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Canada Shooting Hero Identified as Sgt. at Arms Kevin Vickers

Canada Shooting Hero Identified as Sgt. at Arms Kevin Vickers

Alex Boutilier/Toronto Star via Getty Images(OTTAWA, Ontario) -- Sgt. at Arms Kevin Vickers is being hailed a hero on Wednesday for shooting the gunman who ambushed the Parliament building in Ottawa.Lawmakers confirmed to ABC News that Vickers fired the fatal shot that killed the gunman, who has not been identified.Vickers, 58, is a former police officer who had worked for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for nearly three decades before he joined Canada's House of Commons as the head of security in 2005. He was appointed Sgt. at Arms the following year.Vicker's younger brother John Vickers told CBC News that his brother called their mother to say he's safe."I just couldn't be prouder of him right now," John said, noting that Kevin has "always been committed to service, people and country."Kevin Vickers, who lives in Ottawa, according to his Facebook profile, also drew praise on social media.Justice Minister and Attorney General Peter MacKay called Vickers and other security forces "true heroes," and politician Glenn Thibeault called him the "nicest guy you'll ever meet."

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US Military Launches 18 Airstrikes Against ISIS in Syria, Iraq

US Military Launches 18 Airstrikes Against ISIS in Syria, Iraq

Stocktrek Images/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) -- The U.S. military conducted 18 more airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) targets in Syria and Iraq on Tuesday and Wednesday.According to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), six of the strikes were in Syria, near Kobani. They destroyed fighting positions, two vehicles, an ISIS building and a logistical center.The remaining 12 airstrikes were in Iraq, near Mosul Dam. Those attacks destroyed a large ISIS unit, a mortar launching position, three vehicles and multiple fighting positions.CENTCOM said all the aircraft used in the strikes managed to exit the areas safely.

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Canada PM Calls Parliament Shooting a ‘Terrorist’ Act

Canada PM Calls Parliament Shooting a ‘Terrorist’ Act

MICHEL COMTE/AFP/Getty Images(OTTAWA, Ontario) -- A gunman on Wednesday fatally shot a Canadian soldier in an attack near the Parliament that led to building lockdowns and the evacuation of the country's prime minister.The gunman, who was shot and killed inside the Parliament building, has been identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a Canadian national. The soldier who was killed was Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.Ottawa police first learned of the 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.Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a televised statement to the nation Wednesday evening about the incident. "Today was without question a difficult day," he said, noting two attacks against the country this week."In the days to come we will learn more about the terrorist and any accomplices," he added. Harper said the government would work to "keep Canada safe and fight against terrorist organizations that are brutalizing so many people around the world in the hope of keeping their savagery from reaching our shores."Canada had already raised its national terrorism alert level Wednesday, 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.

Officials are investigating any terrorist ties to the suspect in Wednesday's shooting.

Police initially believed that they were searching for more than one shooter, but they later said that it was too soon to determine whether or not the gunman acted alone."Today is a sad and tragic day for our city and our country," Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said.

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Civic Hospital in Ottawa received four patients, including the wounded soldier who later died of his injuries.

"Apart from first patient, they had minor, non-life-threatening injuries and remain in hospital at this time," hospital spokeswoman Hazel Harding told ABC News.One of the patients was a Parliamentary Security officer who had been shot in the leg when the gunman entered the building, but the hospital said that it was an "extremity gunshot wound" and is "quite stable." Two others were brought to the hospital with unspecified injuries. All three were later released.Witnesses told CTV they saw a man with long hair carrying a rifle at the war memorial and heard four shots fired at the soldier, who was guarding Canada's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.A witness told Canada's CBC the gunman then ran the short distance to Canada’s Parliament, jumped a wall, stopped a car at gunpoint and hijacked it. The gunman drove the car to the Centre Block on Parliament Hill where senior government leaders have their offices.

A CBC reporter inside the Canadian Parliament reported chaos there, hearing lots of gunshots. A lawmaker tweeted more than 30 shots were heard inside Parliament's Center Block.

The gunman was shot dead by the Parliament’s Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers.

All military bases in Canada have been put on lockdown in response to the events in Ottawa, CTV reported. The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa recently followed suit. A safety perimeter in downtown Ottawa was lifted Wednesday evening.Senior FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials told ABC News they are closely monitoring the situation. The White House said President Obama has been briefed and has spoken to Harper over the phone.According to a readout of the call, Obama condemned the attack and "reaffirmed the close friendship and alliance between our people." The president also offered Canada any assistance it needed in responding to the attack.

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ISIS in Iraq, Syria Recruiting Foreign Fighters from Balkans

ISIS in Iraq, Syria Recruiting Foreign Fighters from Balkans

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Kosovo’s intelligence agency rescued an 8-year-old boy last week from Syria, where his father had taken him six months earlier so that he could join the Islamist extremist group ISIS there.“This is the greatest day for me. I hope that no mother will live my destiny,” the boy’s mother, Pranvera Zena, told reporters at the Pristina airport once she was reunited with her son, Erion.Unfortunately for Zena, many Balkan Muslims besides her have been living this reality. More and more men are flocking to Iraq and Syria from the former Yugoslavia, which while mostly moderate in its Islamic traditions, has a unique political and religious history that has proven a fertile ground for extremist ideology -- and ISIS recruits.Somewhere between 200 and 600 fighters from Balkan nations including Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo have traveled to Syria since 2012, according to a June study by the Combating Terrorism Center, a research institution at West Point. That’s compared with the 100 Americans believed to have joined ISIS and other militant groups there.Last month, the State Department designated two Balkan fighters, one Kosovar Albanian affiliated with ISIS and one Bosnian who fought with al-Nusra, another extremist group, as terrorists, imposing economic sanctions on them and any Americans who associate with them.Those fighters’ home nations are taking the threat they pose seriously: Bosnia passed a law this year that throws convicted Islamists and recruiters in prison for up to 10 years, and arrested 16 people in September on such suspicions, while Kosovo, which arrested 55 Islamists, and Serbia, which charged five jihadis, both earlier this month, are also considering strengthening their anti-terrorism laws.While the majority of Balkan Muslims observe a unique form of Islam that combines traditional and non-Islamic practices, there is a small but potent strain of extremism that traces back to the 1930s, when Alija Izetbegovic, later the president of Bosnia, formed a Muslim Brotherhood-style political group, said Balkan expert Gordon Bardos.Later in the 1990s, the mujahedeen guerilla fighters who had just finished fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan were looking for a new battleground and found it in the Balkans, where Bosnian Muslims were fighting Serb and Croat forces.“The serendipitous thing from [the mujahedeen] perspective was the war on Bosnia literally started just a few weeks after things died down in Afghanistan,” Bardos said.

Many of the surviving foreign fighters from that war remained in the Balkans and helped set up Islamist communities like Gornja Maoca in Bosnia, where Mevludin Jašarevic, a Serbian who was convicted for a 2011 attack on the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo, lived. The June CTC report found that 18 individuals associated with that community alone had traveled to Syria.The Balkans have also been heavily influenced by nations including Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran, each trying to out-influence the other by spending more and more money on mosques and religious schools in the region.In a 2008 report, Bosnian investigative journalist Esad Hecimovic found that the Saudis spent 2 billion riyals, about $500 million, to reconstruct and build new mosques in Bosnia alone from 1992-2001. More and more Balkan clerics around that time also began to go to the Middle East for their religious training, becoming steeped in austere forms of Islam like Saudi Wahhabism.“They’re being exposed to more extreme forms of Islam. They’re building contacts with more extreme adherents of Islamic doctrine. So it’s going to have an influence,” Bardos said.It’s also a lot easier for Balkans who gravitate towards Islamist rhetoric to travel to Syria; many fly or drive to Turkey, and then walk on foot over the Turkish-Syrian border.But the real concern for westerners is not what these Balkans do when they get to the ISIS battlefield, but rather, what they will do when that fight winds down -- however long that takes.“A significant portion of them have torn up their passports,” Daniel Milton, an assistant professor at the CTC said. “They're not going to go home but they're going to go somewhere else."Neither the United States nor Europe might be their next target, as they might be more drawn to wherever Islamists are fighting external forces. But wherever they go, Milton warned that many will have used their time with ISIS to hone their capabilities on the next battlefield.“The opportunity for them to refine their skills is simply going to allow them to be more deadly wherever they go,” he said.

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Family of Detained American Thanks God for His Release from North Korea

Family of Detained American Thanks God for His Release from North Korea

iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMISBURG, Ohio) -- The family of the American released from North Korea spoke out Wednesday morning as he arrived back at his home in Miamisburg, Ohio."[Jeffrey Fowle] is home. We'd like to thank God for his hand of protection over Jeff for these past six months," the family's attorney said in a statement with the Fowles standing beside him.They noted that while they are "overjoyed" by his return, they are "mindful" that the families of Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller -- Americans who are still being detained -- did not have the same relief."[Jeffrey] was treated well by the government of the DPRK and he is in good health," the attorney said.While they said that Fowle was going to be taking some time to readjust and be with his family, not everything will go back to normal immediately since he was fired from his job during his detention. His termination letter has been made public.Fowle worked as an equipment operator for the street department of Moraine, Ohio, for 26 years before he was incarcerated in North Korea in May after leaving a bar at a sailor's nightclub."We regret to advise you that due to your ongoing absence from work, the City of Moraine will terminate your employment effective September 18, 2014, the date on which your accrued vacation leave will be exhausted," the Sept. 16 letter from the City of Moraine read."We had hoped this action would not be necessary but in light of your continued incarceration in North Korea resulting from [a] unilateral decision to travel to North Korea against the advice of your family and acquaintances; and [b] running afoul of North Korean restrictions on ‘anti-government’ activities, and as stated, the exhaustion of your accrued vacation time, we have to act in the best interests of the City of Moraine and its residents," it read.Fowle's family was kept on his health insurance in spite of his termination and paid out a severance of $70,604.96 due to the sick leave he accrued since 1988.The city also made it clear that he could return to his job once he was freed, noting that he was in "good standing" at the time of his termination.

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Kenny G Hits a Sour Note with China’s Government

Kenny G Hits a Sour Note with China’s Government

Kevin Winter/Getty Images(HONG KONG) -- Looks as if Kenny G hit an off-note with the Chinese government.The Grammy-award winning musician made a surprise visit to the central Occupy Hong Kong protest site Wednesday, drawing a swift rebuke from the government in Beijing.“In Hong Kong at the sight of the demonstration,” he tweeted, posting a photo of himself with his fingers in a “v” sign in front of a protest sign calling for democracy in Hong Kong.“I wish everyone a peaceful and positive conclusion to this situation.”

 

in Hong Kong at the sight of the demonstration. I wish everyone a peaceful and positive conclusion to this situation pic.twitter.com/mEp5jIXLjj

— Kenny G (@officialkennyg) October 22, 2014

 

Needless to say, the government in Beijing wasn’t pleased. Roughly an hour later, a foreign ministry spokesperson addressed his appearance at a daily news briefing.“Kenny G's musical works are widely popular in China, but China's position on the illegal Occupy Central activities in Hong Kong is very clear,” Hua Chunying told reporters. "We hope that foreign governments and individuals speak and act cautiously and not support the Occupy Central and other illegal activities in any form."The pro-Democracy protests began several weeks ago, with tens of thousands mostly student protesters occupying the area surrounding Hong Kong’s main government building downtown. Since the initial throng of support, their numbers have dwindled significantly.The protesters are demanding the right to free elections in 2017 with the ability to elect any leader they choose. Beijing says the elections will go ahead as scheduled, but all candidates will be vetted by a central committee in Beijing before they’re allowed to run.There’s no word whether Kenny G’s smooth, silky tones were able to help break the deadlock.Kenny G enjoys massive popularity in China and performed four concerts there in September. His 1989 hit “Going Home” is played in many shopping malls, public parks, and other public areas at closing time -- sort of an unofficial anthem to end the day."

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How to Watch the Next Solar Eclipse

How to Watch the Next Solar Eclipse

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Sky gazers in North America will have prime viewing on Thursday of the fourth and final eclipse of the year.Get ready for a partial solar eclipse when the new moon obscures part of the sun, darkening the skies and casting a spectacular shadow.The cosmic event will first be visible near the Kamchatka Peninsula in eastern Russian and will move eastward, according to NASA.If the weather is clear, the best views are expected to be in the Pacific northwest and northern Canada, while New England and the Canadian Maritime provinces will likely miss out on the eclipse.The eclipse will begin around 1:35 p.m. in Seattle. As the Earth turns, the rest of the U.S. will be treated to the phenomenon closer to sunset, with it reaching New York at 5:49 p.m. and Tallahassee, Florida, at 6:09 p.m.NASA has posted a list of what time the eclipse is expected to happen in major United States cities here.

It's not safe to look at the sun with the naked eye and regular sunglasses won't suffice. NASA suggests viewing the solar eclipse with a special solar filter. If those aren't available, there's a quick hack to make your own viewfinder.Place a small hole in a card and hold it between the sun and a sheet of white paper positioned a few feet away, creating a projection of the sun's crescent.

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Counterinsurgency Expert: Beating ISIS Will Require US Ground Troops

Counterinsurgency Expert: Beating ISIS Will Require US Ground Troops

ABC News/Yahoo! News(WASHINGTON) -- Retired Army Lt. Col. John Nagl literally helped to write the book on counterinsurgency field strategy for the Army and Marine Corps during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But for all the lessons that the U.S. military has learned through the wars of the 21st Century, Nagl said President Obama’s strategy to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria without any ground forces won’t work.“It clearly isn't working,” Nagl told ABC News/Yahoo! News in an interview. “We do have about 1,600 American troops on the ground, but they're staying well back from the front lines. That's a big part of the reason why the Iraqi forces are not able to take on and really defeat the ISIS forces.”Though Nagl said he understands Obama’s reluctance to commit combat troops at a time when the American people are war weary, he said the mission of defeating ISIS can’t be accomplished without 15,000 to 20,000 U.S. ground forces.“ISIS is really, really bad, is a real evil, and ultimately is a threat to the stability of the Middle East and to the United States,” Nagl said. “The president has an important role in speaking to the American people and explaining to them what the threat is, what our strategy is, and critically that he is committed to success even if it takes boots on the ground -- and it's that last part where I think he's been lacking.”Nagl, who said he believes the current situation in Iraq could have been avoided had the U.S. not pulled out its military presence several years ago, warned that Afghanistan is at risk of a similar crisis if the U.S. withdraws all forces from that country, as currently planned, by 2017.“I think that that is a disaster,” he said. “Afghanistan is not going to be ready to stand on its own this decade, and leaving behind a residual force, and again, 15,000 American combat advisors to embed inside Afghan units, to provide access to intelligence, provide access to logistics, without that kind of American leverage, those kind of American advisors, the Taliban is going to be at the gates of Kabul just as currently ISIS is at the gates of Baghdad.”The insurgencies in the Middle East are just one of many predicaments that Nagl predicts the U.S. military will need to confront in the years to come.In his new book, Knife Fights: A Memoir of Modern War in Theory and Practice, Nagl lays out why he believes the future of warfare will be characterized less by traditional combat and more by long-term, ambiguous struggles, such as insurgencies, climate change and contagions.The current fight against Ebola provides a “particularly frightening” example, he said.“I think what we're going to see is the Pentagon dealing with the effects of climate change, population pressures, weak governments unable to secure their populations,” he said. “And so we need a military that is broader, that still maintains its core competency in state-on-state, tank-on-tank kind of warfare. But I think that 90 percent of the time, what they're going to be doing is messy, slow knife fights.”

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British Man Faked Coma to Avoid Court, Cops Say

British Man Faked Coma to Avoid Court, Cops Say

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- A British man pleaded guilty this week to stealing 40,000 pounds from an elderly neighbor and pretending to be in a coma for two years to avoid charges, authorities said.Alan Knight pleaded guilty after being charged with multiple counts of theft and making a false representation for gain, a Swansea Crown Court representative told ABC News. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 7.Knight was arrested in 2012 for the alleged theft, a South Wales Police spokesman said.But Knight delayed going to court by claiming to be a quadriplegic who had periodic seizures that left him in a comatose-state, police said. Since authorities were unable to get Knight in court, his trial was delayed until this week, police said.However, an investigation revealed that Knight had been faking his symptoms, police said.Knight and his wife, Helen Knight, even attempted to prove his medical condition by photographing themselves in their home with Alan Knight appearing to be unconscious and surrounded by medical equipment.However, earlier this week Alan Knight was finally ordered to attend court in person. Once in the courtroom, investigators revealed they had footage of Knight walking around on closed-circuit television without a neck brace, oxygen or a wheelchair, police said.In images and video released to the news media, Knight is shown walking through a doorway with his family. After the evidence was presented, Knight then pleaded guilty to the charges.Calls to a number listed in the name of Knight’s wife were not immediately returned.Judge Paul Thomas, who was overseeing Knight's case, said Knight's injury claim was "unique" and wanted to discourage anyone else who might try it, according to the Daily Telegraph."Although a very accomplished and determined actor, he is in nothing like the condition he claims to be, and the conditions he claims to be suffering from are simply non-existent," Thomas said in court, according to the Daily Telegraph.

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Alan

Some Russian Troops Move Away from Ukraine Border, ‘Doesn’t Change’ Role in Conflict, Pentagon Says

Some Russian Troops Move Away from Ukraine Border, ‘Doesn’t Change’ Role in Conflict, Pentagon Says

berean/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KIEV, Ukraine) -- The Pentagon says it has seen some Russian troops moving away from the Russia-Ukraine border, a change that Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby called "welcome.""We have seen movement of some forces away from the border," Kirby said during a Tuesday briefing. "Movement of that kind is, of course, welcome," the spokesperson said, "but it doesn't change the outcome, and that is that there are still large numbers...that continue to threaten the security and the territorial integrity of Ukraine."The Kremlin announced last week that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered over 17,000 troops home from the border."Nothing has changed about the fact that Russia continues to foment instability inside Ukraine," Kirby noted.

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Pope to Travel to Turkey, Visit Historical Sites and Meet with Leaders

Pope to Travel to Turkey, Visit Historical Sites and Meet with Leaders

neneos/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(VATICAN CITY) -- Pope Francis will make a three-day trip to Turkey in November, confirming plans first announced in September.Already scheduled to address the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Nov. 25, Pope Francis will leave Rome for Ankara, Turkey, on Nov. 28. Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartolomeo I invited the pope to take part in the celebration of the feast of St. Andrew, the founder of the Eastern Church. Unlike many of the pope's trips, Francis will make only three public speeches during his three days in Turkey. He will, however, visit both Turkey's capital, Ankara, and its largest city, Istanbul. Francis will visit historic sites including the Hagia Sophia museum and the Sultan Ahmet mosque -- known as the "Blue Mosque" -- and will also have meetings with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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French Energy CEO Killed in Collision at Moscow Airport

French Energy CEO Killed in Collision at Moscow Airport

ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Christophe de Margerie, the CEO of French energy giant Total, was killed on Tuesday when his corporate jet and a snowplow collided at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport.No other passengers were on board the jet with de Margerie and three crew members at the time of the crash. All four onboard were killed.The plane was apparently taking off when it struck the snowplow. Russian investigators have accused the snowplow driver of being drunk, a claim the man's lawyer denied.De Margerie was a staunch defender of Russian energy politics and an opponent of Western sanctions against Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a telegram to French President Francois Hollande that he was "shocked" when he heard about the crash, and offered condolences to de Margerie's family and friends. "We have lost a true friend of our country but he will remain in our memories," Putin said.

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American Jeffrey Fowle Released from North Korea

American Jeffrey Fowle Released from North Korea

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Jeffrey Fowle, one of three Americans being held in North Korea, was abruptly allowed to leave Tuesday on a U.S. government jet.

