Review Category : Top Stories

Hero of Canada’s Parliament Shooting Greeted with Standing Ovation

Alex Boutilier/Toronto Star via Getty Images(OTTAWA, Ontario) — The hero sergeant-at-arms who killed the shooter in Wednesday’s attack on the Canadian Parliament was welcomed back into the building Thursday morning with a prolonged standing ovation.

Kevin Vickers, 58, nodded to acknowledge the spontaneous applause that washed over him by the officials in the chamber, which included Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Vickers, a retired Royal Canadian Mountie, holds the ceremonial post of sergeant-at-arms but he confronted and killed gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the suspect in the shooting death of a soldier at the National War Memorial, before invading the main Parliament building.

Parliament was back to work Thursday morning, and the crowd ushered Vickers into the room with applause which went on for several minutes. At one point, a few tears appeared to roll down his cheek. The group then sang the national anthem, and held a moment of silence before the prime minister spoke.

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Richard Sherman: ‘The Team’s Still Confident’

Steve Dykes/Getty Images(SEATTLE) — Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman still believes his team has what it takes to get back to serious football in January.

Despite dropping back-to-back games against the Cowboys and Rams, Sherman said the team’s spirit is high headed into their game against the Carolina Panthers (3-3-1) on Sunday.

“The team’s still confident in what we can do,” Sherman said on Wednesday. “I think our team is fine and understands what we need to do to turn it around.”

Sherman continued that he understands it’s a long season, but “the intensity’s fine.” He added, “In games like we’ve had these last couple weeks, it’s just a few plays here and there. I think all games are won or lost off a few plays, I think anyone who knows football would tell you the same.”

Seattle’s defense ranks 19th giving up 23.5 points per game. They will have the task of stopping quarterback Cam Newton, who has his team in first place in the NFC South.

“They’re a lot of challenges to playing Cam,” Sherman said. “Obviously he’s a threat running the football, he’s a big body, he’s tough to sack. It’s going to be a challenge for our defensive line and our linebackers.”

Seattle finished 13-3 on their quest to the Super Bowl title last season.

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Jobless Claims Climb to 283K

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims were higher last week, increasing by 17,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending Oct. 18, the number of people filing for benefits jumped to 283,000. The previous week claims stood at 266,000, revised up from 264,000.

The Labor Department said there were no “special factors” impacting that week’s figures.

The four-week moving average decreased, however, falling by 3,000 to 281,000.

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Ebola Fears Prompt North Korea to Ban Tourists

iStock/Thinkstock(SEOUL, South Korea) — North Korea is closing its borders to all foreign tourists due to fears of the Ebola virus, according to tour agencies who were informed Thursday by their representatives in Pyongyang.

“Obviously I’m not happy with it. We still have four tours left for the year including one group going in next week,” said Gareth Johnson, founder and managing director of Young Pioneers Tours based in Xian, China. “We’re just hoping that this is a storm in a tea cup.”

The ban is temporary and the official did not specify when it would be lifted, he said.

Koryo Tours, based in Beijing, wrote on its Facebook page: “We have just been informed by our partners in North Korea that tomorrow North Korea will stop accepting international tourists due to the threat of the Ebola virus, effectively closing its borders.”

The last time North Korea banned tourists was in 2003 because of the SARS virus outbreak in Asia. It took up to four months before normal operations resumed.

“Personally, I think they are afraid of rumors of Ebola in Guangzhou,” said Johnson, referring to the southern Chinese city with a large population of African expats especially from Nigeria and West African countries. “Hopefully, they (North Korean authorities) realize that it was a false alarm.”

Approximately 6,000 Western tourists visit North Korea every year.

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Manhunt for Murder Suspect Mistakenly Released

DPSCS(BALTIMORE) — A manhunt is underway for a murder suspect who was mistakenly released from a Baltimore detention center and even the suspect’s mother wants him back in prison.

Rodriquez Purnell, 30, remains on the loose after he was accidentally allowed to walk free from Maryland Reception, Diagnostic and Classification Center on Friday.

Purnell has been in and out of jail for drugs and robbery over the years, but he was recently incarcerated on a first-degree murder charge, accused of fatally shooting T.J. Rheubottom, 27, last year.

Purnell was in custody waiting to be retried for Rheubottom’s murder after his first trial ended in a hung jury, but after corrections officers confused his current case with old charges, they let him go. Authorities didn’t realize the mistake until two days later when the victim’s family said they called the jail after Purnell was spotted hanging out in the neighborhood.

He has not been seen since.

The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Corrections said in a statement Wednesday that it placed an employee on paid administrative leave for mistakenly releasing Purnell.

“Preliminary results indicate a lapse in release procedures that would otherwise have identified the pending charges at the time of release,” the release said.

The situation remains under investigation, with officials trying to find out whether any procedures need to be changed.

Rheubottom’s mother, Jackie Davis, is stunned by Purnell’s accidental release and worries for the safety of her family and witnesses in the murder case.

“I believe that he is very dangerous and he needs to be off the streets today,” Davis told ABC News. “This should have never happened.”

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Blaming ‘Hydra’ Leak, Marvel Releases “Age of Ultron” Teaser

Buena Vista(NEW YORK) — That high-pitched sound you may have heard Wednesday afternoon was the collective squeal of millions of geeks after a teaser to Avengers: Age of Ultron leaked online. Marvel quickly — and cheekily — responded to the leaked footage with a two-word tweet, “Dammit, Hydra,” and by releasing the full-resolution version of the trailer.

Age of Ultron
sees Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark enacting a peacekeeping program utilizing drone versions of his Iron Man suits, which serve to give Earth’s Mightiest Heroes some R&R — that is until the artificial intelligence behind the suits becomes self-aware as Ultron.

