Carlson\'s Drive In Michigan City
Carlson\'s Drive In Michigan City







‘White gold’ is a growing but controversial energy source for Bhutan

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

The carbon-negative nation is battling climate change along its abundant rivers.

‘White gold’ is a growing but controversial energy source for Bhutan

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

The carbon-negative nation is battling climate change along its abundant rivers.

Saudis lift 35-year cinema ban with ‘Black Panther’

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Kingdom Council/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(RIYADH, Saudi Arabia) — Saudi Arabia broke a 35-year ban on movie theaters Wednesday night with a special showing of the Disney blockbuster Black Panther in the Saudi capital that allowed men and women to sit together.

The invitation-only screening in Riyadh drew hundreds of VIP guests, including government ministers and officials, diplomats and various Saudi celebrities.

“It is just great to watch a superhero fighting for his kingdom, surrounded by women empowered as warriors, while the issues of race and colonialism were tackled,” said Suha, a 27-year-old political scientist who asked ABC News not to use her last name. “And all of this in Riyadh.”

Suha attended the screening with her best friend. “This is a historic moment,” she said. “We no longer need to travel to Bahrain or Abu Dhabi to watch Hollywood movies.”

The first public screening will take place Friday, with tickets available for $13, according to Italia Film, Disney’s Middle East distribution partner.

Cinemas are set to follow. The government struck a deal with U.S. company AMC Entertainment earlier this month to repurpose the concert hall in the King Abdullah Financial District and open theaters in 40 Saudi cities over the next five years, up to 100 cinemas by 2030.

Wednesday’s screening took place in conjunction with the glittering rededication of a space built two years ago as a symphony concert hall. The main theater has 620 leather seats, orchestra and balcony levels, and marble bathrooms. Three more movie screens, accommodating a combined 500 people, will be added by the summer.

As part of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s aggressive campaign to modernize Saudi Arabian society, the new Riyadh multiplex allowed men and women to sit together.

The new movie palaces are just one example of Saudi public space meant to make the country look stylish and modern, and more friendly to women, who now can drive cars and attend public concerts, speeches and soccer games.

The 32-year-old prince, known by his initials, MbS, has also been campaigning to modernize the national economy. His plans include reducing the country’s near-total reliance on oil revenue and diversifying into regional business and financial services and tourism. Both those sectors need the participation of women to succeed.

“The crown prince knows that Saudi Arabia has a problematic image in the Western world,” a Western diplomat in Riyadh, requesting anonymity, told ABC News recently. “What he wants to do is transform Saudi Arabia and its society in ways that will be very appealing to Westerners,” meaning Americans and Europeans.

The apparent losers in this cultural makeover are Saudi Arabia’s ultra-conservative clerics. The grand mufti, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority, publicly called commercial films a source of “depravity” and opposed the opening of movie theaters as recently as last year.

So Wednesday’s grand opening signaled not just a bet on Hollywood, but royal family confidence that in today’s Islamic world, a country that shows movies to a mixed public can still draw millions of devout pilgrims to the annual Hajj in Mecca, the spiritual heart of Islam.

Whatever the outcome, movies shown in Saudi Arabia are unlikely to escape the kind of censorship that affects all films in the Middle East, experts say.

Censorship is toughest in Kuwait, for instance, a veteran executive at Italia Film told ABC News.

The most relaxed censorship, he said, is in the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon.

With Black Panther, Saudi censors followed the example of their counterparts in Kuwait, cutting two kisses and a curse from the film.

ABC News is a division of the Walt Disney Co.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saudis lift 35-year cinema ban with ‘Black Panther’

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Kingdom Council/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(RIYADH, Saudi Arabia) — Saudi Arabia broke a 35-year ban on movie theaters Wednesday night with a special showing of the Disney blockbuster Black Panther in the Saudi capital that allowed men and women to sit together.

The invitation-only screening in Riyadh drew hundreds of VIP guests, including government ministers and officials, diplomats and various Saudi celebrities.

“It is just great to watch a superhero fighting for his kingdom, surrounded by women empowered as warriors, while the issues of race and colonialism were tackled,” said Suha, a 27-year-old political scientist who asked ABC News not to use her last name. “And all of this in Riyadh.”

Suha attended the screening with her best friend. “This is a historic moment,” she said. “We no longer need to travel to Bahrain or Abu Dhabi to watch Hollywood movies.”

The first public screening will take place Friday, with tickets available for $13, according to Italia Film, Disney’s Middle East distribution partner.

Cinemas are set to follow. The government struck a deal with U.S. company AMC Entertainment earlier this month to repurpose the concert hall in the King Abdullah Financial District and open theaters in 40 Saudi cities over the next five years, up to 100 cinemas by 2030.

