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American Among Dead in Libya Hotel Attack

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Several gunmen wearing ski masks stormed the Corinthia Hotel in Libya???s capitol, Tripoli, taking hostages and leaving at least eight dead, including a U.S. citizen.

Lawyers for Billionaire Sex Offender Linked to Prince Andrew Scandal Ask Judge to Keep Documents Sealed

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — Attorneys for convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein claim in a new court filing that the billionaire financier will be “irreparably harmed” if emails and letters his lawyers sent to federal prosecutors during plea negotiations are made public, and they’re asking a judge to order that the correspondence remain sealed.

Epstein’s legal brief, filed in U.S. District Court in Florida late Monday by attorneys Roy Black and Martin Weinberg, represents his first formal statements since explosive allegations emerged last month that he had forced a then-17-year-old girl to have sex with Britain’s Prince Andrew and other powerful men.

Epstein’s court filing is peppered with references to “the gossip media” and “grocery store tabloids,” and contains thinly-veiled accusations that the lawyers for recognized victims of Epstein’s alleged sexual crimes are feeding a media frenzy.

“This is a widely watched and reported case,” the court motion states. “Mr. Epstein and a host of other individuals have been the subject of the most outlandish and offensive attacks, allegations, and plain inventions.”

Virginia Roberts, 31, recently reignited worldwide interest in Epstein’s controversial non-prosecution agreement when she claimed in court documents that Epstein had kept her for sex for years as a teenager, and — in turn — trafficked her for sex with a host of his prominent associates, including three times with Prince Andrew, the middle son of Queen Elizabeth II, and at least six times with longtime Harvard legal professor Alan Dershowitz.

In an affidavit filed last week, Roberts offered to appear before the court for sworn testimony and vowed to “pursue all reasonable and legitimate means to have criminal charges brought against these powerful men for the crimes they have committed against me and other girls.”

Both the prince and Dershowitz have strenuously denied the allegations.

“Every single word in her affidavit about me is a deliberate and categorical lie,” Dershowitz told ABC News in an interview last week, and he also filed a sworn declaration in court asserting that he had never even met Roberts.

Dershowitz said he wants Roberts to come forward with dates and times on their alleged encounters so he can use his travel records to prove his innocence, he said. “She picked on the wrong innocent person, because I have the will, the determination and the resources to fight back and prove that what she’s saying is false,” he said.

Buckingham Palace issued a strongly worded statement on behalf of the prince, categorically denying Roberts’ allegations as “false and without foundation.” And then the prince himself, speaking last week before an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, referred vaguely to the “events that have taken place in the last few weeks,” before saying that he wished to “reiterate and reaffirm the statements” already made by the Palace.

Roberts made her claims in court as she seeks to join a case filed by two other women against the U.S. government. Those women contend that the deal with Epstein violated their rights as crime victims to be consulted and treated with fairness in the administration of justice. Epstein is not a party to the case but has been permitted to intervene on a limited basis to argue motions that affect him directly.

The government has opposed Roberts’ entry into the case, which was first filed in July 2008 as an emergency motion to stop the deal from taking place without their input. Unbeknownst at the time to the victims, the agreement had already been signed nine months earlier. The government asserts that Roberts waited far too long before seeking to join the lawsuit.

Epstein, an enigmatic financier who has palatial homes in Florida, New York, New Mexico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, was the subject of wide-ranging state and federal investigations, beginning in 2005, looking into claims that he had illegal sexual contact with dozens of minor girls at his Palm Beach mansion and elsewhere. By mid-2007, he was facing a potential federal indictment for alleged sex crimes involving nearly three dozen teenage girls. If charged and convicted, he could have faced 10 years to life in prison.

Instead, Epstein entered into the unusual and, at the time, confidential non-prosecution agreement with the federal government that resulted in him pleading guilty to two comparatively minor sex crimes in a Florida state court. He pleaded guilty to a count of solicitation of a prostitute and a count of solicitation of a prostitute who is a minor. He served 13 months in jail and must now register as a sex offender for the rest of his life — in any state where he owns a home.

Dershowitz was among a group of prominent attorneys who helped Epstein secure the deal, which also granted federal immunity to any possible co-conspirators who may have assisted Epstein in the commission of the alleged crimes. The deal also required Epstein to pay the costs of a private attorney to assist the alleged victims who wished to negotiate financial settlements without litigation.

Roberts’ attorneys have alleged that Epstein used his wealth and influence with prominent people to secure the favorable deal.

