“The Interview”: FBI Links North Korea to Sony Hacking

Posted on: December 19th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinksto(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. government has taken the bold step of publicly branding the North Korean regime as the driving force behind the massive cyber-attack on Sony Pictures that has paralyzed the film company and raised fears of terrorist attacks inside the United States.

In a rare, official statement issued Friday, the FBI said it “now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions.”

“North Korea’s actions were intended to inflict significant harm on a U.S. business and suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves” and seek “economic and social prosperity,” according to the FBI statement. “Such acts of intimidation fall outside the bounds of acceptable state behavior.”

The statement lays out at least some of the evidence the U.S. government has uncovered tying North Korea to the attack.

The FBI says analysis of the malicious software used in the attack shows it is linked “to other malware that the FBI knows North Korean actors previously developed.”

“The FBI also observed significant overlap between the infrastructure used in this attack and other malicious cyber activity the U.S. Government has previously linked directly to North Korea,” the FBI statement continues. “Separately, the tools used in the [Sony] attack have similarities to a cyber attack in March of last year against South Korean banks and media outlets, which was carried out by North Korea.”

This comes as a source close to Sony confirms that company executives received a new message laden with threats, saying, “Now we want you never let the movie be released, distributed or leaked in any form of, for instance, DVD or piracy.”

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Woman Gives Fast Food Worker Her Mink Coat as Surprise Tip

Posted on: December 19th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

“I almost passed out, for real,” cashier Cheryl Semein told ABC News.

Aurora Shooting Suspect’s Parents Break Silence for 1st Time

Posted on: December 19th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

The parents of James Holmes, the man accused in a 2012 movie theater rampage in Colorado, said their son ???is not a monster.???

Airline Won???t Refund Change of Plans for Funeral

Posted on: December 19th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News Fixer steps in to save mourning sister on plane ticket.

Facebook Friend Request Spat Leads to Arrest

Posted on: December 19th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(LARGO, Fla.) — A spat over a Facebook friend request resulted in a 72-year-old woman being slapped and another woman being arrested, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities say Rachel Anne Hayes, 27, became upset when the alleged victim refused to accept her friend request on Facebook because she felt the name Hayes was using was “inappropriate.”

“The victim told Hayes she would be willing to accept the request if she would change the name,” the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Hayes left the home where the two were arguing and returned a short time later, according to authorities, at which point she allegedly continued the argument at the front door.

Authorities said Hayes slapped the alleged victim “several times” before she was able to retreat inside the home and lock the door.

Hayes was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on Thursday afternoon on suspicion of felony aggravated battery on an elderly person. She has been released on $10,000 bond.

She has not yet entered a plea and it was unclear whether Hayes had hired an attorney.

The Facebook name that allegedly set the argument in action was not released by authorities. However, Facebook has a well-known policy of requiring users to use the name they identify with in real life.

“Asking everyone to use their real name grounds the community in reality and ties it back to all the real-world relationships that we have,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at a town hall earlier this month.

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Aurora Theater Shooter James Holmes ‘Is Not a Monster,’ Parents Say

Posted on: December 19th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office(NEW YORK) — The parents of James Holmes, the man accused in a 2012 movie theater rampage in Colorado, said their son “is not a monster” and expressed hopes that he gets institutionalized in their first public statement since the attack.

“We love our son, we have always loved him and we do not want him to be executed. We also decry the need for a trial,” said Robert and Arlene Holmes in a statement released Friday through a lawyer, Lisa Damiani.

The Aurora, Colorado, attack left 12 dead and 70 injured. Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

His parents, who declined previous interview requests, said a trial would be devastating for relatives and survivors.

“A lengthy trial requires everyone to relive those horrible moments in time, causing additional trauma. In the criminal justice system, the prosecution and defense can agree to a sentence of life in prison, without parole, in exchange for a guilty plea,” Robert and Arlene Holmes said. “If that happened, our son would be in prison the rest of his life, but no one would have to relive those horrible events at a trial the media has permission to televise.”

The parents said they are aware that people want their son to be executed.

“We have read postings on the Internet that have likened him to a monster. He is not a monster. He is a human being gripped by a severe mental illness. We believe that the death penalty is morally wrong, especially when the condemned is mentally ill,” the statement read.

Earlier this month, the judge overseeing the case refused to delay the trial, despite defense attorneys’ request for more time to review massive amounts of evidence.

“This case has been pending for 2 1/2 years,” Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. wrote in his 20-page order. “Counsel, their skilled experts and their staff have had a considerable amount of time to prepare for trial.”

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Aurora Theater Shooter ‘Is Not a Monster,’ Parents Say

Posted on: December 19th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

The parents of James Holmes, the man accused in a 2012 movie theater rampage in Colorado, said their son ???is not a monster.???

