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Reeva Steenkamp’s Parents Won’t Testify Against Oscar Pistorius

Reeva Steenkamp’s Parents Won’t Testify Against Oscar Pistorius

Jemal Countess/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- The parents of Reeva Steenkamp said Wednesday they will remain "neutral" and not testify against Oscar Pistorius in the penalty phase of Pistorius' trial for the culpable homicide of their daughter.The statement came a day after revelations in court that Pistorius had been making monthly payments to Barry and June Steenkamp since shortly after the Valentine's Day 2013 shooting of their daughter.Her parents were struggling financially at the time, and Pistorius, through his lawyers, offered to give the family monthly payments of about $530 for rent and living expenses, payments that continued from March 2013 until September 2014, according to the statement.In the statement released Wednesday, the Steenkamps' lawyers stated, "We have advised the parents to remain neutral in regard to sentence in the sense that they should not be seen to attempt to influence the sentence in any way."After the payments were revealed Tuesday, the lawyers for Steenkamp's parents said they were dropping their civil suit claims against Pistorius and would repay the roughly $10,000 he had given them.The statement Wednesday elaborated on the parents' plans.“It was always the intention of the parents that the amounts…would be set-off against any civil claim that they were going to institute,” the statement read. “However, once they had decided not to proceed with the civil claim, which decision was only taken during the past few weeks, it follows that the money will be repaid.”Pistorius' chief defense lawyer, Barry Roux, later read the statement in court.Pistorius, 27, was found guilty last month of culpable homicide, the rough equivalent of manslaughter, in the 2013 shooting. The champion sprinter known as the Blade Runner could be sentenced to as much as 15 years in prison. He could also avoid prison and receive a fine and suspended sentence. House arrest is also an option, and that has been suggested by a social worker and a probation officer called by Pistorius' defense.The prosecution began presenting its case Wednesday. Closing arguments will follow before Judge Thokozile Masipa renders a sentence.

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Gonzalo Strengthens to Major Hurricane, Takes Aim at Bermuda

Gonzalo Strengthens to Major Hurricane, Takes Aim at Bermuda

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Gonzalo is a major hurricane Wednesday morning with winds of 125 mph, and it's strengthening on an expected path to hit Bermuda Friday.If Gonzalo becomes a Category 4 hurricane, with winds of 140 mph, it would be the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean since Oct. 2, 2011, when Hurricane Ophelia's winds reached 140 mph.The current forecast would take Gonzalo over Bermuda Friday midday as possibly a major hurricane with winds around 115 mph. A hurricane watch has been posted for Bermuda.On Monday, Gonzalo passed over the islands of the Lesser Antilles, with Antigua Island recording sustained winds of sustained winds of 67 mph, gusting to 88 mph; Barbuda recording sustained winds of 60 mph, gusting to 70 mph; and St. Martin recording sustained winds of 63 mph, gusting to 75 mph Monday evening. A personal weather station on St. Barthelemy recorded sustained winds of 82 mph, gusting to 108 mph.The storm intensified most of the day Tuesday and stayed over open water.Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Ana was headed toward Hawaii with sustained winds of 70 mph. It was forecast to become a hurricane later this morning and head for the Hawaiian Islands just in time for the weekend.If Ana makes landfall on the big island of Hawaii as a hurricane, it would be the first time a hurricane ever made landfall in Hawaii.In August, Iselle made landfall on the big island as a tropical storm, and if Ana were to do the same, it would be the first time in recorded history that two tropical storms made landfall in Hawaii in a single season.

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New Charges Brought Against Chief Benghazi Suspect

New Charges Brought Against Chief Benghazi Suspect

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The top suspect in the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, two years ago is now facing 17 additional charges, many of which carry the death penalty.U.S. investigators believe that Ahmed Abu Khattala organized the siege on Sept. 11, 2012 that led to the murders of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans at the compound.Although he has already pleaded not guilty to providing material support and resources to terrorists, the new charges brought by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. are more serious in that they allege Khattala is responsible for the intentional murders of U.S. personnel on a federal facility.The indictment also claims Khattala launched the deadly assault after learning that the U.S. operated intelligence facilities in Benghazi.Since the siege, Khattala had openly bragged about his involvement, but it wasn't until last June that he was taken into custody by Special Forces in Libya.

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State Department Offering $45 Million in Rewards for Information on Terrorist Leaders

State Department Offering $45 Million in Rewards for Information on Terrorist LeadersHisham Ibrahim/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. State Department announced rewards totaling up to $45 million for information leading to the capture of eight key leaders of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a known terr...