Kenneth Marra, the federal district court judge overseeing the case brought by the victims, has already ruled that the government had an obligation to inform Epstein’s victims about the deal, but has reserved judgment about whether the government failed to meet its obligations until a more complete factual record is developed. Marra has indicated that, if he finds the government violated the victims’ rights, one possible remedy he would consider is a rescission of Epstein’s deal.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys, Bradley Edwards and former federal judge Paul Cassell, have long argued that the correspondence between Epstein’s attorneys and federal prosecutors is “central to this lawsuit” and argued in a motion filed late Monday night that sealing it “would prevent the public from learning about matters of considerable public concern.”

When reached by ABC News, Cassell declined to comment on Epstein’s allegations that the victims’ attorneys were engaged in a “frolic with the media.”

Last fall, Judge Marra unsealed a small portion of the correspondence from Epstein’s attorneys that had been kept under seal for several months after being filed. One excerpt — a one-line email from an Epstein attorney sent just as the terms of the non-prosecution deal were being finalized — reads simply: “Please do whatever you can to keep this from becoming public.”

Marra has not set a hearing date, and it is unclear when he might rule. If he were to side with the plaintiffs, the immediate effect could be the unsealing of a 23-page letter written in part by Dershowitz and sent to federal prosecutors two months before the agreement was signed. That letter was filed under seal by the plaintiffs last week.

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Billionaire Sex Offender’s Lawyers Seek to Keep Documents Sealed

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Accuser claims Jeffrey Epstein forced her to have sex with Prince Andrew.

Holocaust Survivors Return to Auschwitz, 70 Years Later

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

State Dept(WARSAW, Poland) — About 300 people returned to Auschwitz on Tuesday for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the death camp in Poland where more than one million people were slaughtered during World War II.

They are old. And they are the last who can testify to us about what it was like — the darkness, the unspeakable darkness. For others, the smell of burning bodies, human smoke from the crematoriums, lingers forever in memory.

Tuesday’s commemoration was noticeably smaller than those in previous years. Only a few world leaders came and the U.S. sent the Treasury secretary.

However, as the terror attacks in Paris and other recent anti-Semitic incidents in Europe and elsewhere have demonstrated, Jews are once again being targeted in Europe, just because they are Jews.

“For a time, we thought that the hatred of Jews had finally been eradicated,” Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, told those assembled at Tuesday’s ceremonies. “But slowly the demonization of Jews started to come back.

“Once again,” Lauder said. “young Jewish boys are afraid to wear yarmulkes on the streets of Paris and Budapest and London. Once again, Jewish businesses are targeted. And once again, Jewish families are fleeing Europe.”

Added Roman Kent, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, fighting back tears, “We do not want our past to be our children’s future.”

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Meet London’s Polar (Bear) Express

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Life-like polar bear wandered London streets this week.

The Trouble With American Girls, According to Alleged Russian Spies

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Purported Russian agents realized all too well they weren’t James Bond.

Russia Says ‘No Evidence’ of NYC Spying, Despite FBI Tapes

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

FBI arrested Manhattan banker, says he was secret agent for Russian intelligence

Masked Gunmen Kill 8, Take Hostages at Tripoli, Libya Hotel

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Several gunmen wearing ski masks stormed the Corinthia Hotel in Libya???s capitol, Tripoli, taking a number of hostages and leaving at least eight dead.

ISIS Hostage Says He’ll Be Killed Within 24 Hours

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Ahmed Muhammed Ali/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Japanese journalist held by the terror group ISIS said in a chilling new video that he and another captive have been given 24 hours or less to live unless a convicted terrorist is freed from prison.

In a new video uploaded online early Tuesday, journalist Kenji Goto tells the camera he has been told it is his “last message” and that “time is running very short.”

“It is me for her,” he says, referring to Sajida al-Rishawi, a female would-be suicide bomber who confessed to her role in a string of deadly al Qaeda attacks in Jordan in 2005. She has been on death row in Jordan ever since. In a previous video, ISIS first made the demand for al-Rishawi’s release.

Goto says first ISIS will kill a Jordanian pilot they’ve been holding captive, and then himself if the terrorists’ demands aren’t met.

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Masked Gunmen Kill Eight, Take Hostages at Libya Hotel

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) — Several gunmen wearing ski masks stormed the Corinthia Hotel, a hotel popular with western diplomats and journalists in Libya’s capitol, Tripoli, on Tuesday, taking a number of hostages and leaving at least eight people dead.

Security services told the AFP they managed to surround the gunman on the 23rd floor of the hotel, which is when the men then detonated their explosives.

An eyewitness described the harrowing attack to the BBC, saying, “I suddenly heard shots and saw people running towards me, and we all escaped from the back [of the hotel] through the underground garage. The hotel did a lockdown after that.”

Images purportedly showing the gunmen from the hotel’s surveillance video have shown up on social media, but there has been no official confirmation on who the attackers were.

A Twitter account affiliated with ISIS claimed responsibility, saying the attack on the Corinthia Hotel was in revenge for the death of a Libyan jihadist by the name of Abu Anas al Libi. Al Libi was linked to the bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998.

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Swiss Court Rejects Vatican Bank’s Appeal to Keep Account Info Secret

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(ROME) — Switzerland’s federal criminal court has rejected an appeal by the Vatican to keep information from one of its Swiss bank accounts a secret.

After a request by Italian prosecutors for information about a Vatican bank account held in Switzerland, judges at the Swiss court handed most of it over.

The prosecutors believe the account was used by third parties to launder money from the sale of a company.

The Vatican bank tried to invoke the Vatican’s sovereign immunity in the matter, but the Swiss judges ruled the transactions were not covered by immunity rules.

The decision comes as the U.S. puts increasing pressure on Switzerland to lift the lid on its decades-old secret banking practices.

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Israel: Two Rockets Fired into Golan Heights from Syria

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(BEIRUT) — Two rockets landed in northern Israel Tuesday after being fired from Syria, according to the Israeli military.

Both landed in open areas in the Golan Heights and neither one caused any injuries.

Israel’s military says it returned fire with artillery, and ordered the evacuation of a nearby ski resort.

It’s unclear who fired the rockets.

Tuesday’s incident comes just over a week after an Israeli strike in Syria killed a unit from Hezbollah and a top Iranian general.

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Watch US Soldiers Work in Hot Zone to Build Ebola Treatment Units

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

John Moore/Getty Images(MONROVIA, Liberia) — The United States military has completed the last of its 17 Ebola treatment units (ETUs) in Liberia.

Rather than contracting out the construction, American soldiers picked up hammers themselves and worked side by side with the Armed Forces of Liberia for the final ETU under Operation United Assistance.

Working 12-hour days in a remote rainforest brought plenty of challenges but also camaraderie rarely seen on a military mission.

Watch the video below as ABC News was there from start to finish to show the building of bonds as well as Ebola treatment blocks:

Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, who leads the Joint Command task force on the ground, told ABC News that the Department of Defense will decide this month the future of the operation against Ebola and whether to send troops home. About 450 non-essential service members have already returned to the United States. Unlike neighboring Sierra Leone, the spread of the disease has been steadily decreasing in Liberia.

The U.S. military has not only helped build ETUs in Liberia, but troops have also trained more than 1,500 health workers to go into these hot zones. In a mock ETU in the capital Monrovia and in mobile courses in more remote regions, soldiers drilled doctors and other medical staff on how to tackle and treat the dangers of the deadly disease.

Classes covered everything from confronting uncooperative patients to avoiding contamination from bodily fluids and blood, realistically simulated by red ratatouille sauce from the military’s Meals Ready to Eat (better known as MREs).

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Malaysia Airlines Hit by Lizard Squad Hack Attack

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Malaysia Airlines(KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia) — The hacker group Lizard Squad has claimed responsibility for attacking Malaysia Airlines’ website on Sunday.

Users who logged onto the Malaysia Airlines website were greeted with the image of a lizard in a top hat and the message: “404 — plane not found.” Below that were the words: “Hacked by Lizard Squad — official Cyber Caliphate.”

The attack came after a difficult year in which the airline lost two flights, including one that has yet to be found.

At issue in the hack attack is whether Lizard Squad obtained any private information belonging to passengers. The group tweeted late Sunday that it planned to dump data found on the airline’s servers. Malaysia Airlines said in a statement that “user data remains secured.”

The company acknowledged its website was having issues late Sunday. The website was fully operational again mid-afternoon Monday in Malaysia.

“Malaysia Airlines confirms that its Domain Name System (DNS) has been compromised where users are re-directed to a hacker website when URL is keyed in,” a statement Monday from the airline said. “At this stage, Malaysia Airlines’ web servers are intact. The airline has resolved the issue with its service provider and the system is expected to be fully recovered within 22 hours.”

“Making claims of data theft is serious and should be taken seriously,” Robert Siciliano, an online safety expert to Intel Security, told ABC News. “Those who have information stored on the site, such as personal information and credit card numbers should take heed and take steps to ensure their accounts are secure. Monitor statements looking for unauthorized activity. Beware of phishy emails and avoid clicking links. Otherwise pay attention to news reports and look for the airline to send out a communication.”

Malaysia Airlines said it has also reported the incident to CyberSecurity Malaysia and the country’s Ministry of Transport.

Lizard Squad has previously claimed responsibility through tweets for attacking the Sony PlayStation and Xbox networks over Christmas, and earlier this month, the “Cyber Caliphate” briefly took over the Twitter and YouTube accounts of U.S. Central Command, authorities said.

Known for its trollish and prankster style, Lizard Squad’s weapon of choice is most commonly the DDoS (distributed denial of service attacks), which flood a target’s servers with fake traffic, knocking it offline.

While authorities have Lizard Squad on their radar, making arrests has proven to be difficult as the tech savvy group is dispersed around the world.

After a joint investigation between the FBI and authorities in the United Kingdom, an 18-year-old man was arrested earlier this month in northwest England as part of an investigation into the Christmas gaming attacks.

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Fidel Castro Expresses Doubts About US Politics, Says He Hasn’t Spoken with US Officials in Letter to Communist Newspaper

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images(HAVANA, Cuba) — Former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro says that he has no confidence in the United States policy and that he has not exchanged a single word with U.S. officials.

In a letter penned for communist newspaper Granma, Castro said that he was not flatly rejecting a peaceful solution to the conflict between the two nations. He urged that any peaceful and negotiated solution to the problems between the United States and any and all Latin American nations that do not involve or employ force should be treated in accordance of international principles and norms.

Instead, Castro defended his brother, Cuban President Raul Castro, who announced last month, at the same time U.S. President Barack Obama did, that the two nations would work to repair their relationship. Fidel said his brother had taken steps that fall under his authority. Castro said that he would always defend the cooperation and friendship with all countries of the world, including political adversaries.

The first round of high-level talks in decades between the two nations began last week, with Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson calling them “cordial and respectful.”


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More than 20,000 Foreign Fighters May Be in Iraq and Syria, More than Afghanistan in 1980s

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Hope Milam/iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — The International Center for the Study of Radicalization, at London’s Kings College, a leading think tank, released a report on Monday placing the number of foreign fghters in the Syrian/Iraq conflict at over 20,000 — more than there were in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

The report includes about 4,000 Europeans and 100 Americans believed to be among the ranks of the jihadists. Relative to population size, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden were the most heavily affected countries, though in sheer numbers, there are more foreign fighters from France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Still, the Middle East remains the dominating source of foreign fighters, with 11,000 individuals from other Middle Eastern nations believed to be joining the fight in Iraq and Syria. Another 3,000 come from countries that formely belonged to the Soviet Union.

The ICSR says that the current mobilization is the largest number of foreign fighters in Muslim-majority countries since 1945.


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Syrian President Says Possibility for Cooperation with US "Definitely Always There," Criticizes Obama Administration

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

ABC NEWS/Rob Wallace(NEW YORK) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Monday that the possibility of increased cooperation with the U.S. is “definitely always there” after the two nations have worked together in the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Speaking with Foreign Affairs magazine, Assad said that the two nations had been “talking about or asking for international cooperation against terrorism for 30 years.” Assad said that in order to turn the “potential” into actual cooperation, questions need to be answered — such as “how much will does the United States have to really fight terrorism on the ground?”

The Syrian president called U.S. efforts thus far “window-dressing” and “nothing real.” Since U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria began, Assad added, ISIS has gained more land in the two countries.

Assad also questioned the intent of U.S. airstrikes on the Syrian border city of Kobani. Calling Kobani a small city, Assad told Foreign Affairs “it’s been more than three months since the beginning of attacks, and [the U.S. hasn't] finished. Same areas, same al Qaeda factions occupying them — the Syrian army liberated in less than three weeks. It means they’re not serious about fighting terrorism.”

Assad said, in the long run, he thinks the U.S. must put pressure on countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar “to stop supporting the rebels.”

“This is our land; this is our country. We are responsible,” Assad said. “We don’t ask for American troops at all.” Further, the American airstrikes in Syria, which Assad says the U.S. did not request permission for from the Syrian government, are “illegal.”

Also in the interview, Assad criticized the Obama administration, saying that it “[builds] its evaluation and later decisions on social media.”

“We call it a social media administration,” Assad said, “which is not politics.”

