World News

Tropical Storm Erika Hits Caribbean, 4 Dead


NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center(MIAMI) -- Another powerful storm is churning in the Caribbean.Tropical Storm Erika arrives in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands Thursday night and it may threaten Florida's Atlantic coast as soon as Monday.So far, the storm's 12 inches of rain over the Island of Dominica caused floods and mudslides that led to the deaths of four people.Will Erika become a hurricane?To be considered a Category 1 hurricane, the storm's maximum sustained winds have to hit at least 74 mph. The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Erika's winds are at 45 mph with no projected significant change during the coming days.However, the National Hurricane Center cites "unusually high uncertainty" in the intensity of the forecast over the next few days.According to the National Hurricane Center, there is a Tropical Storm Warning in effect for Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, Montserrat, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and the north coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the border of Haiti.There is a Tropical Storm Watch in effect for Guadeloupe, the Southeast Bahamas, and the Truks and Caicos Islands, said the National Hurricane Center.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hubble Telescope Captures Shimmering 'Cosmic Butterfly'


ESA/NASA(NEW YORK) -- The cosmic butterfly, or as its known more formally, the twin jet nebula, was captured in a vibrant new image taken from the Hubble Telescope.The glowing colors and expanding gas seen in the image are the final gasps of life for an old star, according to NASA.The old star shed its layers, leaving its core exposed and illuminating the layers to create a rainbow colored light show in space.Planetary nebula have one star at the center, but the twin jet nebula is characterized as a bipolar nebula because it has two stars which help give it the wings that have led to the nickname cosmic butterfly.While the larger star is nearing death, its companion star has already crossed over to the other side becoming a small white dwarf, essentially the corpse of a star. The butterfly-like shape is likely caused by the motion between the two stars orbiting their common center of mass, according to NASA. The gas from the larger star forms the two lobes instead of taking on a spherical appearance.The cosmic butterfly's wings are expected to continue to spread, according to NASA's measurements. It may look pretty, but this cosmic butterfly is vicious. The growing lobes are twin jets of gas streaming into space at more than 621,400 miles per hour.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Parole Review Board Sets Hearing Date for Oscar Pistorius


Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- Oscar Pistorius could be released from jail in about three weeks.A parole review board has set a Sept. 18 hearing date that could result in the release of the former Olympic runner.Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide in the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Feb. 14, 2013.Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison but has served less than one-fifth of the term.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Ukraine Reaches Debt Deal


iStock/Thinkstock(KIEV, Ukraine) -- Ukraine has reached a debt restructuring deal with its creditors, according to the BBC.The repayment period will be extended and Ukraine's sovereign debt will be cut by one-fifth, says Ukrainian Finance Minister Natalia Yaresko, according to BBC News.Since the conflict with pro-Russian rebels began in the country's eastern side, the Ukrainian economy has suffered.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Austrian Authorities Find Dozens of Bodies in Truck


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- At least 20 bodies have been found in the eastern Austrian province of Burgenland, according to the BBC.At a police press conference on Thursday, an Austrian regional police commander said a refrigerated truck was found on the highway. The truck was apparently parked there on Wednesday.BBC News says there could be as many as 50 bodies in the truck. Authorities described a strong smell of decomposition.An investigation is underway to find who is behind this.The deaths come at a time when many migrants are heading to Europe to escape war and conflict in Africa and the Middle East.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sinkhole Swallows People Waiting at a Bus Stop in China


AbleStock.com/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A sinkhole swallowed up at least four people in China as they were waiting at a bus stop, according to The Independent. The sinkhole opened up on Saturday night and was caught on surveillance video. The video shows the pavement opening up and people falling in. Bystanders came to their rescue and attempted to pull them out, says The Independent. The incident is under investigation. Four people are in the hospital with minor injuries.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Gunman in Afghan Military Uniform Kills Two American Airmen


Hemera/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Two American service members were killed after an attacker wearing an Afghan National Defense and Security Force uniform opened fire on their vehicle in Helmand province early Wednesday morning, military officials announced.Members of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission returned fire, wounding the attacker and another person in the same Afghan uniform.The Department of Defense on Thursday said the two American victims were airmen: Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, of Lexington, Kentucky and Staff Sgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, of Pensacola, Florida.Instances of Afghan forces turning on allied coalition members, known as insider attacks, have plagued the international war effort in Afghanistan.In 2014, an insider attack claimed the life of Maj. Gen, Harold Greene, the most senior American officer killed in the 14-year conflict.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