Wednesday’s screening took place in conjunction with the glittering rededication of a space built two years ago as a symphony concert hall. The main theater has 620 leather seats, orchestra and balcony levels, and marble bathrooms. Three more movie screens, accommodating a combined 500 people, will be added by the summer.

As part of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s aggressive campaign to modernize Saudi Arabian society, the new Riyadh multiplex allowed men and women to sit together.

The new movie palaces are just one example of Saudi public space meant to make the country look stylish and modern, and more friendly to women, who now can drive cars and attend public concerts, speeches and soccer games.

The 32-year-old prince, known by his initials, MbS, has also been campaigning to modernize the national economy. His plans include reducing the country’s near-total reliance on oil revenue and diversifying into regional business and financial services and tourism. Both those sectors need the participation of women to succeed.

“The crown prince knows that Saudi Arabia has a problematic image in the Western world,” a Western diplomat in Riyadh, requesting anonymity, told ABC News recently. “What he wants to do is transform Saudi Arabia and its society in ways that will be very appealing to Westerners,” meaning Americans and Europeans.

The apparent losers in this cultural makeover are Saudi Arabia’s ultra-conservative clerics. The grand mufti, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority, publicly called commercial films a source of “depravity” and opposed the opening of movie theaters as recently as last year.

So Wednesday’s grand opening signaled not just a bet on Hollywood, but royal family confidence that in today’s Islamic world, a country that shows movies to a mixed public can still draw millions of devout pilgrims to the annual Hajj in Mecca, the spiritual heart of Islam.

Whatever the outcome, movies shown in Saudi Arabia are unlikely to escape the kind of censorship that affects all films in the Middle East, experts say.

Censorship is toughest in Kuwait, for instance, a veteran executive at Italia Film told ABC News.

The most relaxed censorship, he said, is in the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon.

With Black Panther, Saudi censors followed the example of their counterparts in Kuwait, cutting two kisses and a curse from the film.

ABC News is a division of the Walt Disney Co.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘White Gold’: Discovering Bhutan’s natural energy treasure

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

The carbon-negative nation is battling climate change along its abundant rivers.

‘White Gold’: Discovering Bhutan’s natural energy treasure

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

The carbon-negative nation is battling climate change along its abundant rivers.

Queen tips Prince Charles to follow her as Commonwealth head

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Queen Elizabeth II has opened a summit of the 53-nation Commonwealth, and backed her son Prince Charles to be the next leader of the association of Britain and its former colonies.

Queen tips Prince Charles to follow her as Commonwealth head

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Queen Elizabeth II has opened a summit of the 53-nation Commonwealth, and backed her son Prince Charles to be the next leader of the association of Britain and its former colonies.

‘White Gold’: Discovering Bhutan’s natural energy treasure

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

The carbon-negative nation is battling climate change along its abundant rivers.

AP Interview: Malaysia’s Mahathir says opposition could win

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Former Malaysian strongman Mahathir Mohamad says huge rallies indicate some of the ruling coalition’s traditional Malay supporters now favor the opposition and a change of government is possible in next month’s elections

AP Interview: Malaysia’s Mahathir says opposition could win

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Former Malaysian strongman Mahathir Mohamad says huge rallies indicate some of the ruling coalition’s traditional Malay supporters now favor the opposition and a change of government is possible in next month’s elections

Puerto Rico’s worst blackout since Maria leaves island residents ‘frustrated’

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Ricardo Arduengo/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Puerto Rico is facing its worst blackout since Hurricane Maria hit in September, leaving some residents wondering whether the island will ever fully recover.

“Everyone is frustrated and it’s so unstable,” said Eileen Velez, a 37-year-old engineer who lives outside San Juan. “It feels like the hurricane side effects will never end.”

The power outage is affecting the entire island, according to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA).

“The entire electrical system in Puerto Rico collapses AGAIN! Back to September 20th,” tweeted San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Wednesday.

The main priorities for restoration are hospitals, airports, water treatment plants, banks, business and then homes, a PREPA spokesperson told ABC News, adding it will take 24 to 36 hours for the last person to get their power back.

The trouble began when the contractor Cobra Energy used an excavator to remove a recently collapsed electrical tower on Wednesday, affecting the line that caused the outage, according to Justo Gonzalez, acting executive director of PREPA.

Gonzalez said it is possible that only 1 to 2 percent of customers had power after the incident, as compared to 92.7 percent before the outage.

Mammoth Energy, the parent company of Cobra, said in a statement to ABC News “Cobra is dedicated to the difficult work that lies ahead and continues to work around-the-clock with PREPA and the citizens of Puerto Rico to repair the entire infrastructure system to prevent outages such as this one from affecting the entire population on the island.”