Saudi Suspect in Slaying of American Had Been Fired for ‘Drug-Related Issues’

Saudi Suspect in Slaying of American Had Been Fired for ‘Drug-Related Issues’

iStock/Thinkstock(RIYADH, Saudi Arabia) -- The dual Saudi-American citizen who allegedly shot two Americans in Saudi Arabia Tuesday, one of them fatally, was recently dismissed from his job because of “drug-related issues” at the same U.S. defense contractor that employed the shooting victims, according to the Saudi Embassy in Washington.“The assailant, Abdulaziz Fahad Abdulaziz Alrashid, was apprehended following a shootout with Saudi security forces during which he was wounded,” according to an embassy statement. “Alrashid worked at the same company as the victims, and was recently dismissed from his job due to drug related issues.“The U.S. contractor, Vinnell Arabia, supports Saudi National Guard military programs. The company has not responded to ABC News’ requests for comment.Vinnell Arabia is “the market leader in U.S. military doctrine-based training, logistics, and support services inside Saudi Arabia," according to its LinkedIn page. "We provide unparalleled training and simulation services for defense, national security as well as fire and emergency medical response.”The shooting suspect, 24, who was born in Washington state, had traveled to Bahrain, France, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and, most recently, again to Bahrain earlier this month, the embassy said.Meanwhile, officials have issued a “security message” to U.S. citizens in Saudi Arabia, according to the U.S. State Department.The two men were shot at a gas station-store less than a mile from the Vinnell Arabia base in Riyadh, which is located about 20 miles from the U.S. Embassy, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.“We are in the process of evaluating our security posture and will take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of all U.S. Mission personnel,” she said. “Our Embassy is issuing a security message to U.S. citizens to advise them on the situation and any safety precautions they should take.”The gunman opened fire on a car stopped at a gas station near the King Fahd stadium, in the east of the Saudi capital, police say.Neither American has been named and there is no known motive at this time.Psaki described the surviving man as “lightly injured,” adding that police have a suspect in custody. “We are in close contact with the Saudi government as we continue to gather details about the shooting and motive,” she said.Another colleague who was with the two men was uninjured, according to the Saudi Embassy.As for the U.S. State Department “security message,” spokeswoman Psaki said it is used to “communicate information about personal security threats of a general or systemic nature, such as crime trends, demonstrations, peaceful actions intended to disrupt normal activity, or localized events not likely to affect large numbers of U.S. citizens.”“Such messages are regularly issued by embassies and consulates abroad to provide timely and important safety and security information to U.S. citizens living or traveling in their districts,” she added.The last major terrorist attack against foreigners was in 2007 when gunmen killed three French nationals while on a camping trip in Madain Saleh, in the northwest of the country. But as the U.S. State Department noted in the most recent travel warning, “security threats are ongoing and terrorist groups, some affiliated with al-Qaida may target both Saudi and Western interests. Possible targets include housing compounds, hotels, shopping areas and other facilities where Westerners congregate, as well as Saudi government facilities and economic/commercial targets within the Kingdom.”

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US Ramps Up Airstrikes on ISIS in Kobani

US Ramps Up Airstrikes on ISIS in Kobani

Stocktrek Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. warplanes have ramped up the number of airstrikes against ISIS fighters in the besieged Syrian city of Kobani, launching 21 airstrikes since Monday, officials said Tuesday.It is the highest number of strikes since the start of the air campaign in Syria and is an indicator of how important the U.S. now sees the battle for Kobani.“Indications are that airstrikes have slowed [ISIS] advances,” said a statement from U.S. Central Command. “However, the security situation on the ground there remains fluid, with ISIL attempting to gain territory and Kurdish militia continuing to hold out.”ISIL is an alternative name for the Islamic extremist group.ISIS fighters have succeeded in taking over a third of the strategic city that lies on the border with Turkey. Centcom’s statement said the U.S. “airstrikes are designed to interdict ISIL reinforcements and resupply and prevent ISIL from massing combat power on the Kurdish held portions of Kobani.”Centcom says the escalated number of airstrikes on Monday and Tuesday by U.S. and Saudi aircraft destroyed multiple ISIS staging locations, compounds, mortar positions, occupied buildings and vehicles near Kobani.An estimated 200,000 residents from the surrounding area were able to flee into Turkey before Turkish authorities closed the border crossing at Kobani.Over the past week, U.S. and coalition warplanes conducted 50 airstrikes in one week around Kobani to push back the ISIS advance.The U.S. airstrike campaign in Syria has been criticized by rebel groups who say they have not stopped the ISIS advance on Kobani and have emboldened the Assad regime to launch attacks on them.Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said on Tuesday that the increased strikes in Kobani have certainly had a degrading effect on ISIS forces in that city.He also urged patience in judging the overall effectiveness of the airstrike campaign inside Iraq and Syria, saying “to judge the success or failure after only several weeks of what will be months and possibly years it’s simply too premature.”Ultimately, Warren said the future of the operation in Kobani should be seen as part of a broader fight where there will be battlefield successes and setbacks.“They’ve lost Mosul Dam, they’ve lost Amerli, they’ve lost Sinjar while simultaneously they’ve gained ground in Anbar (Province),” said Warren. “We’ve been very clear about this this is the nature of warfare, this is the nature of battle. There’ll be ebbs and flows across the battlefield for months.”Warren said Iraqi security forces are facing a “tough fight” against ISIS forces in Anbar Province who he said have “relative freedom of movement.”The spokesman said the airstrike operations in Iraq and Syria have so far cost $424 million since they began on Aug. 8 inside Iraq.

