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Harvest Moon Lights Up the Night Sky

Harvest Moon Lights Up the Night Sky

NASA/Bill Ingalls(NEW YORK) — A “super moon” lit up the sky Monday, the third such occurrence this summer.

The glowing orb could be seen around sunset, providing a beautiful evening backdrop.

People tried to capture photos of the moon, which is also classified as a harvest moon because it falls the closest to this year’s autumnal equinox on Sept. 22.

Stunning views of the moon could be seen across the world.

In the days before electricity, the harvest moon illuminated the fields, allowing farmers to tend to their crops under the night sky, according to EarthSky.

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Poroshenko Vows Not to Give Up Territory to Russia

Poroshenko Vows Not to Give Up Territory to Russia

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(KIEV, Ukraine) — Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko vowed Monday that his government will not give up land in the east that pro-Moscow rebels contend is actually Russian territory.

Poroshenko made that pledge during a visit to the southeastern Ukraine city of Mariupol while also promising to protect the port city from separatists who’ve been on the offensive not far from where he spoke to Ukrainian military forces.

A cease-fire agreed to by Kiev, Moscow and the separatists has been in effect since last Friday although there have been some instances of fighting since then.

Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly spoke by phone Monday to affirm their support for the truce to end months of conflict first spurred last March by Crimea’s split from Ukraine to join the Russian Federation.

Although Ukraine and the rebels mostly agreed to provisions of the cease-fire, including prisoner swaps, Poroshenko has already said he would not accept the separatists’ bid for full autonomy.

Adding to the tension is the European Union proposal for another round of sanctions against Moscow for its meddling in Ukraine’s affairs.

The Kremlin, meanwhile, has threatened to respond by possibly banning Western flights over its airspace.

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US Military Confirms Five More Airstrikes in Iraq, Including Strike Against ISIS Ground Unit

US Military Confirms Five More Airstrikes in Iraq, Including Strike Against ISIS Ground Unit

pablographix/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ERBIL, Iraq) — U.S military aircraft confirmed that it had conducted five new airstrikes against targets related to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria on Monday.

According to U.S. Central Command, the latest strikes utilized attack, fighter and remotely-operated aircraft on Sunday and Monday. Undertaken to support Iraqi forces near Erbil and the Sunni tribes near the Haditha Dam, the strikes destroyed three armed vehicles and a Humvee. One of the vehicles was holding anti-aircraft artillery, Central Command said.

Of note, the strikes also reportedly targeted a large ISIS ground unit near the dam.

Since August, the U.S. Central Command has reported conducting 148 airstrikes across Iraq.

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Afghan Presidential Candidate Continues to Reject Election Outcome

Afghan Presidential Candidate Continues to Reject Election Outcome

Photo by Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Despite international pressure, one of the candidates for president of Afghanistan continues to reject his election loss, declaring himself the winner.

Abdullah Abdullah announced on Monday that he would not accept the formation of a national unity government in Afghanistan. The elections, Abdullah claims, were rigged. Despite an ongoing audit of the ballots, supervised by the United Nations and international observers, which is expected to confirm the election of Dr. Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah claims that he was the deserving victor.

Monday, Abdullah disavowed violence in the case that Ghani is declared the winner at the end of the audit. Still, he said, he will be unable to control his sizable number of supporters.

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Kerry Hails Iraqi Parliament’s Formation of New Government

Kerry Hails Iraqi Parliament’s Formation of New Government

State Department photo/Public Domain(WASHINGTON) — Secretary of State John Kerry appeared in the State Department briefing room Monday to hail the Iraqi parliament’s formation of a new government, even as two major cabinet positions — Interior and Defense — remain vacant.

“Tonight we mark what is unquestionably a major milestone for Iraq, and what President Obama has made clear will be a cornerstone of our efforts against ISIL,” Kerry said.

He framed the formation of the unity government amid the broader backdrop of a U.S.-led coalition to combat the threat of ISIS.

“As we build this coalition, I want to underscore that almost every single country on Earth has a role to play in eliminating the ISIL threat and the evil that it represents,” Kerry said. He urged all countries that will be involved in the coalition to support the newly-formed government.

