Thousands March in Moscow Sunday in Honor of Slain Putin Rival

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Photo by Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images(MOSCOW) — Thousands of mourners marched in Moscow on Sunday to honor Boris Nemtsov, a political opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was fatally shot outside the Kremlin Friday.

The march was scheduled prior to Nemtsov’s death, but it was originally intended to be a march for peace, against the war in Ukraine. Nemtsov was to lead the march. In light of his death, others went on with plans to march, with one extra cause in mind.

The BBC’s Olga Ivshina said on Sunday that those who marched “hope that this would change things, that this would trigger mass protest movement or this would trigger some changes within Russia.”

ABC’s Foreign Desk correspondent and former Moscow correspondent Kirit Radia said Sunday that the Russian government’s investigation is unlikely to be impartial. The Russian system, he notes, is one “where very few things happen by accident.”

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Astronauts Complete Third Spacewalk in Eight Days

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

3DSculptor/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Astronauts Terry Virts and Barry Wilmore completed their third spacewalk in eight days Sunday, finishing the installation of 400 feet of cable and multiple antennas that will eventually allow commercial spacecraft to dock at the International Space Station.

Sunday’s spacewalk took five hours and 38 minutes. It was Virts’ third spacewalk and Wilmore’s fourth.

#Spacewalk stats: 5 hrs, 38 minutes Virts' third, 19 hrs, 2 min total Wilmore's fourth, 25 hrs, 36 min total pic.twitter.com/v1xl73zVSh

— NASA (@NASA) March 1, 2015

In total, NASA says that crews have spent 1,171 hours and 29 minutes conducting 187 spacewalks for maintenance and assembly on the International Space Station.

For the second time in a week, Virts reported seeing some water in the helmet of his spacesuit, though it did not seem to be a major problem.

.@AstroTerry reported a small amount of water in helmet again at repress as on Wed. It's a known issue; no concern. pic.twitter.com/n3h98UvsMM

— NASA (@NASA) March 1, 2015

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Assyrian Christians: A Look at the Religious Group Captured by ISIS

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

zabelin/iStock/Thinkstock(DAMASCUS) — The world watched in horror last week as reports surfaced that ISIS militants captured as many as 350 Assyrian Christians in northeastern Syria.

It’s the latest assault by the terror group against religious minorities in the region, after a video released by ISIS online purported to show the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya.

Watch the ABC News digital original video below to learn more about the Assyrian Christians kidnapped by ISIS.

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Who Are the Assyrian Christians Captured by ISIS?

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

ISIS reportedly captured dozens of Assyrian Christians in northeastern Syria.

Nine Airstrikes Launched Against ISIS Targets in Iraq, Syria

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Stocktrek Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — U.S.-led forces continued to hit ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria with airstrikes, U.S. Central Command said Sunday.

According to Centcom, planes from the U.S. and partner nations launched two airstrikes near Al Hasakah in Syria. Those strikes hit a tactical unit and destroyed a pair of ISIS’ vehicles.

Seven more strikes took place in Iraq, four of them focused on the area near Mosul. In total, the strikes in Iraq hit four tactical units, an ISIS-controlled building and an excavator while destroying two buildings, a storage facility, two storage containers and two boats.

The strikes came one day after Centcom announced 20 airstrikes against ISIS targets.

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UN Releases Iraq Casualty Figures for February

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Marcio Silva/iStock/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) — More than 1,000 Iraqis were killed in acts of terrorism or violence in February, the United Nations says.

In its monthly report, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq notes that 1,103 Iraqis were killed in February and 2,280 more were injured in acts of terror or violence. That figure includes 611 civilians killed and 1,353 injured.

“Daily terrorist attacks perpetrated by [ISIS] continue to deliberately target all Iraqis,” Special Representative of U.N. Secretary-General for Iraq Nickolay Mladenov said. He also mentioned “concerning reports of a number of revenge killings by armed groups in areas recently liberated” from ISIS.

Baghdad was the most heavily affected governorate with 329 civilians killed and 875 injured.

