Trump administration signals ISIS foreign fighters could be sent to Guantanamo Bay

Posted on: February 22nd, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

zudin/iStock(WASHINGTON) — As President Donald Trump seeks to wind down the fight against the Islamic State in Syria, his administration is increasingly leaving open the possibility that some of the group’s foreign fighters be sent to the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Trump has advocated as a private citizen, presidential candidate and even while in office to move more detainees to the facility. It was a stark contrast to his predecessor, who unsuccessfully sought to close it. As president, however, Trump has sent no one to Guantanamo.

Instead, his administration is pushing for foreign ISIS fighters detained in Syria to be returned to their home countries, in the region and in Europe. That effort has, so far, been met with mixed success.

Administration officials, including the State Department’s deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino, have said options for foreign fighters who cannot be repatriated include Guantanamo, sometimes referred to as Gitmo.

“Our preferred first option would certainly be repatriation and prosecution, keeping [foreign terrorist fighters] locked up in countries of origin when possible, where possible,” a senior State Department official told ABC News. “But when countries aren’t willing to take responsibility for their own citizens that went and fought for the Islamic State, if they are high-value detainees, and members of ISIS leadership, then we’re going to make certain that they remain off the battlefield. One way of doing that might include sending them to Gitmo.”

There are approximately 850 foreign fighters still in the custody of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the U.S.-backed troops now fighting the last remnants of ISIS in eastern Syria.

“The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial,” Trump tweeted Saturday. “The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them.”

“Time for others to step up and do the job that they are so capable of doing,” he added.

That is still the administration’s preferred option, according to several officials.

But as the last of ISIS’ territory falls and the U.S. prepares to withdraw its forces, there is growing concern about the SDF’s ability to detain foreign terrorist fighters, especially those considered “high-value” — less than 10 percent of the current detainees.

“It’s untenable. They just don’t have the infrastructure or ability to do so, especially as U.S. troops are starting to be pulled out, and it just becomes harder and harder to run open-air detention camps,” said Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.

Coupled with the slow pace of repatriation, the threat of fighters’ release makes Guantanamo Bay a more serious consideration — and it’s a position vocally advocated by Republicans in Congress.

“The close to 1,000 ISIS terrorists captured in Syria must never be allowed to return to the battlefield,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., told ABC News. “Guantanamo Bay has vacancies. We ought to ship the worst of the worst there so they can’t slaughter innocent people ever again.”

Cotton is one of four Republican senators actively urging Trump to send fighters to Guantanamo, “where they will face justice,” the group wrote in a letter to the president last month.

The White House and Department of Defense did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

Trump pledged as a candidate to “load it up with some bad dudes,” and, last year, he announced during the State of the Union address that he’d signed an executive order to keep the facility open, after former President Barack Obama said he’d wanted to close it.

“I am asking Congress to ensure that in the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists wherever we chase them down, wherever we find them, and in many cases, for them, it will now be Guantanamo Bay,” Trump said during the January 2018 address to Congress.

A detainee last was sent in 2008 to Guantanamo, which is down to 40 detainees after the Obama administration pushed third-party and home countries to take back those who’d been cleared by periodic review boards.

The decision to leave Guantanamo as an option for foreign ISIS fighters could be directed toward America’s European allies. While some countries have accepted or expressed a willingness to repatriate fighters, others have been hesitant to take them back — as seen in the case of “ISIS bride” Shamima Begum, who was stripped of her citizenship by the United Kingdom.

“It’s a whole different set of legal frameworks,” said Hughes, adding that sentences for fighting with ISIS or traveling to Syria are lighter in many countries than in the U.S. and that it’s often politically unpopular to repatriate these militants.

Raha Wala, the director of National Security Advocacy at Human Rights First, said some countries have said publicly, if not privately, that they don’t want to cooperate with the U.S. on counter-terrorism issues if the result is sending a detainee to Guantanamo.

“It has not only been a moral abomination but also a legal and policy disaster for the United States,” Wala said.

He said there has been far more success in prosecuting international terror-related cases in federal courts than through Guantanamo’s military commissions.

So far, the U.S. has taken back 16 ISIS fighters — four last year — and prosecuted 13 of them. But going through the federal court system requires countries to bring their citizens home.