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Multiple Fatalities in NATO Fighter Jet Crash in Spain

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

File photo. iStock/Thinkstock(ALBACETE, Spain) — A Greek fighter jet crashed shortly after takeoff on Monday, killing multiple people at a NATO airbase in Spain.

According to a statement from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the crash “caused many casualties.” Stoltenberg went on to call the accident “a tragedy which affects the whole NATO family.”

The plane involved was taking part in an exercise related to NATO’s Tactical Leadership Program, which Stoltenberg says “aims to improve multinational cooperation in air operations.”

BBC News reports 10 people were killed in the crash after an F-16 lost power shortly after takeoff. Thirteen more were injured. The nationality of those killed or injured were not immediately made public.

A Pentagon spokesperson told ABC News that while there was a U.S. contingent participating in the exercise, no U.S personnel were killed in the crash. An unknown number of Americans were, however, treated for minor injuries.

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US Embassy in Yemen Closed Until Further Notice

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(SANA’A, Yemen) — The U.S. Embassy in Yemen will be closed until further notice, days after fighting and the resignation of a significant portion of the country’s government leadership put its stability in question.

The U.S. State Department says that the personnel working at the embassy have not been evacuated from the country. Instead, the statement means only that the embassy is not open for normal business.

A statement from the embassy attributes the decision to the resignation of the Yemeni president, prime minister and cabinet, as well as “ongoing security concerns.” As such, the embassy says it will be “unable to provide routine consular services” and will be limited in its ability to “assist with emergency cases involving U.S. citizens.”

The State Department warned Americans in Yemen of the “high security threat level” due to “terrorist activities and civil unrest.” Americans are being urged to exercise caution, be vigilant, and take extra security measures at all times in all areas.

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Kurdish Fighters Retake Control of Part of City of Kobani

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Juan Bernal/iStock/Thinkstock(KOBANI, Syria) — Kurdish fighters have retaken control of part of the city of Kobani.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said Monday that the Kurds were in control of about 70 percent of the city. A U.S. official told ABC News that while they couldn’t confirm a percentage of the city, Kurdish forces were in control of “incrementally more” of the city than they were on Friday.

Kobani, a town near the border between Syria and Turkey, has been the site of intense fighting between Kurdish fighters and ISIS. Additionally, U.S.-led coalition airstrikes have focused their attention on the city for months.

A Kurdish source told ABC News Monday that ISIS remained in control of many villages surrounding Kobani.

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Feds: Russian Spy Posing as Banker Nabbed in NYC

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Complaint says Manhattan banker was “non-official cover” agent with SVR.

Photos: This Week in Pictures: Top Photos from Around the Globe

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

The latest news photos from around the globe.

Snowboarder ‘Happy to Be Alive’ After Three Days Missing

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Oleg_Ermak/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A snowboarder is “happy to be alive” after she spent three days missing in the Whistler, British Columbia, backcountry, a Canadian news outlet reported.

Julie Abrahamsen told Global News in Canada that the “hardest part was the nights” because it was so cold.

“I didn’t have too much clothes,” she said. “Some were wet, so I tried to make the best solution and get some sleep, but it was hard.”

Abrahamsen was spotted Saturday “in the backcountry” by searchers in a helicopter, the Whistler Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a written statement.

Abrahamsen told Global News that when she saw the helicopter searchers, she thought, “‘Are they coming for me?’ I was really excited, and tried to run as fast as I could to the river.”

She was “in cold, but good, condition,” police said, and she was taken for medical treatment.

Abrahamsen told Global News she thinks she was “lucky with the weather.”

“It wasn’t as cold as it normally is,” she said, according to Global News. “It was pretty mild.”

Abrahamsen had last been seen Wednesday morning on Blackcomb Mountain, according to police, and then was reported missing on Friday, igniting a police and ski patrol search.

“Searchers followed the trail and, at approximately 1:30 p.m. located the missing snowboarder in cold, but good, condition,” Whistler RCMP Sgt. Rob Knapton said in a statement Saturday.

Global News reported that Abrahamsen lives in Norway and was in British Columbia on vacation. ABC News’ efforts to locate Abrahamsen for comment were not immediately successful.

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Snowboarder ‘Happy to Be Alive’ After 3 Days Missing in Backcountry

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

A woman who was found three days after she went missing while snowboarding in Whistler, British Columbia, says she is happy to be alive.

See the Pair Attempting Record-Breaking Balloon Trip Across Pacific

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Two pilots attempt to break ballooning records for distance and time in flight.