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ISIS-Bound British Schoolgirls Spotted Waiting for Bus in Turkey

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Metropolitan Police, London(LONDON) — Three British schoolgirls who are believed to have flown to Turkey on their way to Syria in an effort to join ISIS were reportedly seen on surveillance video waiting for a bus the same day they left London.

The three girls — Shamima Begum, 15, Amira Abase, 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16 — were last seen February 17 when they boarded a flight from London’s Gatwick airport headed for Turkey. The surveillance video shows them waiting at a bus station on the European side of Istanbul later that same day, reports to the BBC.

Scotland Yard believes the Bethnal Green Academy students are now in Syria, having been met at the border by ISIS fighters, according to the BBC. Scotland Yard had previously said the girls were going to join ISIS.

Time codes on the surveillance video suggest the girls were at the bus station for about 18 hours, reports the BBC.

The girls’ relatives have made emotional pleas for them to return home.

“If you’re watching this, baby, please come home,” said Renu Begum, an older sister of one of the missing girls, Shamima Begum, told the BBC last week. “Mum needs you more than anything in the world. You’re our baby and we just want you home, we want you safe. Just contact anybody let them know that you need help.”

Abase Hussen, the father of Amira Abase, told the BBC his daughter told him she was going to a wedding when she left the family home.

A relative of Kadiza Sultana said “everyone’s hurting… especially mum.”

“Find the courage in your heart to contact us and let us know that you’re safe and you’re OK,” the relative said.

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ISIS-Bound Schoolgirls Spotted Waiting for Bus in Turkey

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

They were reportedly spotted waiting for a bus the same day they left London.

Cuba-US Relations: Shared History and Values Overcome Differences, Diplomat Says

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Ruskpp/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The history and values shared by the United States and Cuba can help the two countries overcome their differences, the island nation’s top diplomat tells ABC News.

Josefina Vidal, the Cuban diplomat leading the Cuban delegation in the talks to restore relations between the two countries, sat down exclusively with ABC News, following the second round of the negotiations.

“We think we can build coexistence, a civilized relationship between the United States, where we can respect each other’s differences and at the same time work together on issues of common interest between Cuba and the United States, as neighbors as are,” Vidal told ABC News.

The U.S. government has said since the announcement of restoration of ties in December that the best way to change Cuba is by opening it up to U.S. investments and people.

“We know that this is the way the United States government presents its policy toward Cuba, but we have another way to do that, so what we say is that we believe that no matter the differences we have, and we know that we have profound differences on certain issues, not on others, because we share a history, we share some values, we share culture traditions, between Cuba and the United States,” she said.

As the second round of talks came to an end Friday, Roberta Jacobson, leading the U.S. delegation, said the embassies in both countries could be reopened before the Summit of the Americas, which takes place on April 10-11 in Panama. Both presidents Obama and Raul Castro will be in attendance and it could be their first meeting since the announcement to restore diplomatic ties in December.

“We would like to see the resumption of diplomatic relations soon,” Vidal said. “No matter if the summit of the Americas takes place or not, but you are right that we think, we should try and have this problem solved as quick as we can.”

One of the biggest issues for the Cuban government in moving forward is their listing as a State Sponsor of Terrorism by the State Department, which impacts their inability to bank at their current Interest Section in Washington, D.C.

While listed as a state sponsor of terror, they are unable to use any credit and must operate fully in cash.

“More and more banks have been fined because having operations, banking operations with Cuba,” she said. “As a result of this phenomenon problem, its more and more difficult to find a bank that wants to have a relationship with Cuba, and this has affected our office in Washington, that has been lacking financial resources for a year now … They don’t have credit cards, they don’t have debit cards, they have to operate in cash, which is something almost impossible to do in the United States.

“What we were told yesterday is that they have been working really hard, talking to different banks, not only American banks, but also foreign banks, to try to see if there can be a solution in the following, in the next few weeks,” she said. “We hope there is a solution, because we tell them that this situation is difficult to maintain, and it would be almost impossible to open a regular, normal embassy in Washington, Cuban embassy, without a bank.”

