Review Category : Top Stories

Reeva Steenkamp’s Heartbreaking Valentine to Pistorius Revealed

Theana Breugem/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) — A heartbreaking Valentine’s Day card that Reeva Steenkamp wrote to Oscar Pistorius on the day she died was read in court Tuesday.

“Roses are red, violets are blue, I think today is a good day to tell you that I love you,” the message reads.

Pistorius’ defense advocate asked him to read the card aloud after the state concluded its cross examination of the athlete.

As prosecutor Gerrie Nel wrapped up the state’s five-day cross examination, he alleged that Pistorius intended to kill Steenkamp in the 2013 tragedy.

“She was locked into the bathroom, and you armed yourself with the sole purpose of shooting and killing her … and that’s what you did,” Nel said. “Afterwards, indeed, you were overcome by what you’d done, that is true. Only because you intentioned to kill her. You realized that.”

Pistorius is charged with murder in Steenkamp’s death. If convicted, he could face 25 years to life in prison. Pistorius says he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.

During Tuesday’s proceedings, the prosecution asked for a break in the trial, a request the defense supports. Judge Thokozile Masipa will consider the option and announce a decision on Wednesday.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Nearly One-in-Five Say Personal Data Online Was Stolen

scyther5/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Americans are clearly concerned that their online privacy can be easily compromised.

According to a Pew Research Center report, 18 percent of 1,000 adults polled in late January said they’ve had personal information swiped off the Internet that included their Social Security numbers, credit card data or information about their bank accounts.

The problem appears to have gotten worse in a relatively short time because when Pew asked the same question last July, just 11 percent reported a breach of personal information.

Meanwhile, 21 percent reported that online data pertaining to their email or social media accounts has been attacked, about the same as it was six months earlier.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Obama and Putin Clash as Ukraine Situation Heats Up

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — As pro-Russian separatists continue to hold buildings throughout eastern Ukraine, President Obama spoke by phone Monday to Russian President Vladimir Putin in an effort to stop the situation from spinning out of control.

According to a statement issued by the White House, the president “expressed grave concern about Russian government support for the actions of armed, pro-Russian separatists who threaten to undermine and destabilize the government of Ukraine.”

The president emphasized that a diplomatic solution, while still possible, is being made difficult by Russian troops near Ukraine’s border, the instigation of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine and the Kremlin’s belligerent rhetoric.

Meanwhile, Moscow dismissed Obama’s concerns, claiming that speculation about Russian involvement in the affairs of southeastern Ukraine was “based on inaccurate information.”

Instead, Putin blamed the current unrest in Ukraine on the “unwillingness and inability” of the interim government “to take into account the interests of the Russian and Russian-speaking population.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Get Your Google Glass, One Day Only

Google(NEW YORK) — Google plans to make its wearable Internet device, the Google Glass, available to any adult in the U.S. on Tuesday but for one day only.

According to a release from Google, the device will be sold online for $1,500, which includes a pair of frames.

In a release, Google said that a limited number of these pricey gadgets will be available but didn’t specify numbers.

Until now, Google Glass had only been made available to select individuals, mostly developers and people who were randomly selected after applying through one of a number of methods.

Google Glass is also accompanied by some controversy. There has been an outcry among some non-users who object to the possibility of being videotaped without their permission.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Hancock County Commissioner Candidates Sit Down For Forum

4/15/14 – 5:10 A.M.

The Republican candidates for Hancock County Commissioners squared off in a forum Monday. The incumbent Phil Riegle and the challenger Steve Oman talked about economic development, the health department, and of course – flood mitigation.

Riegle said as frustrating as staying the course with the Army Corps of Engineers is, it’s the only option we have if we want to reduce flooding in Hancock County…

Audio: Phil Riegle

Oman said he believed the county wasn’t seeing any return on its investments for what was spent on Army Corps studies…

Audio: Steve Oman

On the topic of merging the county and city health departments, challenger Steve Oman said he’s in favor of it as long as it’s the right deal for the county…

Audio: Steve Oman

The incumbent Phil Riegle said he’s been on the committee that’s been working on the current round of discussions, and that they are closer than ever to getting a merger done…

Audio: Phil Riegle

You can listen to the full forum by clicking here.

