World News

Massive Blackout Plunges Turkey into Darkness


Ali Atmaca/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(ISTANBUL) — A massive nationwide power-outage has struck Turkey, causing travel chaos in major cities and leaving roughly three-quarters of the country with limited electricity.The blackout -- the worst in Turkey for over a decade -- has affected around 40 provinces. In Istanbul traffic lights and much of the city’s subway went dark after power stopped around 10:30 a.m. Local airports were forced to close and flights are disrupted.Engen Bas, an Istanbul-based journalist working for ABC News, said that most major public facilities were running on backup generators and that internet coverage was also down in some places.The reason for the blackout is so far unexplained. With officials only able to speculate, rumors of cyber-attacks and terror threats quickly appeared. Turkish prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said that the most likely cause was problems with transmission lines but said he could not rule out terrorism.“This is not an incident we see frequently,” said energy minister, Yaner Yildiz, currently on an official visit to Slovakia.“Whether or not terrorism is a high possibility or a low I can’t say at this stage. I can’t say either whether it’s a cyber-attack,” he told Turkish TV.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Turkish Airlines Flight Diverted Over Threat


Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images(ISTANBUL) -- A Turkish Airlines flight was diverted on Monday over a false bomb threat.The flight, TK15 from Istanbul to Sao Paulo, was diverted to Casablanca, Morocco, after the threat was made, according to a spokesperson for the airline.While at the airport, passengers were taken off the plane while an explosives search was carried out.The plane was later cleared by authorities and allowed to continue on to Brazil.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Iran Nuclear Talks: As Deadline Nears, Sticking Points Fester


iStock/Thinkstock(LAUSANNE, Switzerland) -- With just over 24 hours until the deadline for negotiating parties to come to a political understanding about ending Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the most contentious issues within the talks have yet to be resolved. Negotiators still have not reached an agreement on how many centrifuges might remain online at Iran’s deep-buried Fordo nuclear reactor, whether or not Iran will be allowed to continue nuclear research and development for scientific purposes, and what to do with the stockpile of enriched uranium it already owns, officials said Monday. In what many observers see as a downgrade from the optimistic outlook at the end of last week, State Department spokesman Marie Harf said there’s a "50/50" chance a tentative deal could be reached. Speaking to reporters Monday in a teleconference from Lausanne, Switzerland, Harf said the mood is “serious” but that “there is still a path” to a deal. “It’s like moving puzzle pieces around,” Harf said. “We have to find the right combination.” Though the next deadline expires Tuesday, there is nothing that says the talks would have to stop if that deadline passes, according to the State Department. The November Joint Plan of Action technically extends through June 30. “On April 1st, it’s not like something happens,” Harf said. It's unclear, however, that talks would continue if a tentative deal is not reached by March 31. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Switzerland leading the negotiations. State Department officials said he had hoped to be back in Boston on Monday for a dedication ceremony at the new Edward Kennedy Institute, honoring the late senator from Massachusetts, who was a close colleague and friend of Kerry’s. President Obama explained Kerry’s absence at the ceremony, then quoted John F. Kennedy in summing up the nuclear negotiations with Iran. "Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate," Obama said. Meanwhile, at the White House, spokesman Eric Schultz addressed some of the sticking points in the negotiations, pushing back on reports that Iran has reneged on its pledge to export much of its stockpile. “The idea that there had been an agreement that Iran backed away from is not true,” Schultz said. “Nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to.”Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Pack of Stray Dogs Stand Guard at Animal Lover's Funeral