Vidal said at a press conference Friday that the U.S. taking Cuba off the list of state sponsors of terror is not a precondition for opening an embassy, but that the issue is a priority for the Cuban government.

She told ABC News Saturday that Cuba has never sponsored terrorism or those affiliated with terrorism toward any country.

“It has always been a political decision, not a decision based on real facts. Because it’s a fact of life that from the territory of Cuba, terrorism has never been organized, financed, or executed or implemented toward any country in the world, including the United States,” Vidal said. “We have always considered the inclusion of Cuba in that list has been unjust, has been unfounded, and has been based on political considerations that have no room, have no reason to continue in this moment where we are trying to build a new relation between our two countries.”

The State Department is conducting a review of that listing and is expected to present its findings to Obama soon. Once that happens, the president will make a recommendation and submit it to Congress.

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U.S., Cuba’s Shared History, Values Overcome Differences, Diplomat Says

Posted on: February 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Cuba’s top diplomat sees thetwo countries forming a partnership.

US-Led Coalition Confirms 20 More Airstrikes in Iraq, Syria

Posted on: February 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Zoonar RF/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) — The U.S.-led coalition says it conducted 20 more airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on Friday.

Strikes in Syria continue to be focused near the border town of Kobani, where four strikes destroyed a pair of tactical units and four fighting positions operated by ISIS. Five additional strikes hit six tactical units while destroying four vehicles and an HQ building.

The eleven strikes in Iraq were targeted around Al Asad, Sinjar, Mosul, Fallujah and Al Huwayjah. In total, those strikes destroyed five fighting positions, two vehicles, a building, a mortar, a humvee, a front end loader and a tactical unit. A second vehicle and a second building were both damaged in the strikes.

The strikes in Iraq also hit two tactical units and a large tactical unit.

The U.S. and numerous nations, including Canada, France and the U.K. have taken part in the ongoing strikes.

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Boris Nemtsov Joins List of Dead Vladimir Putin Critics

Posted on: February 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

At least six critics of the Russian president have died in the last 10 years.

Cuba and US a Step Closer to Reopening Embassies

Posted on: February 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

frankix/iStock/Thinkstock(HAVANA) — Both sides expressed optimism on Friday that Cuba and the United States will soon resume normal diplomatic relations, with the goal of opening embassies in both countries as early as April.

Roberta Jacobson, leading the U.S. delegation, said the embassies could be reopened before the April Summit of the Americas, April 10-11 in Panama. Both Presidents Obama and Raul Castro will be in attendance and it could be their first meeting since the announcement to restore diplomatic ties in December.

“I’m very encouraged that we will have an embassy functioning in Havana that is able to do its work,” Jacobson, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, said.

Adding, in response to a question: “I do think we can get this done in time for the Summit of the Americas.”

For the Cubans, two big issues are still on the table: remaining on the U.S. terrorist watch list and issues surrounding their inability to work with U.S. banks at their Interest Section, which results in all transactions being in cash.

Josefina Vidal on the Cuban side even emphasized that one issue is not a precondition for the other.

Vidal says it would be difficult for Cuba to consider relations completely normalized while it remains designated as a terrorist state. But she considered the opening of embassies and establishing a relationship separate from the steps being taken to establish full normalization.

“What we are saying is, It’s not a precondition. Not a condition. But is a very important issue for Cuba … we hope is addressed and solved,” added Vidal, who’s leading the negotiations for Cuba.

The United States has taken the first step toward removing Cuba from that list, undertaking a review, which when completed must be submitted to Congress prior to Cuba’s being taken off the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism.

The delegations announced a series of bilateral meetings, a half dozen, held over the next few weeks to discuss other concerns, including human rights, marine protected areas, protection of migration front and regulation issues.

And the two sides have agreed to maintain “permanent communication” as they move forward.