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Letter Details When ISIS Hostage Kassig Found His Calling

Letter Details When ISIS Hostage Kassig Found His Calling

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two years before American Abdul Rahman Kassig appeared as a hostage in an ISIS video, the then-student penned an email to his family and college teachers, explaining in powerful prose that he wouldn’t be coming back from the aid work he was doing in Lebanon over a spring break.“I do not know much, every day that I am here I have more questions than answers,” Abdul Rahman Kassig, formerly Peter Kassig, wrote from Beirut. “But what I do know is that I have a chance to do something here, to take a stand. To make a difference…Here, in this land, I have found my calling.”The letter marked a turning point in Kassig’s life that led him to help strangers half a world away from his hometown, risking his life to do so.Margarat Brabant, a political science professor and Kassig’s advisor at Butler University, said it was obvious Kassig “had a need to, as he described it, do more in the world.”“I think he felt somewhat conflicted about how safe his life was here in the United States, in some ways sheltered from the pain and suffering of other human beings,” Brabant told ABC News Monday. “So when he had the opportunity to respond in a most immediate way… that is what he chose to do.”“He may have, in his life, come to the proverbial crossroads and he needed to make a choice. That’s the choice he declares in that letter, that was right for him,” she added.Below is the letter provided to ABC News by the Kassig family. The Kassigs removed some portions out of concern for Abdul Rahman Kassig’s safety.

Dear Friends, Family, and Teachers,Yesterday I had the best conversation that I have ever had with my mom. From 4,000 miles away in a shelled out parking lot in Beirut I told her about what I had been involved in over the last week.I wrote this email once before today already but the internet is finicky here and so I lost all of what I had typed up before I could send it.Yesterday I went to the camps outside of Beirut. In In Burj el-Burajneh 18,000 refugees are crammed into 1 sq. km of housing in the most deplorable of conditions. There, people die every day. There is a shortage of basic medical supplies, food, furniture... there is a shortage of everything except suffering.I don't want to waste your time by trying to explain what is in my heart and in my mind. Many of you have known me for many years, others have only known me a short while. Either way, I have tried to live my life in a way that displays what it is that I believe, but the truth is, much of my life I have only been searching for my calling, I had not yet found it.Here, in this land, I have found my calling. I have lived a selfish life, I have run until I could not run anymore.I do not know much, every day that I am here I have more questions and less answers, but what I do know is that I have a chance to do something here, to take a stand. To make a difference.Yesterday my life was laid out on a table in front of me. With only hours left before my scheduled flight back to the United States, I watched people dying right in front of me. I had seen it before and I had walked away before.I don't expect everyone to understand this and I think I did a much better job in my first draft but you'll just have to take my word for it I guess.I am staying in the region indefinitely. I am formally requesting that I be withdrawn from my courses for the remainder of the semester.I have had the conversation with my parents and it was the easiest one we ever had. They knew simply from the sound of my voice. I have never been freer, more alive, happier, or better received than in this place.There is too much work to be done here. Too many people in need of immediate help.I know what it is that I lose by staying, but those who can understand what is to be gained by staying require no further explanation, and those that don't...no amount of explanation would ever be enough.This decision isn't one that everyone would make, most people wouldn't I guess, but those of you that really know me understand that this is what I was made to do. My whole life has led me to this point in time...I am enrolling in Arabic courses taught where I am staying, and launching immediately into what can be done to support life, hope, peace, and freedom.It’s strange, for the first time in a long there isn't that old familiar fear in my chest that I have come to know so well. For most, this world is madness, but for me, the madness resides in the world I'm leaving behind...Well, I guess that's it then. This isn't goodbye but its definitely a change. You can always reach me via email or cell. I promise to stay as safe as I am capable of staying. Anytime I'm in beirut you can know I'm fine its super tame here...I'm just not going to turn my back this time, it's as simple as that.With Love and Respect,Peter