Puerto Rico has been plagued by several blackouts in recent months, including a major outage last week that affected roughly 840,000 people.

In March, six months since Hurricane Maria walloped the island, Gov. Ricardo Rossello said that the electrical grid being put up currently will be weaker than the grid that existed before the storm, adding that it could take nearly five years for a stronger grid to be built.

“Everybody is pissed off,” said Dr. Jorge Gabriel Rosado, 30, a pediatrician on the island. “Especially when all these reports keep coming out that [seem to] confirm what was an unspoken truth: Response to this disaster was slower and more disinterested than any other emergency response in U.S. history.”

In February, Rossello told ABC News that he felt a lack of urgency from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in helping to restore power.

“Two-thirds of the island’s recovery on that front is in the Corps of Engineers’ hands,” Rossello said. “I have seen a lack of urgency on that, whether it is on the contracting side or the bringing materials side which is a current problem.”

“We respond to get things back up to normal,” Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite said. “Rebuilding the generating capability of Puerto Rico was not the Corps of Engineers’ task.”

The power outage has called into question a baseball game between the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians scheduled for Wednesday night in San Juan.

In a bit of good news for the island, Puerto Rico Series’ director of operations John Blakeman told ESPN the show will go on.

“This has not taken us by surprise. We are prepared. Every area of Hiram Bithorn Stadium can run on generators that have a capacity to run for 48 hours,” Blakeman said.

The game is expected to create a $17 million impact to the island, according to the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.

On Wednesday evening, PREPA announced that more than 51,000 customers have electric service, though Puerto Rico has more than 1 million households.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Fidel Castro’s revolution lives on in this Cuban mountain range

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(HAVANA) — In the rugged Sierra Maestra mountains near where Fidel Castro made his hideout as he led a guerrilla uprising in the late 1950s, Cubans say they are still grateful for the land reforms and modern amenities his leftist revolution brought to the area.

Fidel Castro’s younger brother Raul Castro, 86, steps down as president this week. His successor is likely to be 57-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel, the first time that Communist-run Cuba has had a leader born after the 1959 revolution.

In Santo Domingo, the hamlet closest to the “Comandancia La Plata” where the rebels had their military headquarters, locals say they owe much to the Castros’ revolution, despite an ailing economy that Raul Castro’s tentative market reforms have failed to fix.

“I have a happy life: I have a place to farm; I have animals,” said farmer Paulo Alvarez, 55, whose pigs, turkeys, and chickens roam freely around his wooden hut, grunting and squawking. “I thank the revolution for that. It was not like this before.”

Fidel Castro, who ruled for decades before handing off to his brother and who died in retirement in 2016, nationalized many large agricultural properties after coming to power, part of a sharp leftward turn that prompted many Cubans to leave the island and that sent relations with the United States into a long freeze.

Title to the land was given free of charge to former tenant farmers, farm laborers and sharecroppers. Many farmers then joined together to work under the umbrella of state and cooperative farms.

The Cuban government also brought medical facilities, schools and paved roads to remote places like Santo Domingo, a village of several hundred inhabitants nestled in the wooded mountains by a river.

Resident Luis Enrique Perez was able to train as an English teacher, although he gave up teaching because of the low salary. Despite the revolution’s achievements in social indicators like education, much of Cuba’s population scrapes by on state wages, which at around $30 per month are a source of common grumbles.

Perez said he found better-paid work as a guide at the Comandancia La Plata, which nowadays attracts visitors exploring Cuba’s political heritage.

“I can make better money and also practice my languages with tourists, which is my passion,” said Perez, as he pointed to the large bed where Fidel Castro once slept next to a window overlooking the surrounding undergrowth.

Adding a touch of authenticity, a 1950s American fridge stands in the main room with a bullet hole where it is said to have been hit by enemy fire while being carried up the mountains to the “Commandante’s” hut.

“Raul did many good things to Cuba in the last 10 years,” he said. “He has changed the social life of the country, with cooperatives, private business, hotspots, internet, mobiles.”

The younger Castro has opened up Cuba’s state-run economy to private enterprise in an attempt to boost growth and trim the state payroll. A surge in tourism over the past few years has fostered that fledgling private sector.

In Santo Domingo, private restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts have sprung up alongside the main road, where cows and horses saunter across nonchalantly in search of better pastures.

“Cuba would be the best place to live in the world,” said Perez, “if state salaries were good enough.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Fidel Castro’s revolution lives on in this Cuban mountain range

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(HAVANA) — In the rugged Sierra Maestra mountains near where Fidel Castro made his hideout as he led a guerrilla uprising in the late 1950s, Cubans say they are still grateful for the land reforms and modern amenities his leftist revolution brought to the area.

