted Amid Accusations of Using Unreasonable Force

iStock/Thinkstock(MADISON, Ala.) — A federal grand jury indicted a Madison, Alabama police officer on Thursday night for use of unreasonable force against a man he was trying to question earlier this year.

Eric Sloan Parker, 26, was acting in his capacity as a police officer on Feb. 6 when he allegedly injured a man by slamming him into the ground. The man was not identified in the indictment.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Parker’s actions “deprived the man in Madison of his right under the U.S. Constitution to be secure from unreasonable seizures, which includes the right to be free from unreasonable force by someone acting under the color of law.”

In February, ABC News reported that Parker was accused of badly injuring an Indian man, Sureshbhai Patel, who was visiting family. A man had reported Patel as a supicious person, according to a 911 call released by police.

Parker is seen in dashcam video throwing Patel, 57, to the ground.

The Madison Police Department’s Chief Larry Muncey said that he had recommended Parker be fired.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Apple CEO Tim Cook ‘Deeply Disappointed’ in Indiana ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

Apple(NEW YORK) — Apple CEO Tim Cook expressed disdain for a new Indiana law that could allow business owners to discriminate against gay people.

The law, signed by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Thursday, is called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Pence claims that it “does not even apply to disputes between private parties unless government action is involved,” though critics have argued otherwise.

Cook posted to his Twitter account on Friday to express disappointment in the Indiana law, and also to call for Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto a similar bill.

Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana’s new law and calling on Arkansas Gov. to veto the similar #HB1228.

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 27, 2015

“Around the world, we strive to treat every customer the same,” Cook wrote, “regardless of where they come from, how they worship or who they love.”

Around the world, we strive to treat every customer the same — regardless of where they come from, how they worship or who they love.

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 27, 2015

On Thursday, National Collegiate Athletic Administration President Mark Emmert expressed concerns about the law ahead of the NCAA’s men’s basketball Final Four in Indianapolis next week.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

European Aviation Regulator, Lufthansa Look into Two-Person Rule for Cockpits

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In the wake of the Germanwings plane crash earlier this week, both the European Aviation Safety Agency and Lufthansa are looking into mandating two people be in a plane’s cockpit at all times.

The Germanwings plane crashed Tuesday in the Alps in southern France with 150 people on board, including two babies, the airline said. French President Francois Hollande said there were “apparently no survivors.”

Brice Robin, public prosecutor of Marseille, France, said in a news conference Thursday that Lubitz appeared to want to “destroy the plane,” purposefully locking the captain out of the Airbus A320’s cockpit and accelerating the descent manually.

The EASA said in a press release Friday that it would make a temporary recommendation for airlines to ensure that two crew members — including at least one qualified pilot — are in the cockpit at all times.

In the Germanwings crash, one pilot had reportedly left the cockpit to use the restroom, and Lubitz was left alone.

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said that “while we are still mourning the victims, all our efforts focus on improving the safety and security of passengers and crews.”

While the EASA makes that recommendation, individual states will still have to require their airlines to follow the two-person protocol.

German airliner group Lufthansa released a statement on Friday saying that its group member airlines would adopt the “rule of two.” The move is termed a “precautionary measure.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Federal Bureau Outlines Protections from Abusive Payday Loan Practices

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a draft of its upcoming payday loan rule on Thursday, the first step in protecting consumers from abusive payday loan practices.

Last year, the CFPB released an analysis of payday loan usage rates and determined that more than 80 percent of payday loans are followed by another loan within two weeks. Additionally, half of all loans are part of a series of ten loans or more, the analysis said.

The CFPB draft sets separate requirements to prevent debt traps on short- and long-term loans. Among the proposals to prevent abusive practices on short-term loans are requirements that lenders determine at the outset that the consumer will be able to pay the loan when due, a 60-day cooling off period between loans, the prevention of overlapping loans. Another proposal would require documentation of improved financial circumstances to take out a second or third loan within two months.

Additional requirements would limits amount of length of loans, as well as the number of allowable rollovers.

The Consumer Federation of America noted three of the most important aspects of any proposal in a Wednesday press release — a strong standard for a consumer’s ability to repay the loan, protecting borrowers bank accounts from abusive collections and making mandatory the ability to repay standard.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

GDP Rises 2.2% in Fourth Quarter

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. economy grew at a slower pace in the fourth quarter, according to the latest report from the Commerce Department.

The gross domestic product rose at annual rate of 2.2 percent, compared with 5 percent in the third quarter.

Looking ahead, economists expect to see a similar or weaker showing in the first quarter because of severe weather.

“We’re all aware of the severe winter weather that we went through. It was unusually severe this year compared to prior years. So we will see a little bit of an effect on consumer spending and business spending from that angle,” says Wells Fargo economist Michael Brown.

But Brown predicts stronger growth for the rest of the year.

“A lot of the effects in the first quarter that were negative, were weather-related. The good news is we should make up a lot of that demand in the second quarter. So we’re looking for much more robust economic growth, somewhere around 3-percent or more, throughout the rest of this year,” he says.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

GDP Rises 2.2% in Fourth Quarter

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. economy grew at a slower pace in the fourth quarter, according to the latest report from the Commerce Department.

The gross domestic product rose at annual rate of 2.2 percent, compared with 5 percent in the third quarter.

Looking ahead, economists expect to see a similar or weaker showing in the first quarter because of severe weather.

“We’re all aware of the severe winter weather that we went through. It was unusually severe this year compared to prior years. So we will see a little bit of an effect on consumer spending and business spending from that angle,” says Wells Fargo economist Michael Brown.

But Brown predicts stronger growth for the rest of the year.

“A lot of the effects in the first quarter that were negative, were weather-related. The good news is we should make up a lot of that demand in the second quarter. So we’re looking for much more robust economic growth, somewhere around 3-percent or more, throughout the rest of this year,” he says.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →