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Will Russia Retaliate Against American Companies?

Will Russia Retaliate Against American Companies?

Sean Gallup/Getty Images(MOSCOW) — Russia is warning it may retaliate for the latest round of sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.
President Vladimir Putin suggested the sanctions may only impact United States companies that do business in Russia. He pointed to American energy companies like ExxonMobil that have signed major oil exploration deals with Rosneft, the Russian energy giant that was sanctioned on Wednesday.
According to the Financial Times, a senior Moscow banker fears that the Russians will start hurting American companies, possibly by denying visas and blocking deals. But, the sanctions are expected to be tough on the Russian banks and companies that were named.
Russia’s stock market and currency all dropped after the sanctions.
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20 Rockets Found in UN Gaza School

20 Rockets Found in UN Gaza School

David Silverman/Getty Images(UNITED NATIONS) — Twenty rockets were found hidden in a Gaza school run by a United Nations agency, the U.N. revealed Thursday.The munitions were discovered Wednesday, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency said in a statement posted on its site Thursday. The announcement came as Israel and Hamas were in a tenth day of ferocious dueling that has left 227 people dead, only one of which were Israeli.”In the course of the regular inspection of its premises, UNRWA discovered approximately 20 rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip,” the agency said.UNRWA, which supplies shelter and humanitarian aid in Gaza, condemned the storage of the weapons in its school and said, “This incident, which is the first of its kind in Gaza, endangered civilians including staff and put at risk UNRWA’s vital mission to assist and protect Palestine refugees in Gaza.”It said that they “informed the relevant parties and successfully took all necessary measures for the removal of the objects in order to preserve the safety and security of the school.”The agency didn’t identify the location of the school, the types of rockets or who the “relevant parties” were.The announcement bolstered Israeli claims that Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, has used schools, mosques and medical facilities as shields as it fires rockets at Israel.Israel and Hamas resumed launching attacks at each other earlier Thursday after a five-hour long humanitarian pause allowed people in Gaza to rush to markets to stock up on supplies. The halt in the shelling was marred by a flurry of mortar shells lobbed at Israel from Gaza and an Israeli soldier was injured by a blast near the southern Gaza Strip. The Israeli forces held their fire except to respond with mortar fire after the soldier was wounded.The tragedy of the fighting was underlined Wednesday when four Palestinian boys, aged 9 to 11, were killed by Israeli shells while playing on a Gaza beach.The Israeli military said it thwarted an earlier attack by 13 Gaza militants who sneaked into Israel through a tunnel.Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a military spokesman, said the militants were identified about 820 feet inside Israel and were struck by Israeli aircraft. Lerner said the military believed at least one militant was killed in Thursday’s strike. He said the remaining fighters appeared to have returned to Gaza through the tunnel.

Weapons recovered from militants in tunnel from #Gaza to southern community of Sufa pic.twitter.com/ocrqRhwdPg
— Aaron Katersky (@AaronKatersky) July 17, 2014

This was the second time militants infiltrated Israel from Gaza. Israel killed four militants last week who entered from the sea.The president said the United States “will use all of our diplomatic relationships to support closing a deal on a ceasefire.”Israel had halted its attacks for several hours earlier this week, but resumed its military campaign after Hamas fired dozens of rockets at Israel.At least 1,685 people have been injured in Gaza since fighting broke out last week, the health officials said.The battle has broken a two-year lull in hostilities between Israel and Hamas and was triggered by the slaying of three Israeli teens and revenge burning death of a Palestinian teen. Angry protests escalated to rocket launches and retaliatory air strikes.
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FAA Issued Warning Prohibiting Airlines from Flying in Contested Airspace

FAA Issued Warning Prohibiting Airlines from Flying in Contested Airspace

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Although it’s still unclear what caused the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 in eastern Ukraine, multiple aviation organizations issued warnings to international and U.S. carriers cautioning them against flying over parts of the Ukraine.The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued a warning on April 3 that prohibited U.S. flight operations to fly over the contested Crimean region of the Ukraine and additional portions adjacent to the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.A FAA spokesperson confirmed that the warning, called a “notice to airman,” was still in effect Thursday, when a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was reported to have crashed in eastern Ukraine.The warning was made “due to the unilateral and illegal action by Russia to assert control over Crimean airspace,” according to a statement released by the FAA.“This creates the potential for conflicting air traffic control instructions from Ukrainian and Russian authorities and for the related potential misidentification of civil aircraft in this airspace,” read the statement.
The International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency, issued a similar warning. However, that warning was for a different region of the country and advised “air operators of a potentially unsafe situation arising of presence arising from more than one air traffic services provider” in the Simferopol region of the Ukraine. An ICAO spokesperson confirmed the warning was due to both Ukraine and Russia claiming the same airspace in the region.An ICAO spokesperson told ABC News on Thursday that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 appeared to be outside of the Simferopol region when it crashed.
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Inside a Gaza Hospital Under Israeli Rocket Fire

Inside a Gaza Hospital Under Israeli Rocket Fire

Courtesy Joe Catron(GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip) — An American activist has moved into a Gaza City rehabilitation hospital in the hopes of deterring an Israeli military strike on the facility that has been emptied except for 17 rehab patients who are too disabled to leave and the staff to take care of them.Joe Catron, 33, of Virginia, said el-Wafa Hospital in Gaza City has already been hit once with a missile and he said that Israeli threats to strike again amount to “psychological warfare.”Catron is one of eight foreigners who hope to act as human shields for the hospital. He described the band of foreigners — from Venezuela, Sweden, the United Kingdom, France, Australia and Spain — as “deterrents” to help ensure that Israeli rockets do not target the hospital.”We’re hoping that our presence here will increase the price on this particular institution, which is located in a very precarious location,” Catron said to ABC News.Catron first moved to Gaza in 2011 from the United States and has started working with the International Solidarity Movement, a group dedicated to the Palestinian cause. He has been posting politically charged messages to Israeli officials on his Twitter account throughout the attacks.He said the patients in the hospital are either physically unable to leave or have no place to go where they could be cared for.Catron claims that the hospital was hit by four non-explosive rockets on Friday, a warning “knock” used by the Israeli Defense Forces to give building occupants a chance to evacuate before more destructive weapons take aim at the location.Catron told ABC News that a larger rocket equipped with explosives slammed into the hospital’s fourth floor later Friday evening, but no one was hurt because the top floors had previously been evacuated as a safety precaution.After the rocket hit on Friday evening, Catron said that the hospital received a call from “an Arab speaker with an Israeli accent” asking about whether there were any injuries on the fourth floor and if they were planning on evacuating.Since then, the hospital was called by people identifying themselves as members of the Israeli Defense Forces “asking and demanding that it be evacuated,” Catron said.Hospital officials called Catron and the other foreigners and asked to have the group come to be a symbolic shield for the patients who were unable to leave the building, he said. ABC News has confirmed the presence of the activists with hospital administrators but they were not available for further comment.The hospital does not treat emergency cases and specializes in physical rehabilitation. Catron said that the facility was originally treating 14 patients but three have since been transferred from Al-Shifa Hospital, which houses Gaza City’s main emergency room.The 17 patients now in el-Wafa are mostly critical cases, some with injuries sustained from automobile accidents and near drownings. They remain in the care of the approximately two dozen healthcare workers and hospital administrators who have refused to evacuate.”Everyone’s who is here now intends to stay. Everyone who is going to leave has already left,” Catron said.Much of the area of north Gaza near el-Wafa has been subjected to similar robo calls and leaflets from Israel telling residents to evacuate for their safety.
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Obama Announces Expanded Sanctions Against Russia

Obama Announces Expanded Sanctions Against Russia

White House(WASHINGTON) — The Obama administration is imposing new, deeper sanctions on Russia for its intervention in Ukraine, targeting Russian banks and energy and defense firms.“Given its continued provocations in Ukraine, today I have approved a new set of sanctions on some of Russia’s largest companies and financial institutions,” President Obama announced in a short statement in the White House briefing room Wednesday.“I’ve repeatedly made it clear that Russia must halt the flow of weapons and fighters across the border into Ukraine, that Russia must urge separatists to release their hostages and support a ceasefire, that Russia needs to pursue internationally mediated talks and agree to meaningful monitors on the border — I’ve made this clear directly to Mr. Putin,” he said. “So far, Russia has failed to take any of the steps that I mentioned.”“These sanctions are significant but they are also targeted, designed to have the maximum effect on Russia while limiting any spillover effects on American companies,” the president added. “The Russian leadership will see once again that its action has consequences.”The sanctions were expanded in consultation with European allies, Obama said, noting that though the U.S. prefers diplomatic solutions, “We have to see concrete actions and not just words that Russia in fact is committed to trying to end this conflict.”“Like any people, the Ukrainians deserve the right to forge their own destiny,” he said. “We’re going to continue to stand with the Ukrainian people as they seek to determine their own future.”The U.S. Department of the Treasury on Wednesday imposed what it called “a broad-based package of sanctions on entities in the financial services, energy and arms or related materiel sectors of Russia, and on those undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty or misappropriating Ukrainian property.”Among the firms targeted is Kalashnikov Concern, the company that makes AK-47s.“Russia has continued to destabilize Ukraine and provide support for the separatists, despite its statements to the contrary,” Under-Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen said in a statement.“Because Russia has failed to meet the basic standards of international conduct, we are acting today to open Russia’s financial services and energy sectors to sanctions and limit the access of two key Russian banks and two key energy firms to U.S. sources of financing, and to impose blocking sanctions against eight arms firms and a set of senior Russian officials,” Cohen said.
 

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State Department: Afghan Election Audits Set

State Department: Afghan Election Audits Set

U.S. Department of State(KABUL, Afghanistan) — The Independent Election Commission in Afghanistan is set to begin its audit of all the country’s ballot boxes Thursday, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaky announced. Initially, the review of nearly 8 million votes was scheduled for July 13, 24 hours after both presidential candidates agreed to the audit plan. Amid issues of who would lead the process, Psaki clarified Wednesday that the IEC will conduct the examination under “close supervision” of the United Nations. Candidate Ashraf Ghani told the BBC that both he and contendor Abdullah Abdullah, “appreciate Secretary Kerry’s contribution and administration in shuttling between us.” Secretary of State John Kerry helped in facilitating the agreement last Saturday.
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Israel, Hamas Agree to Five-Hour Humanitarian Aid Cease-Fire

Israel, Hamas Agree to Five-Hour Humanitarian Aid Cease-Fire

David Silverman/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) — Israel agreed Wednesday to halt its attack on Hamas targets in Gaza for five hours on Thursday to allow residents of Gaza to get food and other humanitarian aid.Israel agreed to suspend its attacks after the United Nations appealed for a break in the violence for humanitarian reasons. Hamas will also participate in the cease-fire, ABC News confirmed Wednesday. Israel said it would stop its aerial and naval bombardment of Gaza sites starting at 10 a.m. local time Thursday (3 a.m. ET) and that its suspension would last until 3 p.m. (8 a.m. ET)”This humanitarian window is meant to allow the civilian population of the Gaza Strip to engage in resupply for their humanitarian needs,” a statement from the Israel Defense Forces stated.”Should the humanitarian window be exploited by Hamas or other terror organizations for the purpose of launching attacks against Israeli civilian or military targets the IDF will respond firmly and decisively,” the statement said.Israel also warned that residents of the towns Beit Lahyia, Shuja’iya and Zeitoun — who had been warned by Israel to evacuate their homes for their own safety — should not return after 3 p.m.
Israel’s announcement came after an appeal from Robert Serry, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.The willingness of Israel to halt its attack came after four Palestinian boys playing on a Gaza beach were killed by Israeli fire. Israel, which has contended that Hamas hides its rocket launchers and arsenals in populated areas, said it would look into the circumstances of the boys’ deaths.In the hours before Sperry’s calls for a temporary suspension of attacks, there was no indication that Israel or Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, was willing to agree to a cease-fire that had been proposed by Egypt earlier this week. Israel had halted its attacks for several hours earlier this week, but resumed its military campaign after Hamas fired dozens of rockets at Israel.An additional 8,000 Israeli military reservists were called up Wednesday, Israel announced. They will join the 40,000 reservists that have already been called up, with many of them poised along with tanks on Israel’s border with Gaza.And a senior Hamas official announced that the Islamic militant group has formally closed the door on the Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire aimed at ending the conflict with Israel.International officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, seemed hopeful that the peace deal could still work even after Hamas ignored the cease-fire proposal Tuesday and continued to fire rockets at Israel. Israel responded after a six-hour break with a fresh barrage of aerial and naval attacks at what they called terrorist sites. The death toll in the nine-day slugfest reached 214, all but one of them Palestinians and many of them civilians and children, according to Gaza health officials. At least 1,550 people have been injured in Gaza since fighting broke out last week, the health officials said.Tens of thousands of Gazans have fled their homes after Israeli leaflets and robo calls to their homes urged them to evacuate their homes.“The evacuation is for your own safety,” the leaflets read. “You should not return to the premises until further notice. Whoever disregards these instructions and fails to evacuate immediately, endangers their own lives, as well as those of their families.”Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, would pay a price for rejecting the cease-fire and launching more rockets at Israel.
“Our answer is fire,” he said.The battle has broken a two-year lull in hostilities between Israel and Hamas and was triggered by the slaying of three Israeli teens and revenge burning death of a Palestinian teen. Angry protests escalated to rocket launches and retaliatory air strikes.
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Two Detained in Moscow Subway Crash; Death Toll Up to 23

Two Detained in Moscow Subway Crash; Death Toll Up to 23

Gleb Shchelkunov/Kommersant Photo via Getty Images(MOSCOW) — Two men have been detained in connection with Tuesday’s subway crash in Moscow that left at least 23 people dead.A track foreman and his assistant are suspected of criminal negligence. Authorities say they failed to install a switch properly which may have led to the crash. The exact cause of the accident is still a mystery. Investigators are also looking into whether that switch was defective. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Moscow observed a day of mourning as the death toll continues to rise.
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Russia to Re-Open Spy Base in Cuba?

Russia to Re-Open Spy Base in Cuba?

iStock/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) — The Cold War may be rearing its head again just off the Florida coast.Russia reportedly plans to re-open its massive Cold War era spy hub in Cuba.The Russian newspaper Kommersant reports that during his visit to Havana last week, President Vladimir Putin inked a deal to re-establish the Lourdes signal intelligence center, which during its heyday was the largest Soviet signal interceptor, just a short hop from Florida. Russia closed the base in 2001 amid financial woes and U.S. pressure — but amid fresh tensionswith the U.S., it may soon be back in business.
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Pope Francis Wants US to Do More to Protect Kids Crossing Border

Pope Francis Wants US to Do More to Protect Kids Crossing Border

Buda Mendes/Getty Images(ROME) — Pope Francis has called on the U.S. government to do more to protect the thousands of migrant children crossing the Rio Grande.In a letter read aloud to a conference in Mexico City Tuesday, the pope wrote that the unaccompanied children of undocumented migrants face “racist and xenophobic attitudes.”  He called for these children to be welcomed and protected in the U.S. and for the government to develop policies that inform people of the dangers of the border crossing journey. More needs to be done, Pope Francis said, to promote economic development in the home countries of the people fleeing poverty and violence.Since October, more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors have been detained by U.S. immigration agents. Most come from gang-controlled areas in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Since becoming leader of the Catholic church more than a year ago, Pope Francis has been an outspoken defender of migrants’ rights around the world.
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Israeli Strike Kills Four Boys Playing on Gaza Beach

Israeli Strike Kills Four Boys Playing on Gaza Beach

iStock/Thinkstock(GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip) — Four boys who were playing on a beach in Gaza were killed by an Israeli barrage Wednesday, according to witnesses — the latest grim fatalities in the aerial battle between Israel and the militant group Hamas.The military strike landed near a hotel where many of the foreign media are staying and the blast and its aftermath were witnessed by some of the media.The boys were between the ages of 9 and 11 and all had the same last name and are believed to be from the same family, Palestinian authorities said.ABC News found a concrete structure leveled at the site of the blast and witnessed the mangled body of one of the boys pulled from the wreckage.
Other people were also said to have been wounded in the strike.
Israel has sent leaflets and made robo calls telling tens of thousands of people in Gaza to evacuate their homes to avoid civilian deaths and injuries, and contends that Hamas has hidden its arsenals and rockets in civilian areas.
 

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Severe Turbulence Sends Passengers Flying from Their Seats

Severe Turbulence Sends Passengers Flying from Their Seats

GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images(JOHANNESBURG) — A South African Airways flight has landed safely in Hong Kong Wednesday after the aircraft was struck with severe turbulence that left 20 people injured, the airline said.According to a statement from the airline, medical personnel met the plane at the Hong Kong airport to assist the 17 passengers and three crew members injured on Flight 286, which had departed Johannesburg Tuesday.An infant was among the injured passengers, the airline said, and two of the people onboard sustained serious injuries. Some of the injured have already been released from the local hospitals treating passengers and crew in Hong Kong.The turbulence occurred as the aircraft flew over Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital. Interior panels of the aircraft were damaged and the plane’s cabin was cracked during the incident.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Israel Launches Airstrikes After Telling Gaza Residents to Flee

Israel Launches Airstrikes After Telling Gaza Residents to Flee

iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) — Israel launched a new round of airstrikes Wednesday, targeting senior Hamas officials in the enduring conflict with militants in Gaza.The airstrikes come as the death toll for the nine-day conflict reached 208, all but one of them Palestinians, many of them civilians and children. At least 1,550 people have been injured in Gaza since fighting broke out last week, health officials say.Hamas countered by firing rockets. Many of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s so-called Iron Dome missile defense system.Before Wednesday’s airstrikes, tens of thousands of residents in Gaza received phone calls and leaflets advising them to evacuate their homes.“The evacuation is for your own safety,” the leaflets read. “You should not return to the premises until further notice. Whoever disregards these instructions and fails to evacuate immediately, endangers their own lives, as well as those of their families.”The latest Israeli barrage comes one day after Israel’s Cabinet approved a cease-fire measure proposed by Egypt. But after Hamas rejected the terms of the cease-fire and fired 47 rockets at Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unleashed his military again.”Hamas chose to continue fighting and will pay the price for that decision,” Netanyahu said.The battle has broken a two-year lull in hostilities between Israel and Hamas and was triggered by the slaying of three Israeli teens and revenge burning death of a Palestinian teen. Angry protests escalated to rocket launches and retaliatory air strikes.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Lawmakers Elect Speaker of Iraqi Parliament

Lawmakers Elect Speaker of Iraqi Parliament

iStock/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) — Iraq’s parliament overcame weeks of deadlocks Tuesday by picking a new speaker.Although there’s still plenty of work ahead to form a new government, the selection of Sunni moderate Salim al-Jubouri signals that lawmakers are making some attempts to get around serious differences amid the threat of Islamic extremists seeking to take control of Baghdad and southern Iraq.As dictated by the Iraqi constitution, the speaker was destined to be a Sunni. Next comes the selection of a Kurdish president and, ultimately, lawmakers will pick a new prime minister from a Shiite bloc.Whether that will be incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has yet to be seen, given his unpopularity with Sunnis and Kurds, along with Maliki’s refusal to form a unity government to band together against the Islamic State.Although returning Maliki to power would demonstrate some continuity, parliament also runs the risk of completely disenfranchising Sunnis and Kurds if he wins another term as prime minister.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Civilian Deaths Outpacing Armed Casualties in Gaza and Israel

Civilian Deaths Outpacing Armed Casualties in Gaza and Israel

iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) — The fatality count in the ongoing attacks between Israel and Gaza rose Tuesday, following the failure of the proposed cease-fire agreement. The first Israeli casualty was reported since the violence started on July 7 and the number of both civilian and non-civilian Palestinian fatalities continued to grow.The United Nations Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released Palestinian fatality figures at 3 p.m. Tuesday in Jerusalem, which stated that 192 people have been killed in Gaza since attacks began.Those individuals were classified into groups of 143 civilians, 30 members of armed groups, and 19 individuals whose affiliation was undetermined at the time of the release.
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Israel Hammers Rocket Launchers, Tunnels in Fresh Gaza Barrage

Israel Hammers Rocket Launchers, Tunnels in Fresh Gaza Barrage

iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) — Israel hammered what it called terrorist sites in Gaza Tuesday after ending a brief one-sided ceasefire, taking out rocket launchers, tunnels and weapons depots.The fresh Israeli barrage came as about 125 rockets were fired at Israel since 9 a.m. local time Tuesday. The rockets claimed their first Israeli fatality in the week-long slugfest between Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip.The attacks came after Israel halted its naval and air bombardment of Hamas targets for six hours in response to an Egyptian-sponsored ceasefire proposal. Hamas rejected the terms of the ceasefire and fired another 47 rockets at Israel, which is when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unleashed his military again.”Hamas chose to continue fighting and will pay the price for that decision,” Netanyahu said in an address to the country Tuesday.The Israeli Defense Forces said that since it resumed its offensive, it has attacked 20 concealed rocket launchers, tunnels, weapons storage facilities and “operational infrastructure.”Israel has massed tanks and troops near Gaza’s border and Netanyahu has threatened a ground invasion, but it’s not clear whether an invasion was about to occur.The fighting has left at least 195 Palestinians dead and more than 1,400 injured, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.There was briefly some optimism that the fighting would stop after the Israeli Cabinet accepted Egypt’s proposal for a cease-fire, but Hamas rejected the proposal.The Egyptian plan called for hostilities to end on Tuesday, followed by negotiations on easing the border blockade of Gaza.But about two hours after the cease-fire initiative should have taken effect, multiple rockets were launched from Gaza, intended for southern Israel. Many of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s “Iron Dome” defense system.

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Oscar Pistorius’ Family Cites ‘Self Harming Behavior’ After Club Altercation

Oscar Pistorius’ Family Cites ‘Self Harming Behavior’ After Club Altercation

Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) — Oscar Pistorius’ family said Tuesday that going to a nightclub where he got into an altercation in the middle of his murder trial was “unwise” and worried that the paralympian known as the “Blade Runner” was increasingly involved in “self-harming behavior.”Pistorius’ uncle, Leo Pistorius, issued the statement after Oscar Pistorius had a confrontation in a club Saturday in which he was alleged to have been grilled about the trial, insulted the family of South Africa’s president and pushed to the ground.Leo Pistorius said “some of the outrageous claims simply cannot stand uncorrected.”The uncle also suggested that the family disapproved of Oscar Pistorius’ trip to the nightclub, saying that going there “whilst his court case is still underway was unwise.”Leo Pistorius added, however, “Those of us closest to him have been witness to his escalating sense of loneliness and alienation. This, we believe, is underlying some of his self-harming behavior.””As a family we are counseling Oscar to find ways of dealing with his feelings of isolation,” the uncle wrote.He said the family believes “that Oscar is grappling with an extreme level of emotional pain that is manifesting itself in some of his recent unwise actions and choices.”Oscar Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, early in the morning of Valentine’s Day last year. The legless sprinter insists he shot her through a closed bathroom door thinking she was an intruder. He faces at least 25 years in prison if convicted.A report written by a court appointed psychiatrist who examined Pistorius concluded that the athlete was being treated by a psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist and “Should he not receive proper clinical care, his condition is likely to worsen and increase the risk for suicide.”Pistorius’ lawyer, Barry Roux, told the court that Pistorius suffers from “post-traumatic stress disorder, and a major depressive disorder.”South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority said Tuesday the club incident will have no bearing on the trial since Pistorius did not violate his bail conditions. South African police are not investigating the incident because no complaint was registered.The statement by Leo Pistorius also challenged the version of events offered by Jared Mortimer, the man who had the confrontation with Oscar Pistorius on Saturday night in the VIP Room. Mortimer has told South African media that Oscar Pistorius poked him in the chest, insulted his friends and the family of President Jacob Zuma.”We wish to categorically state that there is absolutely no truth to this man’s assertions that Oscar, for instance, insulted the president of South Africa,” the statement said. “Oscar was at school with one of President Zuma’s sons and liked him a lot. Oscar also has great appreciation of President’s Zuma’s extraordinary support of the paralympians.”Leo Pistorius added, “My investigations indicate that Mortimer was the aggressor and eyewitnesses confirm this.”
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Amanda Knox’s Co-Defendant Finds Himself Innocent in College Thesis