Weeks after he sent the letter, Kassig founded his own non-profit called Special Emergency Response and Assistance (SERA) and used the online platform Fundrazr.com to solicit donations.“We may not have much, but I have always felt that the reasons why you do something are as important as what you do,” he wrote on Fundrazr. “I felt that more could be done to help people and that the most effective way to bring assistance was through a close connection to those who were in desperate need, by meeting them where they were.”He was kidnapped while working for SERA in Syria in October 2013.

Four Western hostages have been murdered by ISIS: American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning. In its latest execution video, an ISIS militant threatened Kassig next.

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Oscar Pistorius Has Been Paying Steenkamp Family Since the Shooting

Oscar Pistorius Has Been Paying Steenkamp Family Since the Shooting

Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Image/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- Convicted paralympian Oscar Pistorius has been making financial payments to the family of Reeva Steenkamp, the girlfriend he killed last Valentine's Day, since shortly after the fatal shooting and he intends to set up a trust fund for the family once the sentencing is over, according to testimony at his sentencing trial Tuesday.The financial revelation came as a probation officer warned the court that if the legless Pistorius is sentenced to prison he would be vulnerable to attacks by other inmates, particularly if his prosthetic legs were taken away from him.Probation officer Annette Vergeer was the second law enforcement official to suggest Pistorius be spared prison despite being convicted of culpable homicide -- the equivalent of manslaughter -- in Steenkamp's death. On Monday, a corrections social worker urged the court to sentence Pistorius to three years of house arrest along with community service.Pistorius, a champion sprinter known as the Blade Runner for his prosthetic blades, could be sentenced to as much as 15 years in prison.Vergeer also told the court that Pistorius has been making monthly payments of $530 (6,000 Rand) a month to the Steenkamp family since March 2013, one month after their daughter's death.The probation officer said that Pistorius sold his car for about $34,000 (375,000 Rand), but the Steenkamps rejected the money, Vergeer said."Mrs. Steenkamp said she did not want blood money," prosecutor Gerrien Nel said. Nel also said that the Steenkamps intended to repay the money from the monthly payments to Pistorius.Earlier, Pistorius' agent Peet Van Zyl said that the sprinter intended to create a trust fund for the family once the trial was concluded.After court Tuesday, Steenkamp family lawyer Dup de Bruyn said the Pistorius' payment allowed June and Barry Steenkamp to pay rent and other living expenses, but the lawyer said they are in a position to repay Pistorius the $9,500 he gave them. The lawyer said it was June Steenkamp who described the payments as "blood money.""If you haven't got money, I don't think its' too difficult to accept anything," de Bruyn said.The lawyer said the parents wanted to make the payments public, but Pistorius requested that they remain confidential.The parents also said they have dropped their civil suit claims against Pistorius.Pistorius, 27, killed Steenkamp, 29, when he fired four shots through a locked bathroom door. Pistorius claimed that he feared an intruder was in the bathroom. Judge Thokozile Masipa rejected murder charges last month and convicted him of the lesser count of culpable homicide.Vergeer, testifying on the second day of Pistorius' sentencing phase, said he should not be sent to prison because with violence and overcrowding rampant in South African jails and the athlete vulnerable to attacks.She said Pistorius would be especially vulnerable without his prosthetic legs. She believes he has the potential to be a productive member of society again, and suggested a three-year period of correctional supervision outside of prison."The exposure of the accused on his stumps to inmates will have a severe effect on him,” Vergeer said.On Monday, Pistorius' psychologist Dr. Löre Hartzenberg testified that Pistorius was devastated by Steenkamp's death."We are left with a broken man who has lost everything. He’s lost his relationship with Reeva Steenkamp, he’s lost his moral and professional reputation. He’s lost his friends. He’s lost his career,” Hartzenberg said. “On an emotional level, his self-perception and self-worth have been damaged.”Pistorius' sentencing hearing is expected to last around a week. While the prosecutor has not indicated how many witnesses he will call, it is expected that Pistorius' ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor would be among them.It is unclear if Steenkamp's parents will testify, although there are indications they won't be called to the stand. After witnesses are called on both sides, the state and defense will deliver closing arguments.The judge will only indicate once all the evidence has been heard when she will make her decision known.