“We have a responsibility, those 40 countries [where ISIS fighters came from], to take care and bring some level of justice to the victims of Iraq and Syria that were caused by our own citizens,” Hughes said. “At some point, western countries are going to have to look themselves in the eye and realize that this is a moral responsibility.”

To Hughes and others, that responsibility falls on individual nations, not just the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay.

“At the end of the day, the United States can’t be the world’s jailer,” Wala said. “Every country has a role to play in vigorously pursuing justice for crimes of terrorism and humanely detaining those who are accused of terrorism.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Fly-past honors WWII airmen who died saving UK children

Posted on: February 22nd, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

10 WWII U.S. airmen sacrificed themselves to save children in a park.

Pope Francis calls for ‘concrete and effective measures’ at historic sex abuse summit

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Birute/iStock(ROME) — On the first day of a historic conference that’s likely to become a defining moment of his papacy, Pope Francis appeared prepared to tackle the excruciating, decades-long epidemic of child sex abuse at the hands of Catholic priests.

“We hear the cry of little ones calling for justice,” the pope said as he gaveled to order the church’s first ever worldwide conference on the protection of minors.

More than 190 bishops and cardinals were summoned to Rome to participate in the meeting. The pope told them that more than one billion Catholic faithful “expect not simple and obvious condemnations, but concrete and effective measures.”

Abuse survivor Mary Dispenza said he’s got that right.

“This is an opportune moment for this pope to step forward and give us some concrete actions of what he is going to do to face the past and move into the future,” she told the Associated Press.

The clerical sexual abuse scandal has resurfaced in recent months, following a damning report last summer from a Pennsylvania grand jury, which accused more than 300 priests of molesting more than 1,000 victims in that state alone over the past 70 years.

The report prompted law enforcement in multiple other jurisdictions to launch their own forensic accounting of historic abuse cases.

The issue of sexual abuse by priests has reached the highest levels of the Vatican. Australian Cardinal George Pell, the most senior cleric to be convicted of sexual abuse, faces likely prison time. He’s due to be sentenced this month.

Last week, Pope Francis defrocked former Washington D.C. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, after a Vatican tribunal found him guilty of sexually abusing a minor decades ago.

McCarrick was already the first cardinal in more than a century to be kicked out of the College of Cardinals, after a preliminary investigation by the Archdiocese of New York found the allegations against him to be credible.

It’s not clear what, if any, concrete actions will come out of the four-day Vatican conference. The church is a worldwide institution, and bishops in some parts of the world have resisted greater openness on sexual abuse because of local sensitivities.

Survivors of sexual abuse have urged the church to adopt a zero tolerance approach by mandating the reporting of credible allegations immediately to law enforcement for further investigation.

Survivors have also called for the Church to name priests who have been credibly accused and to hold bishops accountable for cases in which pedophile priests have been transferred from one parish to another.

Phil Saviano, one of the survivors who shared his story with the Boston Globe Spotlight team more than a decade ago, told ABC News the priest who abused him was transferred by six different bishops to four different states before law enforcement finally caught up with him.

Saviano was one of a dozen survivors invited to sit down with Vatican organizers ahead of the conference.

“This is my third time in Rome on this issue and it was my first opportunity to speak with someone who has a little bit of power,” Saviano said.

“As is often the case, things are said, promises are made, but you really have to see what actually happens,” he said.

Saviano said he’s pleased the church appears to be taking the issue seriously.

“I’ve been talking about this for 28 years now,” he said. “I know some some organizations move slowly but this is ridiculous.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sex abuse summit in Vatican comes amid growing number of investigations of Catholic priests in the US

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Hornet83/iStock(ROME) — The meeting of Catholic leadership in the Vatican to address clerical sex abuse comes amid a busy and controversial time for the church within the United States.

There are now at least 17 states or cities that have open investigations into their respective local dioceses, and a number of states and cities have released lists of priests and church volunteers that they have found to have credible accusations of sexual abuse or misconduct against them.

“People are asking ‘where is the leadership? What have the people who are supposed to be the overseers of this community done or not done?'” said Fr. Mark M. Morozowich, the dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America.

The summit that convened in the Vatican Thursday morning was called by Pope Francis and is set to last for four days.

The meeting comes less than a week after it was announced that Pope Francis officially defrocked the disgraced former cardinal of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick.

Church leaders from more than 100 countries and regions are set to discuss how to protect minors within the church, and it comes at the same time as many outside of the clergy hope to do the same in the U.S. with the various investigations.