Amanda Knox’s Co-Defendant Finds Himself Innocent in College Thesis

Franco Origlia/Getty Images(ROME) — Amanda Knox’s ex-boyfriend and co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito was awarded a degree in information technology Tuesday with a thesis that studied his own name on social networks and analyzed his legal case.Sollecito and Knox were recently convicted for the murder of Knox’s former roommate, Meredith Kercher. The former lovers have spent four years in an Italian prison and have been convicted, found not guilty and convicted again in a trial and two appeals. Knox and Sollecito are appealing their latest conviction.Sollecito was awarded a degree in information technology from Verona University, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.His thesis for the degree analyzed social media, including mentions of his name and his case. Sollecito, who wrote the thesis in English and defended it orally in Italian, concluded that his name was more often linked to the word “innocent” than “guilty,” ANSA reported.“I did an experiment on myself” he told ANSA.Knox, 27, and Sollecito, 30, had been dating for about a week in November 2007 when Kercher was found with her throat cut in the bedroom of the Perugia cottage that she shared with Knox and two Italian women. The case became an international sensation and both Knox and Sollecito have written books about their ordeal.Sollecito is facing a 25-year prison term if his conviction is upheld by Italy’s supreme court. Knox, who is living in Seattle, has been sentenced to 28.5 years in prison.
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Large Suicide Attack Kills Dozens in Afghanistan

Large Suicide Attack Kills Dozens in Afghanistan

iStock/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) — A large suicide attack in eastern Afghanistan Tuesday morning left at least 41 people dead, including six children and two policemen.Sixty-seven others were also wounded when a suicide bomber blew up his vehicle loaded with explosives in a busy marketplace in the province of Paktika. Tuesday’s attack was one of the biggest ones on Afghan civilians in years.According to the United Nations, attacks on civilians have spiked this year — up 25 percent — with nearly 5,000 civilians killed or wounded since the beginning of the year.
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Israel Hasn’t Asked for Access to US Arsenal Stored in Israel

Israel Hasn’t Asked for Access to US Arsenal Stored in Israel

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Should Israel find itself low on ammunition, it can tap into a stockpile of a billion dollars worth of American weapons stored in Israel by the United States for emergencies. So far, Israel has not requested access to the stockpile during the current hostilities with Hamas in Gaza.The little-known stockpile is officially known as War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition-Israel (WRSA-I) and has been maintained inside Israel since the 1990s by United States European Command. It is a congressionally approved program that has grown in scope in recent years.The location of the stockpile as well as the types and quantities of ammunition it stores are classified. However, a Congressional Research Service report from April says “the United States stores missiles, armored vehicles and artillery ammunition” in the stockpile.A U.S. defense official says “this program consists of U.S. owned and U.S. managed ammunition stockpiles in Israel for use by either U.S. or Israeli forces.” Though the weapons in the stockpile belong to the United States, they are essentially for Israel’s use when they ask for it should they run low on certain stocks of ammunition in emergency situations.The official said Israel has not requested to use ammunition stored in this stockpile as it did during the 2006 war with Hezbollah.The size and scope of the arsenal has grown since it was first established in the 1990s. It initially held $100 million worth of ammunition, but by 2010 Congress had authorized $800 million worth of ammunition to be stored there. The defense official says the amount of ammunition in the stockpile is now worth about $1 billion.Israel’s access to the American ammunition can be done fairly quickly once there is presidential approval.“If the president authorizes release to Israel, an ‘emergency’ Foreign Military Sales case is processed by the DoD [Department of Defense] and the ammunition is sold to Israel,” said the official.Use of the stockpile in case of an emergency “is defined and authorized by the president,” said the official. The transfer of the munitions to Israeli control “can take place in a matter of hours of a presidential authorization.”The Congressional Research Service Report says “the government of Israel pays for approximately 90 percent of transportation, storage and maintenance costs associated with the WRSA-I program.”
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