“In our case not compromising on our values but to try and resolve this so we can have the kind of relationship,” Jacobson said. “We made sufficient progress on enough [issues]. Some of them are close to resolution, others we have to take back to our respective leadership.”

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Prince William and Duchess Kate: Does Beijing Know Who They Are?

Posted on: February 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(BEIJING) — China is getting ready to roll out the royal treatment for the United Kingdom’s Prince William this Sunday, but it looks like not everyone in Beijing knows who the guest of honor is.

ABC News’ Bob Woodruff took to the streets of Beijing to see how many people could identify the future king of England and his future queen, Duchess Kate.

Turns out about half them could identify the famous royal. Out of 16 people interviewed, just seven recognized the famous Will and Kate.

There could be one good reason for the lapse in recognition: British royals haven’t visited the country in nearly 30 years, since Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth visited.

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Boris Nemtsov, Vocal Critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Shot Dead in Moscow

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

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(MOSCOW) — Boris Nemtsov, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most vocal and visible opponents was shot and killed near Moscow’s Red Square Friday, a member of his political party told ABC News.

Nemtsov, a prominent opposition leader, was shot multiple times in the back as he walked by a bridge near the Kremlin late Friday night, according to Russia’s Investigative Committee.

Russian news reports said that Nemtsov was walking with a female companion when a white car pulled up and fired on him before fleeing the scene.

Unidentified killers fired “at least seven or eight shots” at Nemtsov when the politician was walking on Bolshoy Kammeny Bridge in central Moscow, Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said.

“Witnesses to the killing are being questioned, and the crime scene is being carefully examined,” Markin said.

Nemtsov was a former deputy prime minister under Putin during the 1990s, but fell out with the Russian president and formed Russia’s People’s Freedom Party.

The reason for the attack remains a mystery. A Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said President Putin was aware of the news and called it a provocation. “Putin noted that this cruel murder has every sign of being a contract one which has solely provocative nature,” Peskov said, according to the Interfax news agency.

“The president has ordered the leadership of the Investigative Committee, the Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service to form an investigative group and keep the investigation of this crime under personal control,” Peskov said.

“The Russian president expresses deep condolences to relatives and friends of Boris Nemtsov, who died tragically,” Peskov added.

The former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul tweeted: “I cannot believe that they have killed my friend, Boris Nemtsov.”

Nemtsov’s death comes just days before he was expected to take part in a large anti-Putin protest planned on Sunday.

Nemtsov was one of the organizers of large street protests against President Putin in recent years, always marching at the front of the crowd and addressing them from the stage.

He was the author of several reports on corruption in Russia, including attempts to estimate President Putin’s wealth and the amount of money stolen during preparations for last year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi.

“I was born in Russia and will die in this country,” he told ABC News’ Brian Ross in December 2013 when asked if he was afraid of being targeted for his opposition to President Putin.

“Everybody who against him must be very careful,” he said.

Asked what motivated him, Nemtsov replied: “I think that we must replace him because he did everything against an interest of my country; corruption, dependence on oil and gas, absence of technology, monopolization. He doesn’t want to invest money to middle class. He forgets about health care and the population.”

“Russian authorities should thoroughly and impartially investigate Nemtsov’s killing,” said Tanya Cooper, Russia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities need to consider all possible motivations for his killing, including Nemtsov’s political activity.”

In an interview published on Friday, Nemtsov told the Financial Times he believed U.S. sanctions on Russia were beginning to have an effect on Putin’s popularity. Stagnant wages and soaring inflation topped the agenda when he met with residents of Yaroslavl, a town northeast of Moscow, last week.

“They believed that the embargo on imported foods is America’s fault, and they were surprised when I told them no, that was not Obama, it was Putin,” Nemtsov told the Financial Times. “This is what we need to make people aware of the crisis. Putin’s rating will not stay at above 80 per cent forever. It will start coming down, very gradually. And once it does, the fear will diminish, too, and at some point some big business will start supporting and financing us.”

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US, Cuba a Step Closer to Reopening Embassies

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

Both sides expressed optimism on Friday that Cuba and the United States will soon resume normal diplomatic relations.