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Why Google Just Bought a Drone Company

Hemera/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) — Google acquired Titan Aerospace, a drone company, Monday, just one month after it was reportedly being eyed by Facebook.

“It’s still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation,” a Google spokesperson told ABC News in a statement confirming the deal.

“When manufactured, it would have 3,000 solar panels producing about 7 kW of electricity and would be above the clouds, so it would be exposed to sunlight constantly during daylight hours,” the company said in a news release. “One is scheduled for completion next year.”

The tech world has long been buzzing about drones and how they can put them to use.

Last month, Mark Zuckerberg announced that a team at Facebook was working with a group from U.K.-based drone company Ascenta to work on developing drones that could help improve and expand internet access around the world.

In 2013, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos also announced his vision for a drone delivery service.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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How a Man Scored $7 Flights for a Bachelor Party in Vegas, and Other Travel Hacks

ABC News(NEW YORK) — How would you like to take a vacation to Hawaii for just $5? Or how about flying first class to Paris for a romantic weekend for almost nothing?

It may sound too good to be true, but it’s possible if you know how to “travel hack.”

Bryce Conway, a banker from Columbus, Ohio, is a self-proclaimed “travel hacker” and says he hasn’t paid for a flight for himself in three years.

“Travel hacking is a method of earning a lot of frequent flier miles through things like credit card signups and special promotions and using those miles to book really cheap trips,” Conway, 25, said. “It’s just a way to get around a normal system with a shortcut and travel for free.”

Travel hackers like Conway have turned earning frequent flier miles into an art form, and he has quickly learned how to reap the benefits. A newlywed, Conway said he recently flew all seven of his groomsmen to Las Vegas for a bachelor weekend for just $7 per flight, before taxes and fees. And before that, he said he and his new wife flew to Paris for a long weekend for a total of $10, before taxes and fees.

So ABC’s Nightline invited Conway to a travel-hacking challenge: 12 hours to fly himself to a destination of our choosing from New York City, have lunch and get back without spending a dime. Along the way, Conway revealed a few of his secrets to travel hacking.

Read some of Conway’s tips below and tune in to “Nightline” Monday night at 12:35 a.m. ET to watch ABC’s Rebecca Jarvis’ full interview with Conway and find out what happens.

1. Sign Up for Credit Cards With Special Promotions, Perks

Conway has a stack of 23 credit cards, all of which he opened during special promotions that touted free miles, points or flights upon signing up. He uses different cards for specific travel expenses, and a lot of it has to do with good timing.

“You see all these ads for credit cards that say, ‘Get two free flights, get 50,000 points,’” he told ABC’s Rebecca Jarvis. “I signed up for a travel credit card, got the points and I jumped on the website the day they arrived … we ended up booking a flight to Panama, and then spent the second half of the week in Las Vegas, and then flew home, it was all five bucks.”

These cards not only help customers save money on flights, but also time at the airport. By signing up for the Delta Gold SkyMiles card, Conway gets priority access, which means he can bypass those huge crowds waiting in line, and he gets free checked bags.

But travel experts say perks with these airline-sponsored cards might soon become a thing of the past. Delta, for instance, announced this year that it would be changing its entire program, making it harder for many to earn free flights and upgrades. Instead of earning miles by how far you fly, Delta plans to reward customers based on how much they spend.

2. But Don’t Overdo It on the Credit Card Sign-ups

Signing up for multiple credit cards can hurt your credit score if you’re not careful, so Conway cautioned that travel hackers should be strategic and always carefully monitor card balances. Conway said he uses Excel spreadsheets to keep track of all of his credit cards, points, frequent flier numbers and other information.

“I applied for a card, I got a free flight, if you do that a couple of times and you structure that correctly, that’s OK for your credit score,” Conway said. “If you go out tomorrow for 15 credit cards, not so much.”