Kerry also stressed that the struggle against ISIS will be measured in months and years, not days and weeks.

“Our global, coordinated campaign with a global, coordinated coalition will be built not just in a matter of days or weeks but it will be built to endure for the months and perhaps even the years to come,” he said.

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Prince William and Wife Kate Expecting Their Second Child

Prince William and Wife Kate Expecting Their Second Child

Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images(LONDON) — Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate — the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — are expecting their second child, royal officials confirmed Monday.

“The Queen and members of both families are delighted with the news,” a statement reads.

As with her first pregnancy for son George Alexander Louis, now 1, Kate is suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a condition characterized by very acute morning sickness, officials said. She is being treated for the condition at Kensington Palace, the royal residence.

Baby George is third in line to the British throne after his father and his grandfather, Prince Charles.

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US Air Marshal in ‘Quarantine’ After Syringe Attack in Nigeria

US Air Marshal in ‘Quarantine’ After Syringe Attack in Nigeria

PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images(HOUSTON) — A federal air marshal is in quarantine in Houston Monday after being attacked Sunday night by an unknown assailant wielding a syringe at the Lagos, Nigeria, airport.

U.S. law enforcement officials told ABC News they were alarmed by the bizarre, unprovoked attack because the assailant was apparently able to inject an unknown substance into the back of one of the air marshal’s arms.

The air marshal was traveling with a team of other marshals when the attack took place in an unsecured area of the airport terminal in Lagos, the officials said.

He was able to board the United Airlines flight to Houston on which he was scheduled to work and was met early Monday morning in Houston by FBI agents and health workers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A spokesman for the CDC had no immediate comment.

While the unknown assailant ran away and could not be located, officials said the other air marshals on the team were able to secure the needle and bring it on the flight for testing in the U.S.

Amid fears the substance could contain some form of the Ebola virus, the air marshal was immediately put into quarantine at an undisclosed location in Houston.

Health experts say most infectious agents would not immediately manifest or make the patient contagious.

U.S. air marshals travel undercover in plain clothes and it would not be immediately obvious to an attacker that his target was an American law enforcement agent, officials say.

“While there is no immediate intelligence to confirm this was a targeted attack, this is our reminder that international cowards will attempt to take sneaky lethal shots at our honorable men and women abroad,” said Jon Adler, the national president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.

The Lagos airport has long been considered a possible target for the terror group Boko Haram, which has conducted a series of deadly attacks across Nigeria.

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Pentagon to Send Field Hospital to Liberia for Ebola Outbreak

Pentagon to Send Field Hospital to Liberia for Ebola Outbreak

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Pentagon will soon be sending a 25-bed field deployable hospital to Monrovia, Liberia, to help with the Ebola outbreak there.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said on Monday that the U.S. will deliver the hospital to meet a USAID request. He said no U.S. military personnel will be involved in providing health care from the hospital.

“We will set it up, stockpile it and turn it over to the government of Liberia for their use,” said Warren. He explained that “the intent of this piece of equipment is to provide a facility that health care workers in the affected region can use for themselves if they become ill or injured.”

It’s unclear when the field hospital will be delivered or by what means. 

“The planning for that is ongoing, it is not en route yet,” said Warren. “It’s a top priority and we expect it to get there rapidly.”

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Flooding in India, Pakistan Leaves More than 300 Dead

Flooding in India, Pakistan Leaves More than 300 Dead

iStock/Thinkstock(ISLAMABAD) — The death toll from flooding in India and Pakistan continues to rise, with more than three hundred people dead and tens of thousands left homeless. 

The worst-hit area is the Himalayan city of Kashmir, where after six straight days of rain, parts of the city remain underwater. Hundreds of villages have been washed away.

Both India and Pakistan’s armies have been called in to help rescue stranded villagers on their own sides of the border.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif spent the weekend touring flood-hit areas by helicopter.

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Princes William, Harry React to Royal Baby News

Princes William, Harry React to Royal Baby News

Tom Dulat/Getty Images for Invictus Games(LONDON) — Britain’s Prince Harry needed just one word to describe his feelings about being pushed one step further from the monarch with Monday’s news that his brother, Prince William, is expecting a second child with Duchess Kate.

“Great,” Prince Harry, 29, said when asked by BBC News’ Peter Hunt at an event in London for the Invictus Games, an athletic competition for wounded warriors.

Harry will now become fifth-in-line to the British throne, following his father, Prince Charles, his brother, William, his nephew, Prince George, and, now, this unborn child who is expected to be born in the spring.

“I can’t wait to see my brother suffer more and, with any luck, if it’s a girl he’ll suffer even greater,” Harry joked of William becoming a father-of-two. “I’d love to see him try and cope with that.”

For now, William, 32, is focused on helping Kate cope with hyperemesis gravidarum, a form of acute morning sickness that appeared to force Kensington Palace to announce Kate’s pregnancy earlier than they would have liked.

The duchess is not yet 12 weeks pregnant, Palace officials told ABC News. She was scheduled to travel to Oxford, England, on Monday with William for an event but is instead being treated by doctors at Kensington Palace.

“She’s feeling OK,” Prince William said in Oxford. “[It's the] early days but I hope things settle down and she feels a bit better.”

Prince Harry too said that his sister-in-law was feeling “pretty poorly” the last time he saw her, although he did not say when that was.

“Luckily I’m not a woman, so I don’t have to go through that and nor do you,” Harry said to Hunt. “So it’s a pretty horrible thing to have to go through but she’s doing…as best she can.”

“I hope my sister-in-law gets better soon and the two of them have the opportunity to, I suppose, go through the whole process again in a little bit of peace and quiet,” Harry added.

News of Middleton’s first pregnancy, with Prince George, broke in December 2012 when she was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in London with the same illness.

She gave birth to George the following July and he is now walking and learning to swim.

“I think George will be over the moon,” Harry said of his 14-month-old nephew. “He’ll be thrilled having another younger smaller brother or sister. So we’ll wait and see.”

“The family continues to grow,” he said.

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Will Ukraine Cease-Fire Hold Much Longer?

Will Ukraine Cease-Fire Hold Much Longer?

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(KIEV, Ukraine) — The cease-fire deal negotiated last Friday by Russia and Ukraine is already showing signs of falling apart at the seams.

One of the hot spots in eastern Ukraine is the key port city of Mariupol with reports of rocket attacks on government forces.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military-held airport in the rebel-controlled city of Donetsk has also come under fire.

The chairman of the Supreme Council of the Donetsk People’s Republic said Sunday that while the parties agreed to end five months of fighting in eastern Ukraine, “the battles are continuing.”

A full 12-point cease-fire agreement that consisted of only a page-and-a-half of stipulations was made public Sunday. Among the items listed were concessions made by Kiev to give more autonomy to Russia-friendly Ukrainians in the east.  However, it was unclear how much leeway the central government would grant the separatists.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is not willing to allow full independence to rebels interested in merging with the Russian Federation, similar to what happened with Crimea.

There is also some grumbling among Ukrainians that Poroshenko was interested in a quick truce because his forces would not be able to withstand Russian military might.

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What to Expect from Monday’s Harvest Moon

What to Expect from Monday’s Harvest Moon

A super moon from Aug. 10, 2014, is pictured. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)(NEW YORK) — After two majestic super moons this summer, get ready for Monday night’s grand finale when the harvest moon lights up the sky.

Sky gazers across North America can expect to see a glowing orb around sunset — providing a beautiful backdrop for Instagram photos or an evening stroll.

The full moon will be the one closest to this year’s autumnal equinox, which falls on Sept. 22, giving it the distinction of being the harvest moon. It is expected to reach its full phase at 9:38 p.m. ET.

In the days before electricity, the harvest moon illuminated the fields, allowing farmers to tend to their crops under the night sky, according to EarthSky.

The early Harvest Moon also qualifies as a super moon because it turns full less than one day after the moon reaches its closest point to Earth for the month.

The super moon is part of a trio of summer super moons that illuminated the Northern Hemisphere.

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Palestinian President Threatens to Dissolve Unity Government

Palestinian President Threatens to Dissolve Unity Government

Chris Hondros/Getty Images(RAMALLAH, West Bank) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to withdraw from the recently unified Palestinian government unless Hamas disarms and surrenders control of more than 25 ministries.

During a diplomatic visit to Cairo this weekend, Abbas went public about his power struggle with Hamas, who he says accuses of running a “shadow government.”

The open-ended truce in Gaza is holding firm nearly two weeks after its inception, though deep divisions in Palestinian leadership are threatening to impede progress.

The leader added that the group refuses to turn over control of Gaza.

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Kerry, Arab League Secretary General: ‘International Community Must Stand Together’ Against ISIS

Kerry, Arab League Secretary General: ‘International Community Must Stand Together’ Against ISIS

U.S. Department of State(WASHINGTON) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed efforts to combat militant group ISIS with Secretary of the Arab League Nabil Elaraby.

During the call Saturday, the two talked of the need for Arab League members to take a strong position in the coalition developing against ISIS, along with the importance of “decisive action to stop the flow of foreign fighters,” according to a senior state department official.

The discussion came ahead of Arab League meetings, which start Sunday.

Kerry highlighted the idea that military action is only a portion of the effort, and “that to degrade and destroy the threat posted by ISIL will require a holistic approach that will take time, persistence, and require coordination with our Arab partners.”

Both Kerry and Elaraby acknowledged the fact that the international community must work together to aid Iraq in combatting the threat posed by ISIS.

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Pentagon Confirms New Airstrikes Near Iraq’s Haditha Dam

Pentagon Confirms New Airstrikes Near Iraq’s Haditha Dam

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. military conducted coordinated airstrikes against ISIS in the area of the Haditha Dam in Iraq, officials announced Saturday.

“We conducted these strikes to prevent terrorists from further threatening the security of the dam, which remains under control of Iraqi Security Forces, with support from Sunni tribes,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement.

Fighter and bomber aircraft controlled by U.S. Central Command participated in the four strikes, under the authority to protect U.S. personnel and facilities, support humanitarian efforts, and support Iraqi forces “that are acting in furtherance of these objective,” Kirby added.

The strikes destroyed five ISIS Humvees, one armed vehicle, a checkpoint, and also damaged an ISIS bunker.

The Haditha Dam, located in Anbar province, provides fresh water for millions of Iraqis.

“The potential loss of control of the dam or a catastrophic failure of the dam – and the flooding that might result – would have threatened U.S. personnel and facilities in and around Baghdad, as well as thousands of Iraqi citizens,” Kirby said.

Another attack near the Mosul Dam on Saturday damaged an ISIS Humvee as part of an effort to support Iraqi forces protecting the area.

U.S. Central Command has conducted a total of 138 airstrikes across Iraq, according to officials.

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Steven Sotloff’s Editor Says He Got to ‘the Core of What People Were Thinking’

Steven Sotloff’s Editor Says He Got to ‘the Core of What People Were Thinking’

iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) — The public is now learning more about American reporter Steven Sotloff following his murder by ISIS.

Sotloff, who took citizenship in Israel and wrote for Israeli newspapers, had a gift for capturing how ordinary people were affected by the Arab Spring, from Yemen to Egypt to Libya, his colleagues say.

Israel-based reporter Ilene Prusher, who was Sotloff’s editor for the Jerusalem Report in 2011 and 2012, says Sotloff’s murder is a great loss for journalists and the public.

Prusher says, “He would write things like, ‘We’re afraid the regime will basically just slaughter us and the world will do nothing.’ Or, ‘we asked for democracy and we got bullets.’ You know, he had this way of getting to the core of what people were thinking.”

Sotloff’s ties to Israel were reportedly kept away from the public eye once he was captured so as to not endanger his life.

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Officials Raise Concerns Over British Hostage David Haines

Officials Raise Concerns Over British Hostage David Haines

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — Officials are raising concerns over British hostage David Haines, an aid worker kidnapped by the Islamic State since 2013.