Investigations are underway in Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and the District of Columbia, as well as with the Archdiocese of Anchorage in Alaska. Spokespeople for several other state attorneys general offices told ABC News that their offices were reviewing options and considering taking similar actions.

The current investigations come more than 15 years after the first bombshell report of Catholic clergy sex abuse rocked the U.S., when The Boston Globe’s ‘Spotlight’ investigation into local priests was first published in 2002.

A series of investigations were launched in the immediate wake of that reporting, prompting the creation of the so-called Dallas Charter by the Catholic Church, where the church implemented new policies that required that priests who faced accusations be temporarily removed from ministry during the investigation, and permanently removed if the accusations were found to be credible.

Morozowich said that the calls for transparency are different now because of a shift outside the church.

“I don’t think there’s ever been a time like this in the history of our country where we’ve put so much attention on sexual abuse, whether it be by the church or other people. We as a society are beginning to really take this issue from the shadows and put it into the light as a society. We’re finally saying ‘Yes, it doesn’t matter who you are: this is wrong,'” Morozowich told ABC News.

ABC News

About 1,330 priests and clergy members have been identified by various state-level agencies or the local dioceses themselves as having credible allegations filed against them. Here are some recent updates on those released reports:

New Jersey: More than 180 clergy were identified in lists released by the state’s five dioceses in mid-February, with varying levels of detail about the allegations.

Virginia: There were 50 clergy whose names were shared in Virginia in mid-February.

Texas: Nearly 300 priests and clergy members of the Catholic dioceses in Texas were identified in late January for alleged sexual abuse of minors, allegations of which spanned decades. That came about two months after police searched the offices of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in November in connection to an investigation into Rev. Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, who is charged with four felony counts of indecency with a child.

Illinois: In December, an investigation by the then-Illinois attorney general’s office identified 500 priests and clergy members with credible claims of sexual abuse against them, all of whom have not been previously identified by church officials and some of whom are still active within the church. The names and list was not released publicly.

Pennsylvania: In August, Pennsylvania’s attorney general released a report from a two-year grand jury investigation that detailed how at least 1,000 children had been abused by 301 priests across the state for decades.

Jesuits: The structural hierarchy of the Catholic Church means that the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits as they are commonly called, are a religious congregation of the Catholic Church yet do not fall under the larger church’s purview. Therefore the Northeast Province of Jesuits were the ones to release their own list of 50 Jesuits with credible abuse allegations in January. The list detailed how some of the alleged abusers circled through various institutions – sometimes for years – after the alleged abuse took place.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

World’s largest bee photographed after vanishing for decades

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Sushaaa/iStock(NEW YORK) — A photographer on a quest to capture an image of the elusive world’s largest bee found success while retracing the steps of famous anthropologist Alfred Russel Wallace, who jointly published some writings on evolution through natural selection with Charles Darwin in 1858.

Clay Bolt’s search for the Megachile pluto began with picking up a copy of one of Wallace’s journals, “The Malay Archipelago,” which detailed his travels through Malaysia, New Guinea and Indonesia in the late 1800s, Bolt wrote in a blog published Thursday on the Global Wildlife Conversation’s website.

The bee, commonly known as Wallace’s Giant Bee, has been lost to science since 1981, Bolt wrote. It is “about as long as an adult human’s thumb” and “a large black wasp-like insect, with immense jaws like a stag-beetle,” Wallace wrote in his journal.

The bee can grow up to 1.5 inches long and can have a wingspan of up to 2.5 inches, according to National Geographic.

 Bolt first caught a glimpse of the giant — albeit dead — bee in 2015, when he visited the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, he said.

“It was more magnificent than I could have imagined, even in death,” Bolt wrote.

In late January, Bolt and three others flew to Indonesia because it was the same time of year that researcher Adam Messer last encountered the bee in 1981, Bolt said.

After arriving in Ternate, one of Bolt’s guides, Iswan, ended up having a “very sharp set of eyes and a passion for insects,” he wrote. The bee, which is known to nest in active termite mounds inside of trees, emerged on the last day of searching on a low termite mound about 8 feet from the ground.

“We immediately noticed that it had a hole in it, like many other nests we’d seen, but this one was a little more perfect,” Bolt wrote. “It was very round, and just the size that a giant bee might use.”