Patricia Urrutia(NEW YORK) -- A woman who spent her life caring for stray dogs received an unexpected -- and surprising -- tribute from the animals when she died.At the funeral for Margarita Suárez in Cuernavaca Morelos, Mexico, there was a pack of stray dogs who came inside the funeral home to stand guard.Suárez's daughter, Patricia Urrutia, told ABC News that they were shocked but delighted by the appearance of the canine celebrants.Adding to the other-worldliness of the situation was the fact that these stray dogs were not even the same ones that her 71-year-old mother had helped during her lifetime. Suárez lived in Merida Yucatan, but her funeral service was in a town more than 830 miles away, her daughter said."They stayed with my mother all day, and then at night they all stayed -- but in the morning when we planned to move my mother for cremation all that remained was one, but then when we arrived at the location to cremate my mother they all came again," Urrutia told ABC News.She said that the dogs do not normally hang around the funeral home, and that workers there had never seen anything like it before."My mom has always been good with all animals and people," Urrutia said. "Always fed the dogs on her block and the 20 stray cats that lived there."Urrutia posted photos of the scene on her Facebook profile on March 15 and the moving images have been shared across the Internet. As of Monday morning, the post has been shared more than 50,000 times on Facebook and has received more than 192,100 likes.Urrutia said that the dogs' presence helped her through the difficult day, and it was an unexpected message that she will always remember."When I was in a moment of so much pain these dogs that came, they showed me that everything was going to be okay," Urrutia told ABC."Because of them we were happy," Urrutia added. "They made a sad situation an incredible one."Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Turkey Detains Five Dutch Citizens Trying to Join ISIS


iStock/Thinkstock(ISTANBUL) -- Turkish military officials say they have detained five Dutch citizens who were attempting to cross the border into Syria to join ISIS.Nearly 100 Syrian nationals were also caught trying to enter Turkey in recent days, according to the officials.Thousands of foreigners, including a handful of Americans, have crossed the porous border to Syria to join extremist and rebel groups. Turkey has come under international criticism for not doing enough to stem the flow of would-be fighters to Syria. However, Turkish officials contend they have stopped tens of thousands of foreigners from entering their country.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Germanwings Co-Pilot Previously Had Suicidal Thoughts, Prosecutor Says


ABC News / Flight Aware(DUSSELDORF, Germany) — Prosecutors in Germany said Monday that the co-pilot of the downed Germanwings plane had been treated by a psychotherapist because of previous suicidal tendencies.Dusseldorf prosecutor Christoph Kumpa's update came six days after authorities say Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately flew the jetliner into a mountain. Kumpa said that they still do not know the motive of the crash and they have not found a suicide note."We have found medical documentation that showed no organic medical illness," Kumpa said.Few details have been revealed about the psychotherapy in question except that it reportedly occurred before Lubitz received his pilots license, which happened in 2013.The data and documents that investigators have found, Kumpa said, "don't show any hint of being suicidical [sic] or being aggressive towards other people."Investigators are focusing on the psychological state of Lubitz, 27, and a 100-person special commission -- dubbed "Alps" -- to investigate his life and collect evidence to identify more than 70 German victims. All told, the plane was carrying 150 people including Lubitz, all of whom died.Germanwings CEO Olivier Wagner, speaking at a press conference in Marseille, called the crash “The saddest day of my life. The families are always asking me, 'Why had this happened?’ I cannot give them an answer,” Wagner said.Authorities have said Lubitz hid evidence of an illness from his employers, including a sick note that was found torn up inside his apartment in Dusseldorf dated from the day of the crash.Frank Woiton, a Germanwings pilot, told German TV station WDR that he saw nothing unusual about Lubitz when he flew with him less than a month ago."The impression that I got was that he was a normal guy," Woiton said. "He had plans for the future. He wanted to fly long distance flights for Lufthansa."A Lufthansa spokesman said the FBI has questioned Lufthansa flight trainers in the U.S. who worked with Lubitz at the Airline Training Center in Arizona. The spokesman would not comment on whether the questioning revolved around trying to reconstruct Lubitz's mental state during his time there.Philip Bramley, the father of one of the victims in the plane crash, said airlines should take better care of their pilots' welfare."I believe the airlines should be more transparent and our finest pilots looked after properly," Bramley said. "We put our lives and our children's lives in their hands."His 28-year-old son, Paul Bramley, was one of the 150 people killed. Bramley called Lubitz's motive irrelevant while speaking near the site of the crash."What is relevant, is that it should never happen again; my son and everyone on that plane should not be forgotten, ever," he said.In addition to the findings suggesting Lubitz was hiding an illness, a search of his apartment in Dusseldorf yielded no suicide note and the city's prosecutor announced that there was no evidence that political or religious factors were involved in the crash.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Amanda Knox's Ex Speaks Out After Overturned Conviction