Fidel Castro’s younger brother Raul Castro, 86, steps down as president this week. His successor is likely to be 57-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel, the first time that Communist-run Cuba has had a leader born after the 1959 revolution.

In Santo Domingo, the hamlet closest to the “Comandancia La Plata” where the rebels had their military headquarters, locals say they owe much to the Castros’ revolution, despite an ailing economy that Raul Castro’s tentative market reforms have failed to fix.

“I have a happy life: I have a place to farm; I have animals,” said farmer Paulo Alvarez, 55, whose pigs, turkeys, and chickens roam freely around his wooden hut, grunting and squawking. “I thank the revolution for that. It was not like this before.”

Fidel Castro, who ruled for decades before handing off to his brother and who died in retirement in 2016, nationalized many large agricultural properties after coming to power, part of a sharp leftward turn that prompted many Cubans to leave the island and that sent relations with the United States into a long freeze.

Title to the land was given free of charge to former tenant farmers, farm laborers and sharecroppers. Many farmers then joined together to work under the umbrella of state and cooperative farms.

The Cuban government also brought medical facilities, schools and paved roads to remote places like Santo Domingo, a village of several hundred inhabitants nestled in the wooded mountains by a river.

Resident Luis Enrique Perez was able to train as an English teacher, although he gave up teaching because of the low salary. Despite the revolution’s achievements in social indicators like education, much of Cuba’s population scrapes by on state wages, which at around $30 per month are a source of common grumbles.

Perez said he found better-paid work as a guide at the Comandancia La Plata, which nowadays attracts visitors exploring Cuba’s political heritage.

“I can make better money and also practice my languages with tourists, which is my passion,” said Perez, as he pointed to the large bed where Fidel Castro once slept next to a window overlooking the surrounding undergrowth.

Adding a touch of authenticity, a 1950s American fridge stands in the main room with a bullet hole where it is said to have been hit by enemy fire while being carried up the mountains to the “Commandante’s” hut.

“Raul did many good things to Cuba in the last 10 years,” he said. “He has changed the social life of the country, with cooperatives, private business, hotspots, internet, mobiles.”

The younger Castro has opened up Cuba’s state-run economy to private enterprise in an attempt to boost growth and trim the state payroll. A surge in tourism over the past few years has fostered that fledgling private sector.

In Santo Domingo, private restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts have sprung up alongside the main road, where cows and horses saunter across nonchalantly in search of better pastures.

“Cuba would be the best place to live in the world,” said Perez, “if state salaries were good enough.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Chemical weapons inspectors’ visit to Douma delayed after shots were fired at UN team

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A United Nations security team came under fire on Tuesday during a visit to the site of a suspected chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma, the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said on Wednesday.

The team was in Douma to survey conditions before chemical weapons experts were to inspect the site. Gunshots were fired at the U.N. security team and an explosive was detonated before the team returned to Damascus, OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said. International chemical weapons inspectors were expected to visit the site on Wednesday, but the visit has now been postponed and it is unknown when it will take place.

“At present, we do not know when the [Fact-Finding Mission] team can be deployed to Douma,” Uzumcu told the OPCW’s Executive Council, adding that he will only consider deploying the inspectors once the U.N. security team determines that it is safe and only if the inspectors get unhindered access to the site.

The OPCW inspectors are in Syria to investigate a suspected gas attack, which took place on April 7 in Douma. The alleged attack killed scores of civilians, according to activists, rescue workers and Western countries.

In response, the United States, the U.K. and France fired missiles at three Syrian targets on Saturday. The targets included a scientific research center in the greater Damascus area described by U.S. officials as a center for research, development, production and testing of chemical weapons.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Chemical weapons inspectors’ visit to Douma delayed after shots were fired at UN team

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A United Nations security team came under fire on Tuesday during a visit to the site of a suspected chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma, the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said on Wednesday.

The team was in Douma to survey conditions before chemical weapons experts were to inspect the site. Gunshots were fired at the U.N. security team and an explosive was detonated before the team returned to Damascus, OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said. International chemical weapons inspectors were expected to visit the site on Wednesday, but the visit has now been postponed and it is unknown when it will take place.

“At present, we do not know when the [Fact-Finding Mission] team can be deployed to Douma,” Uzumcu told the OPCW’s Executive Council, adding that he will only consider deploying the inspectors once the U.N. security team determines that it is safe and only if the inspectors get unhindered access to the site.

The OPCW inspectors are in Syria to investigate a suspected gas attack, which took place on April 7 in Douma. The alleged attack killed scores of civilians, according to activists, rescue workers and Western countries.