Iswan then exclaimed that he saw something move, the other climbed up to determined that the they had “rediscovered Wallace’s Giant Bee.”

“After doing a happy dance, I photographed the bee and shot some video proof,” Bolt said. “My goal was to be the first person to make a photo of a living Wallace’s Giant Bee and I had achieved that goal.”

Bolt now hopes to work with conservation groups to ensure protection for the species.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

World’s largest bee photographed after vanishing for decades

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

The last time Megachile pluto was seen was by a researcher in Indonesia in 1981.

El Chapo conviction cast into doubt after juror says panelists repeatedly violated judge’s orders

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

STR/LatinContent/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Attorneys for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman say they are “deeply concerned” by an interview in which one of the jurors who convicted the notorious Mexican drug kingpin admitted to ignoring the judge’s orders not to read media reports about the case.

The juror, who has not been identified, told VICE News in an exclusive interview that at least five members of the panel reviewed and discussed news reports and social media posts about the case during the trial and jury deliberations.

“You know how we were told we can’t look at the media during the trial? Well, we did. Jurors did,” the juror told VICE.

The panelist went on to tell a VICE reporter who covered the 44-day trial and jury deliberations that resulted in Guzman’s conviction, “We would constantly go to your media, your Twitter … I personally and some other jurors that I knew.”

After six days of deliberations, the New York federal court jury found Guzman guilty on 10 charges, including conspiracy to commit murder, money laundering, and multiple counts of distributing heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine.

Guzman is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25 and is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“Obviously we’re deeply concerned that the jury may have utterly ignored the judge’s daily admonitions against reviewing the unprecedented press in the case,” one of Guzman’s defense lawyers, Jeffrey Lichtman, said in a statement.

“More disturbing is the revelation that the jury may have lied to the court about having seen some deeply prejudicial, uncorroborated and inadmissible allegations against Mr. Guzman on the eve of jury deliberations.”

Eduardo Balarezo, another attorney for “El Chapo,” said that, if true, the juror’s admissions in the VICE interview indicates Guzman “did not get a fair trial.”

“The information apparently accessed by the jury is highly prejudicial, uncorroborated and inadmissible — all reasons why the Court repeatedly warned the jury against using social media and the internet to investigate the case,” Balarezo said in a statement.

Balarezo said he and other members of Guzman’s defense team “will review all available options before deciding on a course of action.”

The U.S. Department of Justice for the Eastern District of New York had no immediate comment.

Guzman’s legal team had already said it will appeal the conviction before the juror was interviewed by VICE.

Throughout the trial, U.S. District Court Judge Brian Cogan admonished the panel daily to avoid news coverage and social media of the case, and not to discuss the case with each other until they began deliberations.

Before dismissing the jurors, Cogan said they were free to speak to the media, but advised them not to.

The juror who spoke to VICE is the first member of the jury to publicly speak of the trial.

VICE reported that the juror reached out to the news organization and agreed to be interviewed on grounds the identity of the juror remain anonymous.

To protect the safety of the jurors, the judge made all of their identities anonymous during the trial.

The juror, who spoke to VICE, said the panelists were even anonymous to each other throughout the criminal proceedings and referred to one another by their juror numbers or nicknames that included, “Pookie,” “Mountain Dew,” “Doc,” “Crash” and “Starbucks.”

“We were saying how we should have our own reality TV show, like ‘The Jurors on MTV’ or something like that,” the juror told VICE.

The juror said the deliberations went on for six days largely because of a single holdout and said some jurors expressed concern about Guzman being held in solitary confinement for the rest of his life if they found him guilty.

“A lot of people were having difficulty thinking about him being in solitary confinement, because, well, you know, we’re all human beings, people make mistakes, et cetera,” the juror told VICE.

Guzman, 61, was the leader of Sinaloa cartel, one of the most ruthless drug-smuggling organizations in Mexico. He has previously staged two elaborate escapes from Mexican prisons.

During the trial, the prosecution called more than 50 witnesses who described all aspects of Guzman’s life, from brutal murders, a naked journey he took through a secret tunnel, plastic bananas filled with cocaine and spied-on mistresses.

Following Guzman’s conviction, Ray Donovan, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, described El Chapo as a “ruthless killer” who was “responsible for unthinkable amounts of death and destruction” in the U.S. and Mexico.