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Oscar Pistorius Has Been Paying Steenkamp Family Since the Shooting

Oscar Pistorius Has Been Paying Steenkamp Family Since the Shooting

Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Image/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- Convicted paralympian Oscar Pistorius has been making financial payments to the family of Reeva Steenkamp, the girlfriend he killed last Valentine's Day, since shortly after the fatal shooting and he intends to set up a trust fund for the family once the sentencing is over, according to testimony at his sentencing trial Tuesday.The financial revelation came as a probation officer warned the court that if the legless Pistorius is sentenced to prison he would be vulnerable to attacks by other inmates, particularly if his prosthetic legs were taken away from him.Probation officer Annette Vergeer was the second law enforcement official to suggest Pistorius be spared prison despite being convicted of culpable homicide -- the equivalent of manslaughter -- in Steenkamp's death. On Monday, a corrections social worker urged the court to sentence Pistorius to three years of house arrest along with community service.Pistorius, a champion sprinter known as the Blade Runner for his prosthetic blades, could be sentenced to as much as 15 years in prison.Vergeer also told the court that Pistorius has been making monthly payments of $530 (6,000 Rand) a month to the Steenkamp family since March 2013, one month after their daughter's death.The probation officer said that Pistorius sold his car for about $34,000 (375,000 Rand), but the Steenkamps rejected the money, Vergeer said."Mrs. Steenkamp said she did not want blood money," prosecutor Gerrien Nel said. Nel also said that the Steenkamps intended to repay the money from the monthly payments to Pistorius.Earlier, Pistorius' agent Peet Van Zyl said that the sprinter intended to create a trust fund for the family once the trial was concluded.After court Tuesday, Steenkamp family lawyer Dup de Bruyn said the Pistorius' payment allowed June and Barry Steenkamp to pay rent and other living expenses, but the lawyer said they are in a position to repay Pistorius the $9,500 he gave them. The lawyer said it was June Steenkamp who described the payments as "blood money.""If you haven't got money, I don't think its' too difficult to accept anything," de Bruyn said.The lawyer said the parents wanted to make the payments public, but Pistorius requested that they remain confidential.The parents also said they have dropped their civil suit claims against Pistorius.Pistorius, 27, killed Steenkamp, 29, when he fired four shots through a locked bathroom door. Pistorius claimed that he feared an intruder was in the bathroom. Judge Thokozile Masipa rejected murder charges last month and convicted him of the lesser count of culpable homicide.Vergeer, testifying on the second day of Pistorius' sentencing phase, said he should not be sent to prison because with violence and overcrowding rampant in South African jails and the athlete vulnerable to attacks.She said Pistorius would be especially vulnerable without his prosthetic legs. She believes he has the potential to be a productive member of society again, and suggested a three-year period of correctional supervision outside of prison."The exposure of the accused on his stumps to inmates will have a severe effect on him,” Vergeer said.On Monday, Pistorius' psychologist Dr. Löre Hartzenberg testified that Pistorius was devastated by Steenkamp's death."We are left with a broken man who has lost everything. He’s lost his relationship with Reeva Steenkamp, he’s lost his moral and professional reputation. He’s lost his friends. He’s lost his career,” Hartzenberg said. “On an emotional level, his self-perception and self-worth have been damaged.”Pistorius' sentencing hearing is expected to last around a week. While the prosecutor has not indicated how many witnesses he will call, it is expected that Pistorius' ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor would be among them.It is unclear if Steenkamp's parents will testify, although there are indications they won't be called to the stand. After witnesses are called on both sides, the state and defense will deliver closing arguments.The judge will only indicate once all the evidence has been heard when she will make her decision known.

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NASA Captures Image of Sun Getting into Halloween Spirit

NASA Captures Image of Sun Getting into Halloween Spirit

NASA/Goddard/SDO(HOUSTON) -- An incredible image captured by NASA shows that even the sun is getting into the Halloween spirit.A storm of magnetic fields made the sun look like a spooky jack-o'-lantern in a photo taken on Oct. 8."The active regions appear brighter because those are areas that emit more light and energy -- markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona," NASA said on its website.The image blends two sets of wavelengths, giving the sun that perfect pumpkin glow.