5 Things to Know This Morning

Posted on: December 19th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Your look at the five biggest and most buzz-worthy stories of the morning.

America Conducted Fewest Executions Since 1994

Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The Death Penalty Information Center on Thursday released its annual report, which found that America conducted the fewest executions in 20 years in 2014.

The report says that just 35 executions took place in 2014 in seven states, the smallest number of people put to death since 1994. Also in 2014, only 72 people received death sentences, the smallest number in the 40 years of the modern death penalty.

Three states — Texas, Missouri and Florida — accounted for 80 percent of the country’s executions.

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Ohio Supreme Court Says Traffic Camera Can Stay

Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Timothy Epp/iStock/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — The Supreme Court of Ohio on Thursday upheld the city of Toledo’s automated traffic camera system used to catch drivers who run red lights or commit speeding violations.

According to the court documents, the court heard arguments from an Ohio man who claimed that the policy “usurps the jurisdiction of the municipal court, is unconstitutionally vague and violates due process.” The crux of the complaint is that the appeal process through which a motorist would have to go if they were to contest a camera-issued ticket is established by the Toledo Police Department.

The state supreme court says that the Toledo law “does not offend…the Ohio Constitution” and that cities are within their rights to establish automated ticketing systems.

Three justices wrote a dissenting opinion, arguing that the city council did not have the power to limit a municipal court’s jurisdiction, as they believe the Toledo system does.

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North Carolina Driver Gets Into Two Accidents, Caught on Video

Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Evgueni Sinigalia/Hemera/Thinkstock(HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C.) — A driver in Holly Springs, North Carolina, was hit by two cars in domino accidents both caught on his car cameras.

Rear- and front-view cameras captured the first hit from behind on a two-lane road.

“I was rear-ended by this guy on my way home from school,” the YouTube user wrote in the video description. “He claimed that his window was fogged up, so he did not see me. It doesn’t show in the video, but I saw him coming in my rear view mirror. His windshield was NOT fogged up and I could see his eyes were pointed downward. Clearly, he was playing around on his phone.”

The impact pushed the car into oncoming traffic.

“The driver at fault was hauled off to the hospital complaining of back pain, and the lady who hit my car from the front said her finger was hurt.”

The air bag was deployed and the car was “considered a total loss by the insurance company,” the YouTube user wrote.

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North Carolina Driver Gets Into 2 Accidents, Caught on Video

Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

A driver in Holly Springs, North Carolina, was hit by two cars in domino accidents both caught on his car cameras.

Mystery Deepens In Texas Meteorologist’s Shooting

Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Police in Texas are still searching for the man who shot a meteorologist multiple times in the TV station’s parking lot before fleeing on foot.

New York AG Sends Cease-and-Desist Letters to Companies Selling Realistic-Looking Toy Guns

Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

sunstock/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced on Thursday that his office has sent cease-and-desist letters to retailers including Walmart, Amazon and Kmart, urging them to stop selling toy guns that break New York state law by lacking distinguishing designs from the real thing.

“When toy guns are mistaken for real guns,” Schneiderman said, “there can be tragic consequences.” The law prohibits the sale of toy guns in realistic colors — such as black, blue, silver or aluminum — unless it has a non-removable, one-inch-wide orange stripe running down the sides and front end of the barrel.

“New York State law is clear,” Schneiderman added, “retailers cannot put children and law enforcement at risk by selling toy guns that are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.”

Schneiderman’s office also sent cease-and-desist letters to ToyArsenal.com and Sears.

At least four people have been killed and one child seriously injured since 1997 due to law enforcement officers mistaking toy guns for real guns.

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Mystery In Texas Meteorologist’s Shooting Deepens

Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Police in Texas are still searching for the man who shot a meteorologist multiple times in the TV station’s parking lot before fleeing on foot.

‘Slender Man’ Stabbing Suspects Ruled Competent to Stand Trial

Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

One of the two suspects appeared in court today.

Girls Adopted From Same Chinese Orphanage Now Chicago Neighbors

Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

K.J. Jacoby and Nora Ryan have quite a shared history

Why 3-Year-Old Fortune Cookie Numbers Paid Off for This Man

Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

The retired mailman says he owes it all to his mother.

Military Families Share Home Alarm Troubles After ABC News Investigation

Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

After investigative report, families came forward with their home alarm stories.

Family of Toddler Injured by SWAT ‘Grenade’ Faces $1M in Medical Bills

Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Alecia and Bounkham Phonesavanh never imagined their family would be at the center of a controversy over the militarization of police.

‘Slender Man’ Stabbing Suspect Competent to Stand Trial

Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

A Wisconsin judge found 13-year-old Slender Man stabbing suspect Anissa Weier competent to stand trial today.