“He was the man behind the curtain — he pulled all the strings,” Donovan said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

El Chapo conviction cast into doubt after juror says panelists repeatedly violated judge’s orders

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

STR/LatinContent/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Attorneys for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman say they are “deeply concerned” by an interview in which one of the jurors who convicted the notorious Mexican drug kingpin admitted to ignoring the judge’s orders not to read media reports about the case.

The juror, who has not been identified, told VICE News in an exclusive interview that at least five members of the panel reviewed and discussed news reports and social media posts about the case during the trial and jury deliberations.

“You know how we were told we can’t look at the media during the trial? Well, we did. Jurors did,” the juror told VICE.

The panelist went on to tell a VICE reporter who covered the 44-day trial and jury deliberations that resulted in Guzman’s conviction, “We would constantly go to your media, your Twitter … I personally and some other jurors that I knew.”

After six days of deliberations, the New York federal court jury found Guzman guilty on 10 charges, including conspiracy to commit murder, money laundering, and multiple counts of distributing heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine.

Guzman is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25 and is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“Obviously we’re deeply concerned that the jury may have utterly ignored the judge’s daily admonitions against reviewing the unprecedented press in the case,” one of Guzman’s defense lawyers, Jeffrey Lichtman, said in a statement.

“More disturbing is the revelation that the jury may have lied to the court about having seen some deeply prejudicial, uncorroborated and inadmissible allegations against Mr. Guzman on the eve of jury deliberations.”

Eduardo Balarezo, another attorney for “El Chapo,” said that, if true, the juror’s admissions in the VICE interview indicates Guzman “did not get a fair trial.”

“The information apparently accessed by the jury is highly prejudicial, uncorroborated and inadmissible — all reasons why the Court repeatedly warned the jury against using social media and the internet to investigate the case,” Balarezo said in a statement.

Balarezo said he and other members of Guzman’s defense team “will review all available options before deciding on a course of action.”

The U.S. Department of Justice for the Eastern District of New York had no immediate comment.

Guzman’s legal team had already said it will appeal the conviction before the juror was interviewed by VICE.

Throughout the trial, U.S. District Court Judge Brian Cogan admonished the panel daily to avoid news coverage and social media of the case, and not to discuss the case with each other until they began deliberations.

Before dismissing the jurors, Cogan said they were free to speak to the media, but advised them not to.

The juror who spoke to VICE is the first member of the jury to publicly speak of the trial.

VICE reported that the juror reached out to the news organization and agreed to be interviewed on grounds the identity of the juror remain anonymous.

To protect the safety of the jurors, the judge made all of their identities anonymous during the trial.

The juror, who spoke to VICE, said the panelists were even anonymous to each other throughout the criminal proceedings and referred to one another by their juror numbers or nicknames that included, “Pookie,” “Mountain Dew,” “Doc,” “Crash” and “Starbucks.”

“We were saying how we should have our own reality TV show, like ‘The Jurors on MTV’ or something like that,” the juror told VICE.

The juror said the deliberations went on for six days largely because of a single holdout and said some jurors expressed concern about Guzman being held in solitary confinement for the rest of his life if they found him guilty.

“A lot of people were having difficulty thinking about him being in solitary confinement, because, well, you know, we’re all human beings, people make mistakes, et cetera,” the juror told VICE.

Guzman, 61, was the leader of Sinaloa cartel, one of the most ruthless drug-smuggling organizations in Mexico. He has previously staged two elaborate escapes from Mexican prisons.

During the trial, the prosecution called more than 50 witnesses who described all aspects of Guzman’s life, from brutal murders, a naked journey he took through a secret tunnel, plastic bananas filled with cocaine and spied-on mistresses.

Following Guzman’s conviction, Ray Donovan, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, described El Chapo as a “ruthless killer” who was “responsible for unthinkable amounts of death and destruction” in the U.S. and Mexico.

“He was the man behind the curtain — he pulled all the strings,” Donovan said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

El Chapo attorney ‘greatly concerned’ after juror says panel ignored judge’s orders

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

A juror from the El Chapo trial said at least five members of the panel ignored judge’s explicit orders.

DNA test reunites sisters after 47 years

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

A pair of adopted sisters were reunited in South Korea after 47 years thanks to a DNA test.

DNA test reunites sisters after 47 years

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

A pair of adopted sisters were reunited in South Korea after 47 years thanks to a DNA test.

Tortoise thought to be extinct for more than 100 years discovered in Galapagos Islands

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images(FAIRFAX, Va.) — A species of tortoise thought by scientists to be extinct for more than 100 years were actually hiding in plain sight on a remote Galapagos island.

The Galapagos Conservancy, a Fairfax, Virginia-based organization dedicated to the long-term protection of the Galapagos Islands, wrote on Twitter Wednesday that one of its employees had just returned from Fernandina Island, where he spotted a female adult Chelonoidis phantasticus, describing the discovery as a “monumental finding.”

BREAKING NEWS! GC’s own @wacho_tapia just returned from Fernandina Island in #Galapagos, where they discovered a female #tortoise. Tortoises on Fernandina have been thought to be extinct for over 100 years, so this is a monumental finding! Photos © GNPD, W. Tapia pic.twitter.com/fhQpIzsHmM

— GalapagosConservancy (@SaveGalapagos) February 20, 2019

Before the female was found, the species of tortoise was believed to have been “lost” for 112 years, according to The Search for Lost Species. The tortoise has only ever been found on Fernandina Island, the “youngest and least-explored of the Galapagos Islands,” according to the organization.

But, the website alluded to the chance that the species may be “holding on,” citing tortoise droppings that were found during an expedition in 1964 and a fly-over of the island in 2009, where people on board “reported sightings of something tortoise-like from the air.”

Experts believe more species may be on the island due to findings of tracks and scat.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tortoise thought to be extinct for 100 years discovered in Galapagos Islands

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

The female Chelonoidis phantasticus was located on the remote Galapagos island of Fernandina.

European Central Bank concerned by economic slowdown

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Top officials of the European Central Bank worried at their last meeting that the slowdown in economic growth might be "deeper and more broad-based" than previously suspected

Pope opens sex abuse summit amid outcry from survivors

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

The Pope said that Catholics wanted action and not just condemnation of abuse.

DNA test reunites sisters in South Korea after 47 years

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

MyHeritage DNA(SEOUL, South Korea) — After nearly five decades of living without knowing each other, two South Korean-born sisters embraced each other at a subway station in Daegu, a city 180 miles outside of Seoul, thanks to a DNA test.

“The chances of finding each other really are one in a billion without taking a DNA test,” Rafi Mendelsohn at MyHeritage told ABC News. “Taking the MyHeritage DNA test has enabled Kim and Christine to finally discover their biological family for the first time in their lives.”

Christine Pennell was 2 years old when she was left at the Banyawol subway station in Daegu, the sisters told ABC News. A few weeks later, Kim Haelen — then only 6 weeks old — was abandoned at Daegu Station, a different stop.

They were brought under the care of two different orphanages in Daegu, and no one knew the infants were related, they said.

Christine, the elder sister, was adopted and grew up in the United States as a happy child in a loving family where she had five brothers and sisters, she told ABC News. But still, she always wondered about her biological family.

“I kind of tried starting [to find them] when I was about 24 or 25,” she said. “And then I was told there’s no information, so it wasn’t possible for me to go anywhere with it.”

Kim, the younger sister, grew up as a big sister in a home in Belgium with two younger sisters and two older brothers, she said. She never imagined she would meet a blood-related older sister.

But after some health problems, she started wondering about her genealogy. So, in December, she did a DNA test with MyHeritage — just hoping to find some information, not necessarily any family members, she told ABC News.

On Jan. 25, the results came in through an email, telling her she had what appeared to be a full biological sister.

“That can’t be, that can’t be,” Kim said she told her husband in shock.

She couldn’t stop looking at the results, which indicated she could email the match through the company, and she decided to reach out.

“I never have luck in lottery and games. Now, they found out that I have a sister — this is a jackpot,” Kim told ABC News.

On the other side of the planet, Christine, who did a test with MyHeritage DNA after being inspired by the movie Lion to find out about her biological family, was about to go out for dinner when she received an email from Kim saying, “I think we’re related.”

“I’m shaking and I’m crying, and I haven’t even opened up the email yet,” Christine recalled to ABC News. “It was such a gift … I never thought that would ever happen for me.”

That night, they had their first video chat — and they’ve been in touch ever since catching up on their lost sisterhood through hours of phone conversation and emails.