The 56-year-old from Miamisburg, Ohio, had been charged with leaving a Bible in Chongjin last May. Proselytizing is illegal in North Korea.A Defense Department plane carried Fowle out of the country, but it was not immediately clear when he was supposed to return home.The site of the U.S. plane with the American flag on its tail at Pyongyang's international airport was an unusual sight.The State Department welcomed Fowle’s release but called on the North Korean government to release two other Americans still in the secretive country, Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller.Fowle's release was negotiated with the help of Sweden since the U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea."We thank the government of Sweden for the tireless efforts of the Embassy of Sweden in Pyongyang," the State Department said.Fowle will have to deal with another problem when he returns. While in a North Korean jail, he was fired from his job as an equipment operator for the city of Moraine, Ohio -- a job he had for the last 26 years. The dismissal last month came with a $70,000 severance package."At some point, you have to return to work," Moraine City Manager David Hicks told ABC News.Hicks noted that Fowle was a union employee.

"Although he was terminated, he has the ability to apply at any point in the next year and he would be immediately reinstated into his position," he said.Hicks said that the city kept his wife and children on Fowle’s health insurance after his termination, and said Fowle would be welcome back at his job.

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Afghan Opium Trade Thriving Despite US $7 Billion Effort

Afghan Opium Trade Thriving Despite US $7 Billion Effort

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Despite more than $7 billion of American counter-narcotics spending, Afghanistan’s opium trade has never been bigger, according to a U.S. government watchdog.A new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction issued on Tuesday highlights the continued growth of Afghanistan’s poppy fields despite more than a decade of U.S. and international counter-narcotics efforts.Various federal agencies have spent $7.6 billion in Afghanistan over 12 years to curb the world’s largest opium industry. Despite some initial progress, the farming of opium poppies by Afghanistan’s farmers has rebounded in recent years. United Nations figures show that farmers in Afghanistan cultivated 806 square miles of opium poppy last year, a field roughly 2.5 times the size of New York City."The expanding cultivation and trafficking of drugs puts the entire Afghan reconstruction effort at risk," said John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction."By every conceivable metric, we've failed. Production and cultivation are up, interdiction and eradication are down, financial support to the insurgency is up, and addiction and abuse are at unprecedented levels in Afghanistan," Sopko said.SIGAR has found that well-meaning efforts have in some cases helped fuel the increase in poppy farming.For example, in southwestern Afghanistan affordable deep-well technology has turned 200,000 hectares of desert into arable land over the past decade. But the report found “due to relatively high opium prices and the rise of an inexpensive, skilled, and mobile labor force, much of this newly-arable land is dedicated to opium cultivation.”And it found that provinces once-declared to be "poppy free" have seen a resurgence in cultivation.In 2008, the U.N. touted Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan as a success story where farmers had turned away from planting cash crops of opium poppy. But five years later the cultivation of opium poppy had increased “fourfold,” the new report concluded.Afghanistan produces 80 percent of the world’s opium which is turned into heroin -- most of which ends up in Russia and Europe.The production and sale of opium “undermines the Afghan state’s legitimacy by stoking corruption, sustaining criminal networks, and providing significant financial support to the Taliban and other insurgent groups,” Sopko wrote in the report.Afghanistan’s opium trade was valued at $3 billion in 2013, according to U.N. estimates.

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US Military Conducts Seven Airstrikes Against ISIS in Syria, Iraq

US Military Conducts Seven Airstrikes Against ISIS in Syria, Iraq

iStock/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) -- The U.S. military conducted seven more airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) targets in Syria and Iraq on Monday and Tuesday.According to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), four of the strikes were in Syria, near Kobani. They destroyed fighting positions, a building and a large ISIS unit.The other three airstrikes in Iraq destroyed two fighting positions -- one south of the Bayji oil refinery and another southeast of Mosul Dam -- and suppressed an ISIS attack north of Fallujah.CENTCOM says all the aircraft used in the attacks managed to exit the areas safely.

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Mystery Submarine Hunt Resurfaces Cold War Tensions

Mystery Submarine Hunt Resurfaces Cold War Tensions

iStock/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- Swedish naval ships, helicopters and troops on the ground have expanded their search for what they believe is a foreign submarine in distress not far from their coast.

The search has entered its fifth day.