Boris Nemtsov, Vocal Critic of Russian President, Shot Dead in Moscow

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

Nemtsov was shot four times in the chest, according to local reports

First Picture of ‘Jihadi John’ as an Adult Emerges

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

Mohammed Emwazi identified as alleged ISIS executioner.

Apparently Half of Beijing Isn???t Familiar With the Visiting Royal

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

Beijing is rolling out the red carpet to greet Britain’s Prince William, but not everyone knows who he is.

‘Jihadi John’ Unmasked: First Picture of Mohammed Emwazi as an Adult Emerges

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

Fair Use(NEW YORK) — A day after he was identified as ISIS’s infamous “Jihadi John,” a photograph of the man, Mohammed Emwazi, has emerged, published on the front pages of British newspapers late Friday.

The image, from the files from Emwazi’s time at the University of Westminster, shows the young man in a white t-shirt and Pittsburgh Pirates baseball hat. Years later, the same eyes shown in that picture would peek through a black mask as Emwazi allegedly wields a knife in multiple ISIS hostage execution videos.

“Nothing like this. We never realized he would go to be jihadi,” Sharaftullah Towsi, a friend of Emwazi’s, told the BBC Friday, echoing sentiments from others who knew him as a “nice” young man.

But one of Emwazi’s elementary school teachers told the BBC late Friday that he was put into anger management therapy because he was getting into fights at the age of 11.

“We’d find that he’d get very angry and worked up and it would take him a long time to calm himself down,” said the teacher, who was not identified.

By the age of 21, British intelligence reportedly suspected Emwazi was interested in joining extremist groups. He was detained during a trip to Tanzania and accused of really trying to join the Somali terror group al-Shabab, according to the British activist group CAGE.

After more reported run-ins with security services, Emwazi managed to slip out of the U.K. in 2012 and make his way to Syria to join ISIS.

Emwazi came of age in London as radical Islamists were urging young men to join the jihad against the U.S. and Britain. A prominent activist, Anjem Choudary, told ABC News Friday he did not know Emwazi, but called him a Muslim brother whose brutal acts he refused to condemn.

“I know who I want to condemn,” he said. “I want to condemn you guys for being the tongue of the biggest terrorists in the world, the Americans and their own allies, the British.”

The man who would be come to be known as “Jihadi John” first appeared in a string of disturbing videos produced by ISIS last August in which he appeared to slice the necks of Western hostages, including American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. He was also seen in a video that showed the dead body of American aid worker Peter Kassig.

A month after the Foley video emerged, the FBI said it had learned “Jihadi John’s” identity, but it was not revealed to the public.

Sen. Angus King, a member of the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committees, said that by identifying “Jihadi John” it sends a message to anyone who wants to hide “because they put something across their face.” “Somebody once said, ‘None are so brave as the anonymous.’ I think that one of the things this message says to this guy is that they aren’t going to be anonymous. I would advise this guy right now not to buy any green bananas. I think justice is going to find him,” King said.

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David Cameron Defends British Intelligence Agencies Following ‘Jihadi John’ Criticism

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

State Dept Photo(LONDON) -– British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke out on Friday in in defense of Britain’s intelligence agencies, after it emerged that Jihadi John, Mohammed Emwazi, had been known to MI5 before his flight to Syria.

Speaking in Wales, Cameron wouldn’t be drawn on the specifics, but said “I think they are incredibly impressive, hard-working, dedicated, courageous and effective at protecting our country.”

Cameron added the agencies have to make “incredibly difficult judgments” and have foiled several terror plots in the “last few months.”

“I think it is a moment to stand up and thank them for the work they do on our behalf,” he said.

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Madonna Hacker Indicted In Israel

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

iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) — An Israeli man accused of hacking into Madonna’s computer and leaking some of her unreleased music has been formally indicted in Tel Aviv.

Adi Lederman, 39, faces four criminal charges, including copyright infringement for sneaking onto more than 10 email accounts associated with Madonna, including her manager.