In response, the United States, the U.K. and France fired missiles at three Syrian targets on Saturday. The targets included a scientific research center in the greater Damascus area described by U.S. officials as a center for research, development, production and testing of chemical weapons.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Top official says ‘handful’ of Russian intelligence officers still inside U.S.

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — One of the nation’s top counterintelligence officials said Wednesday he knows “there are still a handful” of Russian intelligence officers operating undercover on U.S. soil, even after the Trump and Obama administrations kicked out nearly 100 such operatives over the past two years.

Nevertheless, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, Bill Evanina, said the ousting of those known intelligence officers had a “decipherable, measurable” impact on the Russian government’s ability to collect intelligence inside the United States.

In March, after the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom, the Trump administration expelled 60 Russian intelligence officers from the United States.

“I think there are still a handful left. I know there are,” Evanina said. “And I think the White House is holding them out as potential sanctions in the future if activity continues.”

Speaking at the Aspen Institute in Washington on Wednesday, Evanina suggested that Russian aggression is unlikely to recede anytime soon, and he warned that Russian intelligence services are likely plotting future campaigns to interfere with the 2018 midterm elections and the presidential race in 2020 – a repeat of what they allegedly were able to accomplish in 2016.

“I think they exceeded their expectations of success,” Evanina said of the election meddling. “They extremely succeeded.”

According to Evanina, Americans have yet to appreciate the extent to which Russian operatives are “utilizing our society against us.”

He pointed to how Russian operatives used social media platforms like Facebook to spread false information and inflame tensions across America.

“I don’t think anybody really realized the capabilities that we saw,” especially as outlined in a recent federal indictment charging 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies for their roles a massive campaign to conduct what authorities described as “information warfare against the United States,” with the stated goal of “spread[ing] distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.”

One of the companies, the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, employed hundreds of people – from creators of fictitious personas to technical and administrative support – for its online operations, according to the Justice Department.

“After the election, the defendants allegedly staged rallies to support the President-elect while simultaneously staging rallies to protest his election,” the Justice Department said in a press release. “For example, the defendants organized one rally to support the President-elect and another rally to oppose him—both in New York, on the same day.”

On Wednesday, Evanina said the U.S. government and public didn’t recognize how far Russian officials were willing to go to “influence” the U.S. democratic process.

“The mindset to say, ‘We’re going to utilize a purely American part of our fabric – Facebook – to facilitate this discord,’ is not only creative, but it’s a mindset that we in the U.S. don’t clearly take stock in,” Evanina said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Top official says ‘handful’ of Russian intelligence officers still inside U.S.

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — One of the nation’s top counterintelligence officials said Wednesday he knows “there are still a handful” of Russian intelligence officers operating undercover on U.S. soil, even after the Trump and Obama administrations kicked out nearly 100 such operatives over the past two years.

Nevertheless, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, Bill Evanina, said the ousting of those known intelligence officers had a “decipherable, measurable” impact on the Russian government’s ability to collect intelligence inside the United States.

In March, after the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom, the Trump administration expelled 60 Russian intelligence officers from the United States.

“I think there are still a handful left. I know there are,” Evanina said. “And I think the White House is holding them out as potential sanctions in the future if activity continues.”

Speaking at the Aspen Institute in Washington on Wednesday, Evanina suggested that Russian aggression is unlikely to recede anytime soon, and he warned that Russian intelligence services are likely plotting future campaigns to interfere with the 2018 midterm elections and the presidential race in 2020 – a repeat of what they allegedly were able to accomplish in 2016.

“I think they exceeded their expectations of success,” Evanina said of the election meddling. “They extremely succeeded.”

According to Evanina, Americans have yet to appreciate the extent to which Russian operatives are “utilizing our society against us.”

He pointed to how Russian operatives used social media platforms like Facebook to spread false information and inflame tensions across America.

“I don’t think anybody really realized the capabilities that we saw,” especially as outlined in a recent federal indictment charging 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies for their roles a massive campaign to conduct what authorities described as “information warfare against the United States,” with the stated goal of “spread[ing] distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.”

One of the companies, the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, employed hundreds of people – from creators of fictitious personas to technical and administrative support – for its online operations, according to the Justice Department.

“After the election, the defendants allegedly staged rallies to support the President-elect while simultaneously staging rallies to protest his election,” the Justice Department said in a press release. “For example, the defendants organized one rally to support the President-elect and another rally to oppose him—both in New York, on the same day.”

On Wednesday, Evanina said the U.S. government and public didn’t recognize how far Russian officials were willing to go to “influence” the U.S. democratic process.