ISIS Recruiter and Cyber Specialist Believed Killed in Drone Strike


icholakov/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. military believes it has killed a senior ISIS recruiter and cyber specialist, a senior U.S. official tells ABC News.The Pentagon has not confirmed the death of Junaid Hussain, but the official said that he was targeted by a drone strike in Syria earlier this week. Hussain is believed to be a computer expert and propagandist for ISIS, which is known to effectively recruit online.Prior to an attack on a Garland, Texas cartoon contest in May, one of the gunmen posted a statement on social media urging others to follow Hussain on Twitter.Hussain is also believed to be responsible for producing "kill lists" in which ISIS calls on people to target particular Americans.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Why Scott Kelly Will Be Taking Russian Spacecraft for a Spin


NASA(NEW YORK) — American astronaut Scott Kelly is spending one year in space, but he'll get to briefly leave the International Space Station this week when he takes a short ride in the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, which is being moved to make room for the arrival of additional crew members.The ride will take about 25 minutes, beginning when the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft undocks from the Poisjk module on Friday at 3:12 a.m. and moves to the station's Zvezda port, freeing up room for three new crew members to park their spacecraft when they're set to arrive at the station on Sept. 2, NASA officials said.Kelly's new neighbors in space will be Expedition 45 crew member Sergei Volkov of Roscosmos, and visiting crew members Andreas Mogensen from the European Space Agency and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency. Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Dozens Found Dead in Hold of Ship Carrying Migrants from Libya to Europe


So-CoAddict/iStock/Thinkstock(ROME) -- Dozens of people were found dead in the hold of a boat carrying migrants near the coast of Libya on Wednesday.BBC News reports that about 50 people were found dead on Wednesday and 430 more were rescued alive by a Swedish coast guard ship. Thousands of migrants have died and many more rescued in recent months after setting sail from Libya for Europe.The Italian coast guard told BBC News that Wednesday's rescue was one of ten missions taking place off the coast of Libya.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Gunman in Afghan Military Uniform Kills Two American Soldiers


Hemera/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Two American service members were killed after an attacker wearing an Afghan National Defense and Security Force uniform opened fire on their vehicle in Helmand province early Wednesday morning, military officials announced.Members of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission returned fire, wounding the attacker and another person in the same Afghan uniform.Instances of Afghan forces turning on allied coalition members, known as insider attacks, have plagued the international war effort in Afghanistan.In 2014, an insider attack claimed the life of Maj. Gen, Harold Greene, the most senior American officer killed in the 14-year conflict.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

WATCH: Humpback Whale Breaches Right by Tour Boat


Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Tourists on a whale-watching tour off the coast of Nova Scotia got their money’s worth when a whale put on a show, doing a series of what look like backflips right by their boat.Penny Graham was leading the tour on Friday out of Brier Island, Nova Scotia, when she captured a photo of the whale in action, a sight she said she has not seen in over 30 years of whale watching.“It's a moment I'll never forget," Graham told CBC’s Maritime Noon.Graham, the operator of Mariner Cruises Whale and Seabird Tours, said her tour boat was just about to turn around when they heard a bang in front of them and then saw the breaching whale."Now, what a show that whale was putting on. It was just non-stop," said Graham, who estimated the whale breached about 30 times."I'm not a scientist, but I honestly believe that whale was having just as good of a time as we were," Graham told the CBC.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Serbia and Kosovo Normalizing Ties


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Serbia and Kosovo have taken big steps to normalize ties between the two nations, according to the BBC.Federica Mogherini, the European Union's foreign policy chief, moderated the talks.Among the agreements, Kosovo will receive its own dialing code and ethnic Serbs in Kosovo will have more rights, according to BBC News.In 2008, Kosovo split from Serbia after a ten years of conflict.Both nations would like to join the European Union.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Images Purportedly Show ISIS Destroying Ancient Syrian Temple


Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- After reports surfaced that ISIS demolished a 2,000-year-old Syrian temple, images of the purported destruction have begun circulating on social media accounts associated with the terror group.As dread over the fate of the ancient city of Palmyra continues to mount, the series of photos, which appear to have been screen-grabbed from a propaganda video, show how militants destroyed the Temple of Baalshamin.ABC News has not independently confirmed the authenticity of the images.UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova called the act “a new war crime” for ISIS, and “an immense loss for the Syrian people and for humanity.”“The art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, is a symbol of the complexity and wealth of the Syrian identity and history,” Bokova said in a statement. “I call on the international community to stand united against this persistent cultural cleansing.”Palmyra is a designated World Heritage site, but was taken over by the Islamic State group in May. Khaled al-Asaad, who was director of the city’s antiquities since 1963, assisted in evacuating many of the city’s treasures before militants could loot them and sell them to fund their activities.Asaad's friends told ABC News last week that after he stayed behind to protect the city’s ruins, he is believed to have refused to collaborate with ISIS in divulging the details of other hidden treasures in the site.The 81-year-old was then publicly executed and hanged from columns inside the city.Over the past year, ISIS has released multiple videos showing militants’ destroying ancient artifacts and bulldozing historical sites, with narrators explaining that the preservation of ancient ruins constitutes worship of idols.Idolatry is a sin punishable by death, according to ISIS theology.In an email exchange last Thursday with ABC News, Syria's Antiquities Chief Maamoun Abdulkarim said there are worries that ISIS will destroy the iconic Temple of Bel next.“The local community in Palmyra are playing now an important role to convince ISIS members that this temple was transferred to a mosque since the 14th century,” Abdulkarim said, adding that there is little optimism that reasoning will help.“I am sure ISIS will continue the destruction in Palmyra,” he said. “Sometimes they destroy for revenge from the international community and sometimes as a type of propaganda to show their force. These gangs and their sick ideology will continue to destroy our cultural heritage as long as there is no strong deterrent.”Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Fourteen Detained in Anti-Terrorism Operation in Spain, Morocco


manuel velasco/iStock/Thinkstock(MADRID) -- Fourteen people were detained on Tuesday in an anti-terrorism operation in Spain and Morocco, authorities said.According to the Spanish Interior Ministry, arrests were made in San Martin de la Vega in Spain and in Fez, Casablanca, Al Hoceima and Driouch in Morocco. The individuals detained, authorities say, made up part of a network of capturing and sending foreign fighters to join ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Spain and Morocco have arrested dozens of suspected jihadists and recruiters.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

12-Year-Old Boy Trips, Accidentally Rips Hole Into $1.5 Million, Centuries-Old P


Fuse/Thinkstock(TAIPEI, Taiwan) --  A 12-year-old boy in Taiwan accidentally ripped a hole into a 350-year-old painting by Baroque artist Paolo Porpora that's worth over $1.5 million, according to the exhibition's organizers showcasing the painting.The boy was caught on security footage this past Sunday at "The Face of Leonardo, Images of a Genius" exhibition in Taipei, according to the exhibition's Facebook page.The video shows the 12-year-old tripping over a rope barrier and trying to catch his balance on the 17th-century oil painting titled "Flowers." He accidentally punches a hole the size of a fist into the painting and looks around, apparently in shock, when he gets up.The painting, 6.5 feet tall, was being restored on Monday by a Taiwanese art restorer before it was shipped back to Italy, according to Sun Chi-hsuan, the head of exhibition co-organizer TST Art of Discovery Co., Taiwanese news network Central News Agency (CNA) reported.The exhibition was also temporarily closed Monday morning but reopened in the afternoon, during which an 80-centimeter distance was maintained between each painting and visitors, Sun said.The boy who accidentally damaged the painting was very nervous, but curator Andrea Rossi asked that the boy not be blamed and that the family not be asked to pay for the cost of the restoration, CNA reported. The station added that an insurance company would cover restoration costs and compensate the owner of the painting."All 55 paintings in the venue are authentic pieces and they are very rare and precious," read a post on the exhibition's official Facebook page. "Once these works are damaged, they are permanently damaged... We hope that everyone can protect these precious artworks with us.""The Face of Leonardo, Images of a Genius" exhibition is showcasing 50 original paintings by prominent artists from the Italian Renaissance period to the 20th century, according to the exhibition's website.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.