Lederman allegedly stole e-mails, photos, documents, rehearsal tracks from the Grammys and unreleased songs not just from Madonna’s album “Rebel Heart,” but also from her previous album, “MDNA.”  

The 39-year-old allegedly sold items online for up to $1,000.

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Activists Say Nearly 300 Christians Captured by ISIS

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

iStock/Thinkstock(ISTANBUL) — Activists say nearly 300 Assyrian Christians have been captured by the Islamic State in Syria.

The Assyrian Human Rights Network and other groups said on Friday that numerous villages in northeast Syria were raided and hostages taken, including women and children.

Earlier this week, the Islamic State began capturing Assyrian Christians, one of the oldest Christian communities in the world.

However, Syrian Kurdish forces are reportedly fighting back, reclaiming some territory from the extremist group.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State is also reportedly destroying Assyrian relics in museums and burning down churches.

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Montreal Mermaid School Lets You Shake Your Tail

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

Aqua Sirene(MONTREAL) — In Disney’s animated classic The Little Mermaid, the story’s protagonist Ariel sings her little heart out about wanting to be “Part of Your World” and walk among the humans.

But in real life, many water enthusiasts pine for the opposite experience: acting out a fantasy of swimming as gracefully and buoyantly as a mermaid.

And now they can. No ticket to Atlantis, necessary.

AquaMermaid, which opened earlier this month in Montreal, Quebec, is a fitness program that bills itself as a “mermaid school,” offering children and adults classes in which they can slip on a monofin and live to tell the tale.

“I’d been doing some modeling and a friend asked me to do an underwater photo shoot wearing a mermaid tail,” explained founder Marielle Chartier Hénault, 24, on how she came up with the idea. “People kept stopping by the pool, laughing and smiling, and I felt like it was such a happy environment.”

Inspired by the response she’d received at the photo shoot, Chartier Hénault decided to launch her own business offering the experience to others as part of a fitness program.

“Some people think it’s a joke, and in general they assume it’s really easy to move around [wearing a monofin] but once they put the tail on they realize you need to know how to swim,” she told ABC News. “It’s hard, it involves a lot of core work and you really need to understand the weight movement of your body using the butterfly technique.”

Because of the dual languages spoken in Montreal, the school operates under two names, AquaMermaid and the French translation AquaSirene.

But a mermaid’s appeal appears to be universal.

Since launching in the first week of February, more than 150 people have signed up for classes, birthday parties or other private events featuring mermaid school instruction. All students receive a monofin to slip on during the workout with a plastic tail at the bottom and a colorful sleeve that wraps around the lower half of the body.

“It has been cool that so many men have come out,” said Chartier Hénault, of her mermen students. “They quickly realized that it involved a lot of core muscles, cardio and a really good workout.”

But more than any health benefits, Chartier Hénault feels she is allowing anyone from age 7 and up to live out a fantasy.

“It’s more about having fun and having a dream come true,” she said. “Nothing with mermaids existed before in Canada. I am hoping to bring the idea to the U.S. soon.”

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Canadian City Sues US Guardrail Maker For $500M

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

Class action lawsuit: Co. didn’t tell us guardrail system was unsafe.

Prince Harry to Leave the Military

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

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images(LONDON) — Britain’s Prince Harry is planning to leave the military, ABC News has learned.

“Captain Wales,” as he is known in the military, has served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and his principle focus when he leaves active duty will be to continue to foster programs which support disabled veterans.

Harry, 30, is currently engaged in a U.K. Ministry of Defense recovery capability program to provide the appropriate assistance and support to the wounded, injured and sick who are trying to reintegrate into society.

Royal sources told ABC News, “Harry’s work with service members remains intensely important to him.”

Prince Harry, the fourth-in-line to the British throne, joined the British Army in May 2005 and rose to the rank of Apache helicopter commander in July after three years of training. The British Defense Ministry named Harry the best front-seat pilot, or co-pilot gunner, in February 2012 from his class of more than 20 fellow Apache helicopter pilots.