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Princes William and Harry Pay Tribute to Their Mother

Princes William and Harry Pay Tribute to Their Mother

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Britain's Prince William and Prince Harry have made a rare tribute to their mother, the late Princess Diana of Wales.In a forward to a new book celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Diana Award, the only charity set up in her name, Diana's two sons remembered her legacy of philanthropy.“We believe, when encouraged and supported, that young people have the ability to change society for the better,” the princes wrote in the book. "We know that our mother, in whose memory this award was established, felt the same and would be proud of its achievements to date."The Diana Award charity was established shortly after Diana's death in a 1997 car crash in Paris to inspire and honor young people, instilling in them the belief that they have the power to change the world.The charity has recognized more than 40,000 young people who have worked in their communities to end bullying, support mentoring programs and empowering young people to make a difference. The charity is set to celebrate its anniversary Tuesday night at a reception at Downing Street.“In recent years, we have both had the privilege of meeting some truly inspiring young people and those involved with the Diana Award are no exception -- working to quietly transform their communities and the lives of those around them," the princes wrote. "These young people were working hard to tackle the social issues that affected them -- such as bullying or social exclusion -- and the Diana Award empowered them to do more."Both William, 32, and Harry, 30, are active on the charitable front themselves and have inspired many of the young people seeking to honor their late mother.William, the Duke of Cambridge, has taken over the presidency of the Royal Marsden, of which Princess Diana was Royal Patron, and is an active supporter of Centrepoint, a charity for homeless youth, an issue on which his mother was a pioneering benefactor.Prince Harry is Patron of the Halo Trust, the anti-mine charity that Diana supported. Prince Harry has also set up Senteable in LeSotho, which means "Forget Me Not," in memory of his mother, to raise awareness for the vulnerable children in the country devastated by AIDS and HIV."Over this time, the award has evolved to become a youth-driven charity that harnesses the energy and passion of young people who really are trailblazers for their generation. We believe, when encouraged and supported, that young people have the ability to change society for the better,” Princes William and Harry wrote.Both princes have also become role models for the young and old by carrying on the charitable legacy their mother established. Recently, along with William's wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, the princes established the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The Royal Foundation encourages and supports a broad cross section of charities focusing on young people, the armed forces and conservation.

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Princes William and Harry Pay Tribute to Their Mother

Princes William and Harry Pay Tribute to Their Mother

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Britain's Prince William and Prince Harry have made a rare tribute to their mother, the late Princess Diana of Wales.In a forward to a new book celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Diana Award, the only charity set up in her name, Diana's two sons remembered her legacy of philanthropy.“We believe, when encouraged and supported, that young people have the ability to change society for the better,” the princes wrote in the book. "We know that our mother, in whose memory this award was established, felt the same and would be proud of its achievements to date."The Diana Award charity was established shortly after Diana's death in a 1997 car crash in Paris to inspire and honor young people, instilling in them the belief that they have the power to change the world.The charity has recognized more than 40,000 young people who have worked in their communities to end bullying, support mentoring programs and empowering young people to make a difference. The charity is set to celebrate its anniversary Tuesday night at a reception at Downing Street.“In recent years, we have both had the privilege of meeting some truly inspiring young people and those involved with the Diana Award are no exception -- working to quietly transform their communities and the lives of those around them," the princes wrote. "These young people were working hard to tackle the social issues that affected them -- such as bullying or social exclusion -- and the Diana Award empowered them to do more."Both William, 32, and Harry, 30, are active on the charitable front themselves and have inspired many of the young people seeking to honor their late mother.William, the Duke of Cambridge, has taken over the presidency of the Royal Marsden, of which Princess Diana was Royal Patron, and is an active supporter of Centrepoint, a charity for homeless youth, an issue on which his mother was a pioneering benefactor.Prince Harry is Patron of the Halo Trust, the anti-mine charity that Diana supported. Prince Harry has also set up Senteable in LeSotho, which means "Forget Me Not," in memory of his mother, to raise awareness for the vulnerable children in the country devastated by AIDS and HIV."Over this time, the award has evolved to become a youth-driven charity that harnesses the energy and passion of young people who really are trailblazers for their generation. We believe, when encouraged and supported, that young people have the ability to change society for the better,” Princes William and Harry wrote.Both princes have also become role models for the young and old by carrying on the charitable legacy their mother established. Recently, along with William's wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, the princes established the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The Royal Foundation encourages and supports a broad cross section of charities focusing on young people, the armed forces and conservation.