The 44-year-old is believed to be held in Syria.

Prime Minister David Cameron is urging Western leaders not to pay ransom for citizens captured by militants, with the British government maintaining that it will not be deterred from launching air strikes in the future against extremists.

ISIS has already beheaded two American journalists.

Haines worked for aid agencies in several regions around the world, including Libya and South Sudan.

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New Dinosaur ‘Dreadnoughtus’ Discovered in Argentina

New Dinosaur ‘Dreadnoughtus’ Discovered in Argentina

iStock/Thinkstock(BUENOS AIRES, Argentina) — Scientists in Argentina discovered a new dinosaur, dubbing the creature Dreadnoughtus schrani.

Dr. Kenneth Lacovara of Philadelphia’s Drexel University led the team that excavated the fossilized bones and calculated that the dinosaur would have weighed more than a Boeing 737 when fully grown — making it  “the largest calculable weight of any known land animal.”

“When I first found a piece of that femur, I wasn’t too excited because I assumed it was probably just a fragment, and then we saw the tibia and then we saw the fibula and then 10 vertebrae appeared and then 4 years later, we were still excavating,” Lacovara said.

The dinosaur is thought to have died in a flash flood about 77 million years ago.

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Predator Drone Reportedly Spotted Over ISIS Stronghold

Predator Drone Reportedly Spotted Over ISIS Stronghold

iStock/Thinkstock(RAQQA, Syria) — Activists on two sides of the Syrian conflict both reported seeing what appears to be a drone lingering over Raqqa, Syria, near where U.S. special operations forces attempted to rescue ISIS hostages in July.

Undated images of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), shot by Syrian activists as well as ISIS supporters, appeared on social media Friday. One former and two current U.S. officials familiar with the American drone program told ABC News the aircraft appeared to be an unarmed Predator drone, likely on a surveillance mission.

Activists with the “Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered” campaign, who snapped some of the photos, told ABC News the drone spent about three hours flying over Raqqa city between noon and 3pm local time. These activists also reported seeing two purported ISIS fighters wearily watching the drone on a commercial street before taking off on a 4×4.

While it’s unclear who was in control of the drone, public records show the U.S. has air bases that operate UAVs relatively close to Raqqa, like at Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, just over 200 miles away. U.S. officials declined to comment for this report.

Raqqa is a stronghold for ISIS and the same city near which two months ago the U.S. military launched a rescue mission for several hostages, including some Americans, held by ISIS. The mission went “flawlessly,” according to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, except there was no one there to rescue. The hostages had been moved.

Former U.S. military officials recently told ABC News that while the first rescue attempt and its subsequent public acknowledgment may have cost the American commandos some element of surprise, another rescue attempt wasn’t out of the question.

The U.S. is also urgently seeking intelligence on potential military targets. U.S. officials told ABC News that while top ISIS leaders appear to be using encrypted communications to avoid being detected, surveillance at ISIS command centers has begun to produce a few possible leads.

“If the U.S. … has a drone or fixed wing aircraft with the ability to strike an ISIS target, especially a senior leader, they’ll do it now,” said Seth Jones, a terrorism expert at the RAND Corporation.

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Plane With Americans on Board Allowed to Leave Iran

Plane With Americans on Board Allowed to Leave Iran

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A plane with 100 Americans on board that was ordered to land in Iran was allowed to leave hours later and has landed in Dubai, the U.S. State Department said.

The Fly Dubai plane had left Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and was on its way to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on Friday. It apparently took off hours later than scheduled, the officials said. By the time it was over Iran, Iranian authorities said the plane’s flight plan was no longer valid and the plane was ordered to land.

“This was a bureaucratic issue with the flight plan of the plane,” a senior U.S. official told ABC News. The plane was at Bandar Abbas, an airport in southeast Iran and the official.

The flight was allowed to leave hours later and flew to Dubai, according to State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.

Harf denied reports that Iranian jets were scrambled.

The State Department expressed veiled gratitude to the Iranians.

“We appreciate the efforts of all parties to help the passengers get safely to their destination,” Harf said.

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