Voiced by James Spader, Ultron is a virtually indestructible mechanical menace who seeks to pacify the planet by exterminating its troubling inhabitants: all of mankind.

The teaser, some of which was shown to limited audiences at Comic Cons in San Diego over the summer and recently in New York City, is punctuated with Ultron’s promise to show the heroes, “something beautiful…everyone screaming for mercy,” while admonishing them for “wanting to protect the world,” but not being willing to go far enough.

“You’re all puppets tangled in strings,” Ultron says, warning, “There are no strings on me.”

Driving home the point are scenes of Chris Evans’ Captain America, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, and Mark Ruffalo’s Dr. Bruce Banner seemingly mourning worldwide destruction — set to the downright creepiest version of Pinocchio’s “I’ve Got No Strings” ever recorded.

“It’s the end,” a defeated Stark says of his out-of-control creation. “The end of the path I started us on.”

“Nothing lasts forever,” Widow responds.

The set-piece of the snippet, however, was the buzzed about face-off between The Incredible Hulk and Stark’s super-sized “Hulkbuster” Iron Man armor. Exactly what pits “science bros” Stark and Banner against each other remains to be seen.

As the two minute teaser ends, Ultron hisses, “Now I’m free. There are no strings on me,” as we see Captain America’s nearly indestructible vibranium shield shattered.

Avengers: Age of Ultron also stars Don Cheadle, Paul Bettany, Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders. The film from Marvel Studios, which like ABC News is owned by Disney, hits theaters in the U.S. on May 1, 2015.

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The Very Very High Price of Traffic in the US

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — You think traffic has gotten worse than it used to be? You’re absolutely right, according to a survey by the traffic data company INRIX.

But it’s not just time Americans are wasting sitting stuck on the roads, it’s money — a lot of money.

INRIX estimates that the annual and cumulative costs of congestion in the U.S. were a whopping $124 billion in 2013. That’s $1,700 per household in wasted time, gas and the higher price of goods because delivery trucks can’t arrive at their destinations when they’re supposed to.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles alone accounts for 20 percent of lost revenue because of gridlock.

INRIX also predicts things aren’t going to get better: the losses for 2030 due to traffic are projected at $186 billion.

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The Most Pressing Questions About the Ottawa Shooting

Lars Hagberg/AFP/Getty Images(OTTOWA, Ontario) — Authorities in Canada are trying to understand what motivated a gunman to kill a soldier in the country’s capital Wednesday, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper calling the shooting the country’s second “terrorist” attack this week.

“Let there be no misunderstanding. We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated,” Harper said Wednesday in a televised address after a gunman fatally shot a soldier standing guard at Ottawa’s war memorial. The victim was identified as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24.

Following the shooting — which was reported at 9:52 a.m. Wednesday — the suspect charged Parliament but was shot to death by ceremonial sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers, 58, authorities said.

The gunman was identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a 32-year-old Canadian national who had recently converted to Islam, ABC News has learned.

At this point, authorities are still gathering details about the gunman, Harper said.

“In the days to come, we will learn about the terrorist and any accomplices he may have had,” Harper said.

Canada had already raised its national terrorism alert level following an incident Monday in which a Canadian soldier was killed in a hit-and-run by a man suspected to have been a radicalized jihadist.

Ottawa police first learned of Wednesday’s attacks after receiving multiple 911 calls at 9:52 a.m. about a shooting at the National War Memorial. Gunfire was later reported inside the parliament building, less than 400 yards away. The parliament building was put into lockdown as government officials hid in their offices while police searched the sprawling building.

Meanwhile, President Obama condemned the shootings as “outrageous,” and called for vigilance.

The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa was put under lockdown Wednesday, and officials stepped up security at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Harper promised Canadians that by working with the country’s allies to fight terrorism and redoubling their efforts, Canada will remain safe.

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Former Blackwater Security Guards Guilty in Shooting Deaths of Iraqis

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Four former guards of a U.S. security company hired to protect diplomats were found guilty Wednesday in the September 2007 shooting deaths of 14 Iraqi civilians and the wounding of 17 others.

The men, who were on trial for a second time after their case was dismissed in 2009, claimed their convoy came under attack in Baghdad and were returning fire.

However, federal prosecutors successfully argued that the former Blackwater guards were the aggressors in the incident and showed “grave indifference” to bystanders who were killed or injured by their actions.

A jury convicted Nicholas Slatten of first-degree murder, punishable by a maximum of life in prison. Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were found guilty of lesser charges, including multiple counts of voluntary manslaughter.

Following the verdicts, all the defendants were ordered jailed while their lawyers said they would appeal.

Meanwhile, even after deliberating for a month, the jury still has to decide on the remaining counts in the case.

Blackwater has since been renamed Academia and bills itself as a private military company.

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Huge Academic Scandal at UNC Involved Athletes

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) — The University of North Carolina admitted Wednesday that about 3,100 students took so-called “paper classes” with no faculty oversight and no actual class attendance from 1993 through 2011.

The school estimates that half of the students were athletes, mostly from the UNC’s basketball and football teams.

Wednesday’s report goes much further than when the scandal first came to light in 2011, which initially stated that it was only about academics.

This revelation, however, drags the UNC’s vaunted athletic program into the morass.

According to the investigation conducted by the college, two employees in the African and Afro-American Studies department organized fake classes that doled out As and Bs to students who never showed up, presumably to maintain eligibility for sports.

The employees were Julius Nyang’oro, the department’s chairman, and Deborah Crowder, the department’s administrator. It was up to Crowder, the report alleged, to give out grades on single papers turned in by students, hence the term “paper classes.”

The investigation does not directly implicate any high level administrators at the school. However, it does suggest they missed obvious signs of improprieties and “failed to conduct any meaningful oversight.”

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