Franco Origlia/Getty Images(ROME) -- Amanda Knox's ex-boyfriend said on Monday he will no longer tolerate being called a murderer after Italy's high court ruled to exonerate him and Knox of murder last week.Speaking in Italian, Raffaele Sollecito said at a press conference in Rome that he feels like a kidnap victim who after seven years and five months has been freed.On Friday, Italy's supreme court overturned his and Knox's guilty verdict for the murder of Meredith Kercher.Sollecito said he doesn't think anyone can imagine what it means to have their life and that of their family's torn to bits. He added that he will never heal from this profound wound.Sollecito repeated that he never had anything to do with Kercher's murder and that from this moment on, he will never tolerate being called a murderer. If he is, he said he will take the appropriate and necessary actions to stop it.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Arab League Sets Up Military Force, Backs Saudi Air Strikes in Yemen


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As their region of the world becomes more unsettled daily, the 22-nation Arab League has announced the formation of a joint military force to deal with security threats faced by any of its members.At the conclusion of its summit Sunday, the League also issued support for air strikes led by Saudi Arabia against Houthi Shiite rebels in Yemen.The Arab League said the attacks on Houthi targets should continue until the rebels "withdraw and surrender their weapons."The air strikes, now in their sixth day, have driven the Houthis from air bases in Yemen, according to Saudi officials.Yemen's President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled to Saudi Arabia last week, has accused Iran of stirring up the insurrection by the Houthis, a charge Tehran has denied.Although a ground invasion of Yemen is still possible by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition, the new Arab League force, which would include 40,000 elite troops, may not be ready in time to join such an effort.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tunisia Museum Gunman Killed in Raid


iStock/Thinkstock(TUNIS, Tunisia) — Tunisia's prime minister said Sunday that his military forces have killed one of the gunmen involved in the deadly attack on tourists at the National Bardo Museum two weeks ago.Khaled Chaieb, also known as Abou Sakhr Lokman, was one of nine militants who died in a raid over the weekend near the border with Algeria.Prime Minister Habib Essid claimed that Chaieb either led or was among the leaders of the assault on the museum in Tunis that left 21 people dead, most of them foreign nationals.Two other gunmen were gunned down inside the museum while several others, including Chaieb, were believed to have gotten away.The Islamic State claimed credit for the museum attack although Tunisian authorities say that the Chaieb belonged to the jihadist group, Okba Ibn Nafaa Brigade.News of Chaieb's death came during a solidarity protest by thousands against terrorism in Tunisia.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Talks Coming Down to the Wire to Finalize Iran Nuclear Deal


iStock.Thinkstock(LAUSANNE, Switzerland) — The U.S. and its allies might be close to a deal that would ensure Iran doesn't build nuclear weapons but it remains unclear whether whatever differences that exist can be resolved by Tuesday’s deadline.Negotiators are in 11th hour talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, to make an agreement happen.The P5+1 group -- the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany -- is hoping Iran will agree to enough concessions in exchange for the lifting of crippling economic and political sanctions.Although German's foreign minister declared that the talks had reached an "endgame," France, which has taken a harder line, expressed doubts that a deal was imminent.Secretary of State John Kerry said it's time for Iran to make compromises but Tehran appears to be digging in its heels, particularly on the issue of how its nuclear program will move forward and how soon sanctions can be lifted.Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an ardent opponent of the negotiations, said Sunday that what appears to be on the table is even worse than he even imagined but without specifying why.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Air Canada Hard Landing: Passengers Were 'Lucky,' Officials Say