“That was the first time I ever saw somebody that somewhat looked like me. Because you always wonder as an adoptee, whose eyes do I have? Whose hands?” Christine said. “Now, I have my sister, and we’re so much alike.”

They decided to reunite where they were separated. So on Feb. 15, Christine flew to South Korea from Connecticut and Kim from Belgium to make up for the time they missed over the last 47 years.

Kim pulled into the Daegu subway station where she was abandoned all those years ago and saw her sister waiting for her train.

“And we’re now together,” Kim told ABC News. “It’s wonderful.”

In South Korea, Christine and Kim did what all sisters would do growing up together: They picked out dresses for each other at the mall and tried traditional Korean cuisine. They realized they had more things in common than just the looks.

“We both don’t like fish. We both like to sing and dance. We both like to smile and laugh a lot and are very silly. We pretty much have a good amount of energy,” Christine said, adding that they’re both mothers to grown children themselves.

Now that they’ve found each other, Christine and Kim are hoping to find their birth parents. During their week-long visit to South Korea, they made flyers and distributed them across community centers and police stations in Daegu, hoping someone would recognize the sisters from their pictures.

“The fact that we’re full-blood sisters means our parents were together long enough for us both to be born. And there’s a good chance that they’re still together and we may have more siblings,” Christine said.

“I want to know who they are,” Kim said, “and I want to search with Christine.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

DNA test reunites sisters in South Korea after 47 years

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

MyHeritage DNA(SEOUL, South Korea) — After nearly five decades of living without knowing each other, two South Korean-born sisters embraced each other at a subway station in Daegu, a city 180 miles outside of Seoul, thanks to a DNA test.

“The chances of finding each other really are one in a billion without taking a DNA test,” Rafi Mendelsohn at MyHeritage told ABC News. “Taking the MyHeritage DNA test has enabled Kim and Christine to finally discover their biological family for the first time in their lives.”

Christine Pennell was 2 years old when she was left at the Banyawol subway station in Daegu, the sisters told ABC News. A few weeks later, Kim Haelen — then only 6 weeks old — was abandoned at Daegu Station, a different stop.

They were brought under the care of two different orphanages in Daegu, and no one knew the infants were related, they said.

Christine, the elder sister, was adopted and grew up in the United States as a happy child in a loving family where she had five brothers and sisters, she told ABC News. But still, she always wondered about her biological family.

“I kind of tried starting [to find them] when I was about 24 or 25,” she said. “And then I was told there’s no information, so it wasn’t possible for me to go anywhere with it.”

Kim, the younger sister, grew up as a big sister in a home in Belgium with two younger sisters and two older brothers, she said. She never imagined she would meet a blood-related older sister.

But after some health problems, she started wondering about her genealogy. So, in December, she did a DNA test with MyHeritage — just hoping to find some information, not necessarily any family members, she told ABC News.

On Jan. 25, the results came in through an email, telling her she had what appeared to be a full biological sister.

“That can’t be, that can’t be,” Kim said she told her husband in shock.

She couldn’t stop looking at the results, which indicated she could email the match through the company, and she decided to reach out.

“I never have luck in lottery and games. Now, they found out that I have a sister — this is a jackpot,” Kim told ABC News.

On the other side of the planet, Christine, who did a test with MyHeritage DNA after being inspired by the movie Lion to find out about her biological family, was about to go out for dinner when she received an email from Kim saying, “I think we’re related.”

“I’m shaking and I’m crying, and I haven’t even opened up the email yet,” Christine recalled to ABC News. “It was such a gift … I never thought that would ever happen for me.”

That night, they had their first video chat — and they’ve been in touch ever since catching up on their lost sisterhood through hours of phone conversation and emails.

“That was the first time I ever saw somebody that somewhat looked like me. Because you always wonder as an adoptee, whose eyes do I have? Whose hands?” Christine said. “Now, I have my sister, and we’re so much alike.”

They decided to reunite where they were separated. So on Feb. 15, Christine flew to South Korea from Connecticut and Kim from Belgium to make up for the time they missed over the last 47 years.

Kim pulled into the Daegu subway station where she was abandoned all those years ago and saw her sister waiting for her train.

“And we’re now together,” Kim told ABC News. “It’s wonderful.”

In South Korea, Christine and Kim did what all sisters would do growing up together: They picked out dresses for each other at the mall and tried traditional Korean cuisine. They realized they had more things in common than just the looks.