Massive Asteroid 2004 BL86 to Pass Within 745,000 Miles of Earth

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

NASA(NEW YORK) — A massive asteroid is set to safely pass Earth on Monday.

According to NASA scientists, the asteroid 2004 BL86 is approximately 1,500 feet across and will come closest to Earth at 11:19 a.m. ET.  At that time, it will be approximately 745,000 miles away.

“Monday, January 26 will be the closest asteroid 2004 BL86 will get to Earth for at least the next 200 years,” said Don Yeomans, the manager of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “And while it poses no threat to Earth for the foreseeable future, it’s a relatively close approach by a relatively large asteroid, so it provides us a unique opportunity to observe and learn more.”

NASA says observers should be able to see the asteroid using small telescopes and strong binoculars.

The asteroid was first discovered on Jan. 30, 2004 by a telescope in White Sands, New Mexico.

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US Races to Aid Japan After ISIS ‘Kills’ One Hostage

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

In new video, Japanese hostage Kenji Goto forced to hold photo of apparently beh

Obama Feted in India at Soggy Parade of Camels, Missiles and Tanks

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(NEW DELHI) — It was a symbolic and soggy affair for the first American president given high honors at India’s Republic Day parade.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama took in the elaborate pageant of military power and cultural pride from a viewing platform under steady drizzle in the capital New Delhi.

They spent much of the day beneath umbrellas as a colorful display passed before them, including bejeweled camels ridden as cavalry, brigades of arm-swinging troops, cultural dancers, marching bands, and motorcycle stunt men.

The Obamas were flanked by the Indian president and prime minister and surrounded by hundreds of thousands of parade watchers out in the streets to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the world’s biggest democracy.

Prime Minister Narenda Modi, a man who many say is India’s Barack Obama, was sporting a distinctive hat and chatted frequently with his “chief guest.”

The military portion of the massive parade featured Russian tanks, American helicopters, mobile rockets and missiles.

One of the tanks turned its presumably unarmed gun turret toward the reviewing stand, likely sending shock waves up the spines of the 50,000 security forces — U.S. Secret Service, Indian police and para-military forces — guarding Obama. The president overruled security concerns and elected to sit outside in the open for more than two hours — an unprecedented stretch on foreign soil.

Obama is the first American President to receive an invitation to be chief guest at the parade, an honor granted to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Nelson Mandela, high-level Pakistani officials, even the Queen of England. That an American was finally invited is considered a symbol of the growing closeness of the Indian and American people.

The budding personal friendship between Obama and Modi has also set a new tone for two countries, each looking for dependable allies in an unsettled region. At a summit Sunday, they announced closer defense ties, expanded trade and an effort to fight climate change.

The three-day Obama visit has set India abuzz with popular fixation with the American first lady, who stepped off the plane in a colorful dress made by a popular Indian designer.

Obama has seemed enthralled with Indian culture, too, from the high-stepping military review he received, to tea in a picturesque presidential garden, and his solemn visit to the memorial honoring Mahatma Gandhi, a man who famously inspired Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Demonstrations to Mark Popular Revolution Turn Deadly in Egypt

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Wathiq Khuzaie/Getty Images(CAIRO) — Clashes in Egypt between government forces and Islamic dissidents left at least 18 people dead Sunday as crowds hit the streets to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the popular revolution that led to the overthrow of then-President Hosni Mubarak.

Most of the violence, which also left 50 people injured, occurred in northern Cairo.

What apparently touched off the clashes was the shooting death Saturday of an activist at Tahrir Square, which became the focal point of the massive demonstrations in late January and February 2011.

Mubarak’s ouster led to rise of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, who only spent about a year in power until he too was thrown out of office in a July 2013 military coup.

Since then, Egypt has returned to its authoritarian ways with little room for dissident and no tolerance for anti-government opponents. Morsi remains jailed along with other high-ranking members of his Muslim Brotherhood party that was outlawed by the regime of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who once headed Egypt’s powerful military.

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Miss Colombia Wins Miss Universe Pageant

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images(MIAMI) — Miss Colombia Paulina Vega won the Miss Universe pageant in Miami on Sunday night.

The 22-year-old student of business administration earned the title over Miss USA Nia Sanchez, who was first runner-up. Sanchez was crowned Miss USA last June.

Miss Ukraine Diana Harkusha was named second runner-up.

Eighty-eight contestants participated in the pageant, which aired live on NBC. It featured performances by Nick Jonas and Prince Royce.

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