Before the Cold War thaw, there were instances when Sweden discovered Russian subs illegally prowling its waters, but Russia has denied that the mystery sub is one of theirs. Instead, it has claimed that the vessel is a Dutch submarine.The alleged submarine has been spotted at least three times since Friday in various parts of the Stockholm archipelago. One spotting placed the vessel approximately 12 nautical miles from the country's capital.

The most worrisome question about the mystery sub is whether or not it is carrying nuclear weapons.Russian officials are claiming that the submarine is a Dutch sub that was in the area for planned exercises with the Swedish military, but both Swedish and Dutch officials said that the submarine cited by the Russians has been in Estonia since Friday morning.

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Rwanda Introduces Ebola Screening for Travelers from US, Spain

Rwanda Introduces Ebola Screening for Travelers from US, Spain

File photo. Blend Images/Thinkstock(KIGALI, Rwanda) -- In a turning of tables on Ebola monitoring, the East African nation of Rwanda is screening all visitors from the United States and Spain for the deadly virus.

The U.S. Embassy in Rwanda posted the following notice on its website Tuesday:

"On October 19, the Rwandan Ministry of Health introduced new Ebola Virus Disease screening requirements. Visitors who have been in the United States or Spain during the last 22 days are now required to report their medical condition -- regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms of Ebola -- by telephone by dialing 114 between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. for the duration of their visit to Rwanda (if less than 21 days), or for the first 21 days of their visit to Rwanda. Rwandan authorities continue to deny entry to visitors who traveled to Guinea, Liberia, Senegal, or Sierra Leone within the past 22 days."

The incubation period of Ebola is generally accepted by health officials as 21 days.The notice appears to be in response to recent cases in both countries. In addition to the three people diagnosed with the deadly virus in Dallas, an additional five patients transported from West Africa have received treatment for Ebola on American soil. Spain has seen three cases, according to health officials.

Meanwhile, a rally cry to close American borders to travelers from Ebola-stricken countries appears to have hit home. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced travel restrictions Tuesday in the form of additional screening and protective measures.

Beginning Wednesday, all travelers to the Unites States whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea -- the countries hardest hit by the ongoing Ebola outbreak -- will be required to fly into one of the five U.S. airports that have the enhanced screening and additional resources in place: JFK International Airport in New York, Newark International Airport in New Jersey, Dulles International Airport outside Washington, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta and O’Hare Internal Airport in Chicago.

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Entomologist Encounters Puppy-Sized Spider in Guyana

Entomologist Encounters Puppy-Sized Spider in Guyana

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you didn’t have arachnophobia before now, this puppy-sized spider should do the trick.

Known as South American Goliath birdeater, the humongous eight-legged creepy crawly creature has a body the size of a fist and a leg span the size of a small child.

Harvard entomologist Piotr Naskrecki recently encountered one while taking a nighttime stroll through a rain forest in Guyana."When I turned on the light, I couldn't quite understand what I was seeing," Naskrecki told the website Live Science.The spider can weigh up to six ounces, according to Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology, where Naskrecki is employed. Though it does not eat birds, as the name implies, it hunts worms, rats and other small animals.

Size isn’t the spider’s only chill-inducing quality. It makes loud clicking sounds with its front claws when threatened and defends itself by rubbing its back legs together to shoot clouds of microscopic barbs through the air that are highly irritating to the eyes and skin.

If it chomps down on you with its 2-inch-long fangs, you probably won’t die, unless you are allergic. But its bite contains enough venom to make you sick for days.Naskrecki said birdeaters are uncommon. He has only encountered three in all the years he has been traipsing through rain forests. He also did not specify whether his latest meeting ended in a capture for study.

But it’s a safe bet he couldn’t kill it with a shoe or trap it under a glass.