Al Sharpton Meets With Sony Chairman Over Hacked Emails

Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Rev. Al Sharpton met with Sony Chairman Amy Pascal this morning about the racial remarks in private emails that were released after the company was hacked.

Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Appears in Court

Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

FBI(BOSTON) — With a slight, scruffy beard and long, tousled hair, accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appeared in federal court Thursday — the first time he’s been seen in public in a year and a half.

The 21-year-old politely answered the judge’s questions in a final status conference, what is expected to be his last pretrial hearing before jury selection in his case begins in January.

Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to a litany of charges connected to twin explosions that ripped through the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, killing three, including an 8-year-old boy, and injuring more than 260 others.

Investigators say that he and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, planted the bombs and followed the horrific attack up with a series of other crimes.

Four days after the explosions, investigators say, the Tsarnaevs murdered MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, carjacked a Mercedes SUV driver, and led police on a high-speed chase in Watertown where a bomb and bullet battle erupted in the street. Tamerlan was killed in the firefight.

Dzhokhar fled the scene and hid for more than 16 hours until his capture on a dry-docked boat, where he appeared to explain his motive for the crime with a note written inside, according to prosecutors.

“We Muslims are one body. You hurt one of us you hurt us all,” read part of a note allegedly written by Tsarnaev on the wall of the boat amid bullet holes. “Know you are fighting men who look into the barrel [of] your gun and see heaven.”

Court documents filed in March gave a potential hint of at least part of the defense strategy Tsarnaev’s legal team could use: saying Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was under the control of his older brother — “an all-powerful force who could not be ignored or disobeyed.”

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How One Family Recovered Lost Home Videos 16 Years Later

Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Bag of tapes and handycam were left on NJ beach in 1998.

First Look at Boston Bombing Suspect, 17 Months Later

Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Accused bomber last seen in court in July 2013, answers politely to judge.

49ers Drop Ray McDonald Following Alleged Sex Assault

Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) — Amid allegations of possible sexual assault, San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald was released by his team Wednesday.

In a statement, 49ers General Manager Trent Balke said, “This is about a pattern of poor behavior. We expect a lot from our players, hold them accountable for their actions.”

Although no arrests have been made, the San Jose Police Department say that McDonald’s home had been searched after a woman told detectives “she was possibly sexually assaulted.”

According to cops, the alleged victim sought treatment at a hospital Tuesday, which then notified authorities about her accusations against McDonald.

Earlier this year, McDonald was arrested by Santa Clara police following an alleged domestic violence incident involving his fiancée. However, charges were never filed.

Now a free agent, McDonald had played for San Francisco since 2007.

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5 Things to Know This Morning: Hack Investigation

Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Your look at the five biggest and most buzz-worthy stories of the morning.

Pedestrians Struck in Deadly California Crash

Posted on: December 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

At least one person is dead, with up to 12 others injured after a car slammed into a group of pedestrians Wednesday in Redondo Beach, California, police said.

Deployed Airman Dressed as Santa Claus Surprises Son

Posted on: December 17th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Fuse/Thinkstock(MT. JULIET, Tenn.) — Aaron Williams, a kindergartner from Tennessee, may never look at a Santa Claus anywhere, anytime the same way again.

The 6-year-old was surprised at his school Tuesday by his dad, a member of the U.S. Air Force who dressed as Santa Claus, white beard and all, for the surprise.

Aaron’s dad, Senior Airman Nicholas Williams, is in the middle of a year-long deployment to South Korea, so Aaron thought his dad would not be home to celebrate Christmas.

“He started actually crying when I told him that,” Aaron’s mom, Whitney, told local ABC affiliate WKRN, referring to how she kept the secret from her son by telling him that his dad would not be home.

“He was really upset and I felt really bad, like a horrible mother for lying to him like that,” she said.

All was perhaps forgiven Tuesday morning when Aaron and his classmates at Lakeview Elementary School in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., gathered in the school library to, they thought, be read a story by an elf.

When Santa Claus appeared and the elf, the school’s physical education teacher in costume, asked who wanted to pull Santa’s beard, it was Aaron who, by chance, raised his hand first.

“He’s actually a really shy little boy so it was so sweet that he wanted to do it the most of all of them,” Tiffany Brown, the school’s assistant principal, told ABC News.

“It took him a few times of tugging on the beard and it wasn’t until it came off that he saw,” Brown said. “He stopped laughing and went into kind of awe and his first word was very clearly, ‘Daddy.’”

“There wasn’t a dry eye in the room,” she said.

Williams will have 28 days at home with his family before returning to South Korea through May to complete his military tour, WKRN reports.

“I couldn’t ask for really anything more than to be home for Christmas,” Williams told the station.

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Manhunt for Suspect in Shooting of Texas Meteorologist

Posted on: December 17th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

A Texas meteorologist was shot outside of a local TV station in Waco, Texas, according to ABC affiliate KXXV.