The prince returned to England in January 2013 from a five-month deployment to Afghanistan with the Royal Air Force’s 662 Squadron of the Army Air Corps, where he served as an Apache co-pilot gunner.

Harry also served on the front lines for two and one half months as a forward air controller in Afghanistan’s Helmand province in 2007-2008 before his cover was blown and he returned to the U.K.

The Evening Standard’s Royal Editor Robert Jobson, who first broke the story, cites a “senior source” as saying that Harry thought “long and hard about his decision to leave active military service.”

Last September, Prince Harry launched the high-profile Invictus Games in London, a four-day event that showcased injured service men and women from 14 countries competing in everything from cycling, wheelchair basketball and rugby to sitting volleyball and swimming.

“The point of them is to basically use the power of sport to help these guys through the rehabilitation,” Harry said at the time. “It’s basically a pathway to allow the wounded, injured and sick communities within the U.K. – and across the board as well because we’ve got 14 nations coming to it – giving them a pathway back into employment.”

Prince Harry is expected to spend several weeks with the Australian military forces before he leaves active service.

The royal source told ABC News, “Like many soldiers Prince Harry is at a cross roads in his military career and took time to evaluate, ‘Do you continue as a career soldier or do you decide to pursue a different path?’”

Harry’s main focus, the source added, will remain aiding veterans but he will have, “more time to focus on his other passion, conservation and wildlife issues in Africa.”

Prince Harry is the co-founder of Sentebale, an AIDS charity he started with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho 10 years ago. The charity, which means “forget me not,” was a tribute to their mothers. Sentebale aims to help the vulnerable children of Lesotho, which has the third-largest HIV/AIDS incidence in the world.

The move away from the military will allow Harry to spend more time with the children of LeSotho and pioneering programs to foster the work his charity has started there.

Prince Harry will also continue to represent his grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen, on official duties at home and abroad as a senior member of the royal family.

‘Just So Tragic’: Mom of Slain Hostage Pities ‘Jihad John’

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

Parents of James Foley say terror group must be stopped.

Prince William Retraces Mother’s Steps in Asia

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

James Whatling – Pool/Getty Images(TOKYO) — Britain’s Prince William arrived in Tokyo in the rain Thursday, making a trip similar to the one made by his mother 20 years ago.

William, 32, waved to fans on Tokyo Bay and laid a wreath at the Yokohama War Cemetery to commemorate the fallen from World War II.

The prince is traveling without his wife, Duchess Kate, who is expecting the couple’s second child in April.

It was 20 years ago when his mother, the late Princess Diana of Wales, made a similar solo trip to Japan, surrounded by fans in what came to be known as, “Diana fever.”

“Over 100,000 people turned out to see her,” Patrick Jephson, Diana’s former private secretary, told ABC News.

“A few years before that she went with Prince Charles,” Jephson said. “Both visits very successful. Both very influential.”

While in Tokyo, Prince William met with one of Japan’s most famous astronauts, Soichi Noguchi, and revealed he once dreamed of being an astronaut.

“When I was younger, I dreamed of being an astronaut, but I also wanted to be a policeman or a fire-breather. That might have been a bit alternative,” said William, who instead chose a career as a helicopter pilot.

William’s next stop after Tokyo will be China, where he is not a household name.

On the eve of William’s arrival, however, China surprisingly announced that it will ban the import of elephant ivory products for one year, a change for which the prince has been advocating for years.

The last Royal trip to China came almost 30 years ago when William’s grandparents, Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth, visited the country.

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US ‘Working On’ Ways to Kill or Capture ‘Jihadi John’: Holder

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

The U.S. government has been ???working on??? ways to either kill or capture the ISIS propagandist known as ???Jihadi John,??? the nation???s top law enforcement official says.

What It’s Really Like to Be the US Attorney General

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

Eric Holder???s days as attorney general are numbered. And in an interview with ABC News??? Pierre Thomas, he reflected on his six years leading a department.