Financial planners to whom Nightline spoke advise people to limit the amount of credit cards they open, and that every case is different.

Personal finance expert and author of When She Makes More, Farnoosh Torabi, cautioned, “Certainly, there are people out there trying to gain in the system and certainly, there are benefits to having multiple ‘reward’ credit cards, and while there are short-term benefits sometimes to opening up all these ‘reward’ cards, you have to think long-term. Is it smart for me to have all these credit cards at my fingertips? Depending on your personality, depending your tendency, this could be a disaster.”

3. Don’t Be Loyal to One Airline

“I am completely not loyal to an airline,” Conway said. “I’m loyal to the price or to wherever I can get the points, so I don’t have elite status that a lot of folks will have because they always fly Delta for work. But that’s the trade-off you get for $5, $10 flights.”

For example, Conway said Chase Bank’s reward program allows customers to transfer points to multiple airlines, which can often lead to better deals, rather than being locked into using one particular airline with an individual airline card, like the Delta SkyMiles card.

4. Look for Special Promotions on Cars, Not Just Flights

During the Nightline interview, Uber, a car service app that lets users request a private driver for hire or rideshare, was having a special where users who referred a friend got a $20 credit to their account.

Conway said he scored a $20 credit on his Uber account every time a friend or family member signed up using his referral code. After five people signed up, Conway told Nightline he had enough credit for a free trip in a private car from a New York City hotel in midtown to LaGuardia Airport, a savings of around $70.

Conway also uses autoslash.com for rental cars. It’s a website that tracks rental car price changes and searches for the best coupons and discounts on rentals nationwide.

“When you go to autoslash.com, you just put in your name and confirmation number and they will be constantly searching for a better rate on that exact same car,” he said.

5. Check to See Whether the Card Includes a Dining Club Membership

Conway said he is “always thinking about the points” and some credit cards have promotions that include dining clubs, which can earn customers points for dining at certain restaurants.

“First of all, anything with the credit card you’re going to earn points, but then they have dining clubs and [you can] register your card [online] to earn more,” he said.

6. Always Do Your Research

Aside from researching promotions that come with signing up for new credit cards, Conway also scours travel hacker blogs and travel websites, such as rewardsnetwork.com, for alerts to specials he can cash in on.

“Last year alone I earned over 1 million frequent flier miles sitting on my couch, just through online credit card signups and promotions,” he said. “Anyone can do this, as long as you have a decent credit score and can manage that and stay on top of it. Anyone can do it.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Tension Heats Up Between the US and Russia over Ukraine

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Pentagon officials have called out Russia for flying a fighter jet over the weekend too close to a U.S. warship in the Black Sea.

The jet was 500 feet above sea level and 3,000 feet away from the U.S.S. Donald Cook, close enough that the ship sent warnings that were ignored for more than 90 minutes.

Officials say the jet was unarmed and the ship was never in danger, but have called the Russian’s actions irresponsible.

Watch the report from ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer:


ABC US News | ABC Business News

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Tension Heats Up Between the US and Russia over Ukraine

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Pentagon officials have called out Russia for flying a fighter jet over the weekend too close to a U.S. warship in the Black Sea.

The jet was 500 feet above sea level and 3,000 feet away from the U.S.S. Donald Cook, close enough that the ship sent warnings that were ignored for more than 90 minutes.

Officials say the jet was unarmed and the ship was never in danger, but have called the Russian’s actions irresponsible.

Watch the report from ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer:


ABC US News | ABC Business News

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Volvo’s Ingenious Inflatable Infant Car Seat

Volvo Cars/YouTube(NEW YORK) — Swedish car company Volvo says it is working on an inflatable child car seat that weighs less than 11 pounds and can fit neatly in a backpack.

It’s still in the conceptual stage, but the car seat would inflate in 40 seconds with an internal pump. The secret is a strong fabric that was developed as part of the military’s aborted attempts to make inflatable airplanes, the company says.

Volvo has not announced plans yet to bring the car seat to market.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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