“The mindset to say, ‘We’re going to utilize a purely American part of our fabric – Facebook – to facilitate this discord,’ is not only creative, but it’s a mindset that we in the U.S. don’t clearly take stock in,” Evanina said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Excavator blamed for island-wide blackout in Puerto Rico

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

An island-wide blackout has hit Puerto Rico, which is struggling with an increasingly unstable power grid nearly seven months after Hurricane Maria hit the U.S. territory

Royal fanatics are camped outside hospital awaiting royal baby

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Chris Jackson/Getty Images(LONDON) — More reliable than baby due dates in the Lindo maternity wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in London, are the die hard royal baby watchers outside. They’re few, they’re dedicated, and they’re here rain or shine.

“We come as soon as they put the parking restrictions on,” Maria Scott, 46, from Newcastle told ABC News, with a British flag tied around her shoulders like a cape. The parking restrictions come when authorities set up the press pen, and clear the street for motorcade access, Scott explained.

Kate’s due date is rumored to be next week and they’ve been camping out for nine days already, just to be on the safe side.

Scott and her friends were here outside the prestigious, private Lindo Wing for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s first two kids, George and Charlotte – and they’re not going to miss the third.

“I’ve done it so long, I know the routine, the helicopters and the motorcade” said Terry Hutt, 83, from Camden Town, whose dashing Union Jack suit has been a mainstay at royal events for decades. “And I explain it to people who haven’t done it before.”

“As soon as I get that feeling,” Hutt said, obviously excited at the thought, “butterflies, is what women call it, butterflies, that’s it – I’ll get on my feet and be ready.”

But why camp out? One might ask.

Hutt, Scott, her daughter Amy Thompson and John Loughrey, 63, also donning a Union Jack suit, were all seated on a bench in the sun outside the hospital, next to some camping chairs and a tent draped with the British flag.

Scott said it’s all about the electric atmosphere. Loughrey added that it was also about the celebration and the champagne. And for 83 year-old Hutt, well, it’s tradition and team work.

“You’ve got to be here to experience it, seeing it on TV doesn’t do it justice,” Scott said, her flag now slightly off kilter. “It’s just a wonderful feeling you get. The excitement is magical!”

The whole experience on the day of the birth doesn’t last long. The Duke and Duchess emerge with their newest addition on the steps of the Lindo Wing, wave, say a few words to the crowd, and then they’re off. That’s it.

Did Amy Thompson ever think her mom was a bit nuts, honestly?

“No, no,” Thompson says. “I’ve been brought up knowing everything about the family – and she’s always been this way. Everyone has their thing and this is ours.” Like her mother, she too, has become an ardent royal fan.

“It’s indescribable. It means the world,” Thompson adds.

The tight-knit group has done multiple events together and they say Kate even sent them breakfast the morning she gave birth to Charlotte. So, when do they think this new baby, the fifth in line for the throne, will arrive?

“Well, I was wrong,” Hutt said. “I thought it would be last night and I got all packed up and ready to go.”

Scott has her eyes on this weekend. “I think it’s going to be on the 21st, the Queen’s birthday,” she said. Her daughter, Thompson and the others nod in agreement. “That would be lovely for the Queen. A wonderful birthday present.”

The group is split on whether they think it will be a boy or a girl. And as for names, Philip Michael, Victoria, Elizabeth and Alice are all offered as viable options.

Hutt adds that he might like like them to name the baby after him or his wife. In the end though, he’s just hoping for a healthy baby for the happy couple.

“It’s going to be a beautiful day,” Hutt said, adjusting his matching Union Jack printed fedora.

Like Thompson said, everyone has their thing.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Pope Francis meets with father of terminally ill baby denied further treatment

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

"I hope the Pope can save my son," the father said after the meeting.

Pope meets with father of terminally ill British baby denied further treatment

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Tom Evans had a private audience with the pope on Tuesday at the Vatican.

Pope meets with father of terminally ill British baby denied further treatment

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Tom Evans had a private audience with the pope on Tuesday at the Vatican.

Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend, officials say

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — CIA Director Mike Pompeo secretly met with Kim Jong Un to discuss setting up a meeting between the North Korean leader and President Donald Trump, two U.S. officials have confirmed to ABC News.

The trip to North Korea, first reported by the Washington Post, happened over Easter weekend.

The White House and the CIA have declined to comment.

Earlier on Tuesday, Trump himself confirmed there have been “direct talks at very high levels with North Korea.”

The president has said he hopes to meet with Kim as early as May or June. Trump said Tuesday that five locations have been discussed as possible venues.