“We both don’t like fish. We both like to sing and dance. We both like to smile and laugh a lot and are very silly. We pretty much have a good amount of energy,” Christine said, adding that they’re both mothers to grown children themselves.

Now that they’ve found each other, Christine and Kim are hoping to find their birth parents. During their week-long visit to South Korea, they made flyers and distributed them across community centers and police stations in Daegu, hoping someone would recognize the sisters from their pictures.

“The fact that we’re full-blood sisters means our parents were together long enough for us both to be born. And there’s a good chance that they’re still together and we may have more siblings,” Christine said.

“I want to know who they are,” Kim said, “and I want to search with Christine.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

More than 150 IS militants handed over to Iraq from Syria

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Iraq has said it will take back ISIS members and their families.

Shares in world’s top shipping firm sink on US tariffs risk

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Shares in the world’s biggest shipping company, Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk, have plunged after it warned of commercial damage from a U.S. escalation in the trade war with China

Albanian opposition holds anti-govt rally, demands new vote

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Albanian opposition supporters have surrounded the parliament building and are demanding that the government resign, claiming it’s corrupt and has links to organized crime

DNA test reunites sisters in South Korea after 47 years

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

A pair of adopted sisters were reunited in South Korea after 47 years thanks to a DNA test.

Recruitment of new soldiers threatens South Sudan’s peace

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

South Sudan’s rival armed groups are forcefully recruiting civilians across the country including the abduction of child soldiers violating a fragile peace deal signed five months ago

Recruitment of new soldiers threatens South Sudan’s peace

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

South Sudan’s rival armed groups are forcefully recruiting civilians across the country including the abduction of child soldiers violating a fragile peace deal signed five months ago

AP Photos: Historic Bangladesh district razed by deadly fire

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

AP Photos: Charred buildings are all that remain of sections of a centuries-old shopping district in Bangladesh’s capital, where a late-night fire raced through narrow alleys and killed dozens of people

AP Photos: Historic Bangladesh district razed by deadly fire

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

AP Photos: Charred buildings are all that remain of sections of a centuries-old shopping district in Bangladesh’s capital, where a late-night fire raced through narrow alleys and killed dozens of people

Indigo, ash and time mark Nigeria’s centuries-old dye pits

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Indigo, ash and time: Nigeria’s centuries-old dye pits linger on but sons drift away from the craft passed down through generations

Fire guts ancient part of Bangladesh’s capital, killing 70

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

A devastating fire has raced through densely packed buildings in a centuries-old shopping district in Bangladesh’s capital, killing at least 70 people

Top Netanyahu challengers unite for Israeli elections

Posted on: February 20th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Israel’s primary centrist challengers to Prime Minister Netanyahu announce they are joining forces ahead of April vote

Amal Clooney among the stars spotted arriving for Meghan Markle’s New York City baby shower

Posted on: February 20th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Adrian Edwards/GC Images via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Meghan Markle’s wedding to Prince Harry last May was a star-studded affair, and her baby shower Wednesday in New York City proved no different.

Amal Clooney and Serena Williams were reported to be the co-hosts of Meghan’s private baby shower reportedly held at the Mark Hotel on New York’s Upper East Side.

Meghan’s close friends designer Misha Nonoo, actress Abigail Spencer stylist Jessica Mulroney and makeup artist Daniel Martin, who did Meghan’s wedding makeup, were spotted entering the five-star hotel Wednesday.

“CBS This Morning” anchor Gayle King and fitness guru Taryn Toomey were also among the guests photographed entering the Mark Hotel, both carrying gift bags.

In addition to the high-profile guests, photographers also caught baby shower-friendly items like cotton candy machines and a harp being brought into the hotel Wednesday.

The Duchess of Sussex, 37, was seen cradling her bump and surrounded by security when she left the Mark Hotel Tuesday for an outing with Spencer, her former “Suits” costar.

Meghan, who is due this spring, arrived in New York City from London last Friday. She is expected to depart New York City for London soon after the baby shower.

Meghan and Harry, the Duke and Duchess of Susssex, kick off a three-day official visit to Morocco on Saturday.

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Thanks in a tank: WWII gunner, now 95, gets a nostalgic ride

Posted on: February 20th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Heroic World War II tank gunner Clarence Smoyer has been surprised with a ride through the streets of Boston in a Sherman tank