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Duchess Kate Makes First Public Appearance Since Announcing Pregnancy

Duchess Kate Makes First Public Appearance Since Announcing Pregnancy

Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) — The Duchess of Cambridge stepped out for a royal engagement Tuesday in London, her first since announcing her second pregnancy last month.Kate, 32, joined her husband, Prince William, in welcoming the president and first lady of Singapore to the U.K. for their state visit with the queen.There were no signs of the health issue that forced Kate to announce her pregnancy Sept. 8, as the duchess dazzled in an Alexander McQueen dress.“She's feeling OK," Prince William said at that time, referring to the hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition characterized by acute morning sickness, that kept Kate out of the spotlight. "[It's the] early days but I hope things settle down and she feels a bit better."The palace announced Monday that Kate, who is believed to be just past the 12-week period, is due to deliver her and Prince William’s second child in April 2015, meaning the baby’s birth will come right around the time the couple celebrates their fourth wedding anniversary.Tuesday, the focus was all on the couple's royal duties as they greeted Singapore's president and his wife at London's Royal Garden Hotel.The two couples then traveled together to Horse Guards Parade, where the Singaporean leader received a full ceremonial welcome, including a carriage procession to Buckingham Palace with William, Kate, the queen and her husband, Prince Philip.Kate was not planning to attend Tuesday’s private lunch hosted by the queen, however, leaving that duty to Prince William alone.Neither Kate nor William will attend the state dinner. Instead, Kate will be at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards ceremony at the Natural History Museum. She is a royal patron of the museum.Prior to Tuesday’s event, Kate, the mother of 1-year-old Prince George, had not been seen in public since Aug. 5, when she attended the opening of a poppy exhibition at the Tower of London commemorating those lost in World War I.The palace announced Kate's pregnancy a few weeks later when she was forced to cancel an engagement in Oxford with William. She has been recovering with the help of her doctors at Kensington Palace, and at her parents' home in Bucklebury.

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Oscar Pistorius Begins Five-Year Prison Term, but May Be Out in One

Oscar Pistorius Begins Five-Year Prison Term, but May Be Out in One

Herman Verwey/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) — Oscar Pistorius was unemotional as he was driven away Tuesday in a police van to begin a five-year prison term for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, but the paralympic champion could spend less than a year behind bars.Pistorius' demeanor was in contrast to his behavior during much of the trial when he cried, sobbed loudly and vomited in response to testimony about the Valentine's Day shooting in 2013. He was convicted last month of culpable homicide, the American equivalent of manslaughter.Judge Thokozile Masipa kept the courtroom in suspense for more than an hour Tuesday before announcing her sentence, declaring that the sentence has to balance issues such as retribution, restorative justice, rehabilitation and the interest of society.She rejected the defense's argument that Pistorius should be sentenced to house arrest because of his grief and his disability. He has no legs, but became known worldwide as the Blade Runner for his speed on his running prosthetics."I heard witness after witness over-emphasizing the accused's vulnerability," the judge said. "Yes, the accused is vulnerable, but he also has excellent coping skills. He really saw himself as disabled [but] worked hard, and became respected worldwide.""A noncustodial sentence would send the wrong message to the community. But a long sentence would also not be appropriate, because it would lack mercy," she said.Masipa also said Pistorius has had an enormous impact on society."He gave his time and money to charities, and changed the public's perception of disabled people. This cannot be ignored and ought to be put into perspective," Masipa said.The judge gave Pistorius a suspended sentence of three years for a weapons charge.Pistorius, 27, was unemotional as he stood with his hands clasped in front of him while Masipa delivered her sentence. He will be eligible for a sentence conversion after serving one-sixth of his sentence, meaning his sentence could be changed to house arrest after 10 months.Pistorius was led to the court's holding cells Tuesday after court adjourned, and later taken to Kgosi Mampuru II Prison in Pretoria in a police van with barred windows.Prison officials examined Pistorius and decided he would be held in the prison's hospital wing because his notoriety and disability could put him at risk of attack."An assessment of Mr. Pistorius' disability has been made, in accordance with procedure, and he is being held in the hospital section, as the court was assured last week," department spokesman Ofentse Morwane said.Steenkamp's parents were in court to hear the sentence. Her mother, June Steenkamp, who has been in court for almost every day of the trial, said justice had been done.Pistorius' uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said: "Oscar will embrace this opportunity to pay back to society."Pistorius never denied shooting his model-girlfriend, but said it was a case of mistaken identity. He said he fired four times through a locked bathroom door in the middle of the night because he thought there was an intruder in his house.The defense has already indicated that it would not appeal the sentence or conviction, while the state has 14 days to indicate whether it will file an appeal.

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