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Furious Protesters Set Fire to Mexican Government Building

Furious Protesters Set Fire to Mexican Government Building

iStock/Thinkstock(ACAPULCO, Mexico) -- Protesters smashed windows and set fire to a government building in southern Mexico Monday, expressing fury over the disappearance of 43 young people believed abducted by local police linked to a drug cartel.The demonstrations happened in Chilpancingo, the capital of the state of Guerrero.Protesters could be seen burning photos of government officials. They also pushed over a delivery truck.Smoke poured from the government buildings, with flames shooting from office windows.The 43 students were from a teachers' college and have been missing for over two weeks. On Sept. 26, police opened fire on the students during a rally, killing at least six of them and taking dozens away. Since the incident, more than two dozen police officers have been arrested.

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Furious Protesters Set Fire to Mexican Government Building

Furious Protesters Set Fire to Mexican Government Building

iStock/Thinkstock(ACAPULCO, Mexico) -- Protesters smashed windows and set fire to a government building in southern Mexico Monday, expressing fury over the disappearance of 43 young people believed abducted by local police linked to a drug cartel.The demonstrations happened in Chilpancingo, the capital of the state of Guerrero.Protesters could be seen burning photos of government officials. They also pushed over a delivery truck.Smoke poured from the government buildings, with flames shooting from office windows.The 43 students were from a teachers' college and have been missing for over two weeks. On Sept. 26, police opened fire on the students during a rally, killing at least six of them and taking dozens away. Since the incident, more than two dozen police officers have been arrested.

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Duchess of Cambridge Kate Takes on New Charity

Duchess of Cambridge Kate Takes on New Charity

Chris Jackson/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The Duchess of Cambridge will take on a new role as Royal Patrol for the 1851 Trust, an organization working to bring the America’s Cup back to her native Great Britain."I am delighted to be Royal Patron of The 1851 Trust," Kate, 32, said in a statement released by Kensington Palace Tuesday. "I feel very fortunate to have enjoyed sailing from a young age and I know it is a great way of providing young people with the opportunity to develop skills and confidence."Kate, an avid sailor who even spent her gap year crewing on a boat, publicly demonstrated her sailing prowess last April by twice beating her husband, Prince William, while captaining an America’s Cup yacht in Waitemata Harbour off the coast of Auckland, New Zealand, where the royals were on an official tour.In her role, Kate will serve side-by-side with British sailing champion Sir Ben Ainslie on the 1851 Trust. Ainslie has won five consecutive Olympic sailing medals and is credited with allowing the Americans to win the last America’s Cup race, just narrowly edging out New Zealand.Shortly after the America’s Cup victory, Ainslie announced his interest in enabling a British team to compete in the America’s Cup Race.While yachting’s most famous sailing race takes its name from America’s first victory in 1851, the first race actually took place in Britain around the Isle of Wight.The “Auld Cup,” as it was originally called, was brought home to the U.S. when they scored victory and it has remained there for much of its history.Britain has yet to win the Cup back, something Ainslie and Kate hope to change.“It is a hugely exciting time for sailing as the British challenger bids to bring the America's Cup back to Britain,” Kate said in the Palace’s statement. “I am looking forward to being part of this journey and I hope that through the 1851Trust we can engage and inspire a new generation into sailing along the way."Kate, who is pregnant with her second child with Prince William, is also a patron to a group of children's hospices, an art therapy and addiction charity and London's National Portrait Gallery, among others.

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7.3-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off of El Salvador; Building Damage Reported

7.3-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off of El Salvador; Building Damage Reported

United States Geological Survey(SAN MIGUEL, El Salvador) -- A 7.3-magnitude earthquake was reported off the coast of El Salvador Monday, and while no tsunami threat was expected, wall collapses and building damage were reported.The earthquake occurred at 9:52 p.m. local time (11:52 ET), about 40 miles west of Nicaragua and south of El Salvador, at a depth of 14 miles, according to the United States Geological Society.Buildings and structures collapsed in San Miguel, El Salvador, with the earthquake responsible for at least one death -- an intoxicated man who was killed when an electric pole collapsed on him, San Miguel Mayor Will Salgado said.Homes and hospitals were damaged by the earthquake.

 

En barrio La Merced hay algunos daños en viviendas pic.twitter.com/ICtDpOTeDs

— Will Salgado (@WILLSALGADO) October 14, 2014

 

Landslides also were reported in the area.

 

Grandes roca obstruyen gran parte de carretera entre Santiago de María y Alegría, Usulután; es en curva El Cuyapo pic.twitter.com/hRwMNtAzp7”

— Will Salgado (@WILLSALGADO) October 14, 2014

 

Localized flooding could occur in nearby countries such as Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador, with some minor sea level fluctuations possible. But residents shouldn't worry about the threat of a tsunami, authorities said."The tsunami threat from this earthquake has now mostly passed," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported.