The president, who confirmed the meeting in a tweet Wednesday morning, has said he hopes to meet with Kim as early as May or June. Trump said Tuesday that five locations have been discussed as possible venues.

A senior U.S. official said the president has ruled out China as a location, and that Kim likely wouldn’t agree to meet in the U.S., just as Trump said he wouldn’t meet in North Korea.

Venues in Europe, southern Asia and the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea are being considered.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend, officials say

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — CIA Director Mike Pompeo secretly met with Kim Jong Un to discuss setting up a meeting between the North Korean leader and President Donald Trump, two U.S. officials have confirmed to ABC News.

The trip to North Korea, first reported by the Washington Post, happened over Easter weekend.

The White House and the CIA have declined to comment.

Earlier on Tuesday, Trump himself confirmed there have been “direct talks at very high levels with North Korea.”

The president has said he hopes to meet with Kim as early as May or June. Trump said Tuesday that five locations have been discussed as possible venues.

The president, who confirmed the meeting in a tweet Wednesday morning, has said he hopes to meet with Kim as early as May or June. Trump said Tuesday that five locations have been discussed as possible venues.

A senior U.S. official said the president has ruled out China as a location, and that Kim likely wouldn’t agree to meet in the U.S., just as Trump said he wouldn’t meet in North Korea.

Venues in Europe, southern Asia and the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea are being considered.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Korean Air chairman’s daughter suspended after allegedly throwing drink at meeting

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

South Korean authorities have formally requested a travel ban on the youngest daughter of Korean Air Chairman Cho Yang-ho after she allegedly threw a drink at someone during an office meeting.

Cho Hyun-min, a senior vice president at the airline also known as Emily Cho, is accused of yelling at and throwing a cup of plum juice at an advertising firm manager last month. She told reporters at the airport on Sunday that she merely "pushed" a cup and didn’t throw it at anyone’s face.

Seoul’s Gangseo Police Station is investigating the criminal case and requested Cho’s travel ban from the justice ministry on Tuesday.

Korean Air has suspended the 35-year-old graduate of the University of Southern California, who apologized to all Korean Air employees in an email and posted another apology via social media that read, in part, "It is my big fault for not controlling my own emotions."

Cho’s older sister, Cho Hyun-ah, also known as Heather, served a jail sentence after a 2014 incident in…

Internal Trump administration documents appear to contradict decision to end Haitian humanitarian program

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Documents released Tuesday appear to show a contradiction between an internal agency report and the assessment by the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) about the end a humanitarian program, known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS), for Haiti.

USCIS Director Francis Cissna based his assessment and recommendation on the report, according to a letter.

The internal USCIS report said that “many of the conditions prompting the original January 2010 TPS designation persist, and the country remains vulnerable to external shocks and internal fragility.”

The memo went on to conclude that “due to the conditions outlined in this report, Haiti’s recovery from the 2010 earthquake could be characterized as falling into what one non-governmental organization recently described as ‘the country’s tragic pattern of one step forward, two steps back.'”

Cissna wrote to then-acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke — who was responsible for making the final decision on the program — that while lingering effects of the 2010 earthquake remain, “Haiti has made significant progress in addressing issues specific to the earthquake.”

“In summary, Haiti has made significant progress in recovering from the 2010 earthquake, and no longer continues to meet the conditions for designation,” he wrote.

His final recommendation to Duke is redacted.

According to USCIS, the TPS memo addressed conditions related to the earthquake, including displaced people and a prior housing shortage.

The documents were released after the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, along with the NYU School of Law, filed a lawsuit seeking records pertaining to the termination of TPS for Haiti.

In November, Duke announced her decision to terminate the program for Haiti, with a delayed effective date “to allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on July 22, 2019.”

In her announcement, she wrote that the “extraordinary but temporary conditions caused by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist.”

Approximately 59,000 Haitians have been impacted by the decision, and will have to leave the United States or face living in the country illegally — pending any legislative response or ongoing litigation.

Last Friday was Duke’s last day at the department, and she could not be reached for comment.

“I think it raises questions about whether they were making policy decisions about how they were approaching TPS, instead of case-by-case review that they have historically done,” Sejal Zota, legal director of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, said to ABC News.

“Their own internal report documents and confirms that many of the conditions persist and that the country remains vulnerable,” said Zota.

The termination of TPS for Haiti comes amid the end to numerous similar programs, like those for Nicaragua, El Salvador and Sudan, which immigration advocates say “creates instability and problems not just for these families, but for their communities.”

A decision on whether to extend TPS for Nepal is due next week.

This is the first batch of documents, but thousands more are expected over the coming months.

In response to the released documents, USCIS said that “the decision to terminate TPS for Haiti was made after an interagency review process that considered country conditions and the ability of the country to receive returning citizens, according to the agency.”

“DHS undertook an extensive outreach campaign to U.S. state and federal government officials, Haitian officials, and third-party partners who offered their input as to the conditions on the ground in Haiti. Based on all available information, acting Secretary Elaine Duke determined that the extraordinary and temporary conditions that formed the basis of Haiti’s TPS designation as a result of the 2010 earthquake no longer exist, and thus, pursuant to statute, DHS concluded the current TPS designation for Haiti should not be extended,” said Cissna in a statement.

The Lawyers Guild has also filed a separate lawsuit challenging the end to the program. The government is expected to provide a response to that lawsuit by May 24.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Internal Trump administration documents appear to contradict decision to end Haitian humanitarian program

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Documents released Tuesday appear to show a contradiction between an internal agency report and the assessment by the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) about the end a humanitarian program, known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS), for Haiti.

USCIS Director Francis Cissna based his assessment and recommendation on the report, according to a letter.

The internal USCIS report said that “many of the conditions prompting the original January 2010 TPS designation persist, and the country remains vulnerable to external shocks and internal fragility.”

The memo went on to conclude that “due to the conditions outlined in this report, Haiti’s recovery from the 2010 earthquake could be characterized as falling into what one non-governmental organization recently described as ‘the country’s tragic pattern of one step forward, two steps back.'”

Cissna wrote to then-acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke — who was responsible for making the final decision on the program — that while lingering effects of the 2010 earthquake remain, “Haiti has made significant progress in addressing issues specific to the earthquake.”

“In summary, Haiti has made significant progress in recovering from the 2010 earthquake, and no longer continues to meet the conditions for designation,” he wrote.

His final recommendation to Duke is redacted.

According to USCIS, the TPS memo addressed conditions related to the earthquake, including displaced people and a prior housing shortage.

The documents were released after the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, along with the NYU School of Law, filed a lawsuit seeking records pertaining to the termination of TPS for Haiti.

In November, Duke announced her decision to terminate the program for Haiti, with a delayed effective date “to allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on July 22, 2019.”

In her announcement, she wrote that the “extraordinary but temporary conditions caused by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist.”

Approximately 59,000 Haitians have been impacted by the decision, and will have to leave the United States or face living in the country illegally — pending any legislative response or ongoing litigation.

Last Friday was Duke’s last day at the department, and she could not be reached for comment.

“I think it raises questions about whether they were making policy decisions about how they were approaching TPS, instead of case-by-case review that they have historically done,” Sejal Zota, legal director of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, said to ABC News.

“Their own internal report documents and confirms that many of the conditions persist and that the country remains vulnerable,” said Zota.

The termination of TPS for Haiti comes amid the end to numerous similar programs, like those for Nicaragua, El Salvador and Sudan, which immigration advocates say “creates instability and problems not just for these families, but for their communities.”

A decision on whether to extend TPS for Nepal is due next week.

This is the first batch of documents, but thousands more are expected over the coming months.

In response to the released documents, USCIS said that “the decision to terminate TPS for Haiti was made after an interagency review process that considered country conditions and the ability of the country to receive returning citizens, according to the agency.”

“DHS undertook an extensive outreach campaign to U.S. state and federal government officials, Haitian officials, and third-party partners who offered their input as to the conditions on the ground in Haiti. Based on all available information, acting Secretary Elaine Duke determined that the extraordinary and temporary conditions that formed the basis of Haiti’s TPS designation as a result of the 2010 earthquake no longer exist, and thus, pursuant to statute, DHS concluded the current TPS designation for Haiti should not be extended,” said Cissna in a statement.

The Lawyers Guild has also filed a separate lawsuit challenging the end to the program. The government is expected to provide a response to that lawsuit by May 24.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend: Officials

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — CIA Director Mike Pompeo secretly met with Kim Jong Un to discuss setting up a meeting between the North Korean leader and President Donald Trump, two U.S. officials have confirmed to ABC News.

The trip to North Korea, first reported by the Washington Post, happened over Easter weekend.

The White House and the CIA have declined to comment.

Earlier on Tuesday, Trump himself confirmed there have been “direct talks at very high levels with North Korea.”

The president has said he hopes to meet with Kim as early as May or June. Trump said Tuesday that five locations have been discussed as possible venues.

A senior U.S. official said the president has ruled out China as a location, and that Kim likely wouldn’t agree to meet in the U.S., just as Trump said he wouldn’t meet in North Korea.

Venues in Europe, southern Asia and the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea are being considered.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

South Korean actress kidnapped and forced to make North Korean movies dies at 92

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Choi Eun-hee was kidnapped in the 1970s.