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Oscar Pistorius Back in Court for Sentencing

Oscar Pistorius Back in Court for Sentencing

Jemal Countess/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- Oscar Pistorius returned to a South Africa courtroom Tuesday, with his freedom -- and his future -- hanging in the balance.As the athlete's sentencing hearing enters its second day, it remains unclear exactly when a verdict can be expected.The athlete was found guilty last month of culpable homicide, the equivalent of manslaughter, for shooting and killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year. The trial has now entered its sentencing phase, with the defense and prosecution calling witnesses, trying to influence Judge Thokozile Masipa’s sentencing decision.Masipa could sentence Pistorius to a maximum of 15 years -- but he could also be spared prison, instead being sentenced to house arrest and community service. That was the suggestion Monday by Joel Maringa, a social worker for South Africa’s prison authorities. Maringa testified that he believes the paralympian would benefit from “correctional supervision,” urging the court to sentence Pistorius, 27, to three years of house arrest.He also suggested other requirements: 16 hours of community service a month; abstinence from alcohol and drugs; no gun ownership; and attending anger management courses.Prosecutor Gerrie Nel called Maringa’s suggestions “shockingly inappropriate.”Earlier Monday, Pistorius psychologist Dr. Löre Hartzenberg testified that Pistorius was devastated by Steenkamp's death."We are left with a broken man who has lost everything. He’s lost his relationship with Reeva Steenkamp, he’s lost his moral and professional reputation. He’s lost his friends. He’s lost his career,” Hartzenberg said. “On an emotional level, his self-perception and self-worth have been damaged.”Pistorius fired four shots through a locked bathroom door, killing Steenkamp. Pistorius claimed that he believed there was an intruder in the bathroom. The judge dismissed the murder charges against Pistorius and found him guilty of culpable homicide.The defense will call at least one more witness Tuesday before Nel begins his case. While the prosecutor has not indicated how many witnesses he will call, it is expected that Pistorius' ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor would be among them.It is unclear if Steenkamp's parents will testify, although there are indications they won't be called to the stand. After witnesses are called on both sides, the state and defense will deliver closing arguments.The judge will only indicate once all the evidence has been heard when she will make her decision known.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Pilot Dead After ‘Homemade’ Plane Crashes in Australia Neighborhood

Pilot Dead After ‘Homemade’ Plane Crashes in Australia Neighborhood

meechy78/Twitter(MELBOURNE, Australia) -- A small plane crashed into a residential area in Australia Tuesday, killing its male pilot and injuring at least one person on the ground, police said.The accident happened in the Chelsea area of Melbourne.The small plane -- police suspect it was homemade -- struck a house and damaged two vehicles, with the plane likely bursting into flames upon impact, police said. Heavy smoke was visible in the area following the crash.

 

Plane crash Chelsea 10 min ago! pic.twitter.com/mfPar9oAC0

— john kovac (@thealien_earth) October 14, 2014

 

A woman inside the home sustained minor injuries, police said.Police believe the crash occurred after the plane’s engine stalled.

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Thousands of Iraqis Flee ISIS

Thousands of Iraqis Flee ISIS

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq has created a new refugee crisis, according to the United Nation's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.It's estimated that as many as 180,000 people, many of whom were already displaced, have moved away from the western Anbar province city of Hit, which was taken over by ISIS last month.In desperation, most of the refugees have headed eastward towards Ramadi, which is also under siege.The U.N. says that Iraqis seeking shelter from violence are in immediate need of food, blankets and medical supplies.ISIS fighters have been nearly unstoppable in Anbar, a longtime Sunni stronghold where many sympathize with the militant extremist cause that includes strict Islamic law.The Iraqi government is concerned that if ISIS become firmly established in Anbar, it will give the group easier access to attacks on Baghdad.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Kim Jong-un Makes First Public Appearance in Over a Month

Kim Jong-un Makes First Public Appearance in Over a Month

KNS/AFP/Getty Images(North Korea) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made his first public appearance in over a month, appearing at a newly-constructed residential complex, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.Kim's previous public appearance came on Sept. 3, when he attended a concert by the Moranbong Orchestra. Korean Central News Agency, the North Korean state media organization, said that Kim received "field guidance" during his trip to Wilsong Scientists Residential District.Speculation had grown in recent weeks as Kim remained out of sight. Some wondered whether the North Korean leader may have been ill or injured.

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