The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (HALIFAX, Nova Scotia) — An Air Canada jet attempting to land at the Halifax international airport Sunday morning touched down about 1,100 feet before the runway, damaging the landing gear, ripping off the nose cone, mangling one wing and the engine and ripping off the other before it skidded to a stop, officials said.Twenty-five people on board the Air Canada A320 were injured in the hard landing after the jet hit an array antenna on the ground. Considering the significant damage to the plane, it was fortunate that no one was seriously hurt, officials said."They touched down 1,100 feet before the runway," Michael Cunningham of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said. "I'd say they are pretty lucky."The landing gear came off after the plane hit the runway, according to Cunningham, and the plane then skidded another 1,100 feet on its belly before it came to a stop. The passengers were then evacuated, Cunningham said."Didn't hesitate -- just jumped out onto the wing, we started running away from the plane," passenger Dominic Stettler said.The underside of the plane suffered significant damage, Cunningham said. The nose cone broke off and one of the plane's two engines detached."I was really scared," Leon Yu said. "We slid down a thing, and we saw the engine a couple hundred feet from the plane."Of the 25 passengers and crew members who were hospitalized, all but one had been released as of Sunday afternoon, according to Air Canada.The TSB will have about 12 to 15 investigators at the scene on Monday."It's too early to draw any conclusions about this occurrence," Cunningham said Sunday afternoon.The black boxes have been recovered and are heading to Ottawa to be analyzed, Cunningham said.Halifax Stanfield International Airport spokesman Peter Spurway said the pilots were in control of the plane up until the hard landing.Spurway said there was snow on the runway but it hadn't yet been determined whether that was a factor in the hard landing. The airport also suffered a power interruption around the same time of the incident, but it was unclear whether the two events were related."It was safe to land in this weather," said Air Canada Chief Operating Officer Klaus Goersch.The pilots are 15-year veterans of Air Canada, Goersch added, with "many years" of experience flying the A320.Goersch said that the plane was checked Saturday, which was its most recent scheduled maintenance check.The airport was closed to all air traffic for several hours after the crash before reopening. Again, operations are resuming. Expect changes to flight schedules, please check ahead.— Halifax Airport (@HfxStanfield) March 29, 2015 Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Air Canada Plane Skids Off Halifax Runway; 23 Injured


The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (HALIFAX, Nova Scotia) -- Twenty-three passengers and crew members on board an A320 Air Canada flight were hospitalized Sunday when the plane experienced a hard landing at the Halifax international airport. The plane, incoming from Toronto, skidded off the runway upon landing early Sunday local time, said Halifax Stanfield International Airport spokesman Peter Spurway. He said the pilots were in control of the plane up until the hard landing. All but one of the injured passengers had been released from the hospital as of Sunday afternoon, according to Air Canada. The cause has not been determined, an Air Canada spokesman said Sunday afternoon. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating. Spurway said there was snow on the runway but it hadn't yet been determined whether that was a factor in the hard landing. The airport also suffered a power interruption around the same time of the incident, but it was unclear whether the two events were related. "It was safe to land in this weather," an An Air Canada spokesman said. The pilots are 15-year veterans of Air Canada, the airline spokesman added, with "many years" of experience flying the A320. He said that the plane was checked Saturday, which was its most recent scheduled maintenance check.The airport was closed to all air traffic for several hours after the crash before reopening. Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US And Partners Announce Airstrikes in Syria, Iraq


Ivan Cholakov/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new round of airstrikes was conducted in Iraq and Syria by U.S. and coalition forces on Saturday.According to U.S. Central Command, there were 14 airstrikes in Iraq conducted by attack, fighter, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIS targets. Three airstrikes near Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul destroyed two tactical units and a building. Six airstrikes near the Iraqi city of Tikrit destroyed several tactical units and anti-aircraft artillery weapons, according to Centcom. Coalition aircraft also targeted fighter positions near the western town of Fallujah. An additional strike was made in Syria near the border town of Kobani, where Centcom says an airstrike destroyed an ISIS tactical unit and vehicle.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Netanyahu Voices Criticism of Iran Nuclear Talks


Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty images(JERUSALEM) -- As the clock ticks down in Switzerland on a nuclear talks with Iran, the Israeli leader is again voicing criticism.Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a strong warning on Sunday against negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu said “The Iran-Lausanne-Yeman axis” was very dangerous to humanity and must be stopped.The comments were made in reference to the Swiss town where the talks are taking place and Yemen, a country where Shi-Houti rebels are said to be backed by Iran. Netanyahu describes the possible deal as worse than he feared, and claims Iran is trying to conquer the Middle East while pursuing its nuclear ambitions.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Pope Francis Prays for Germanwings Victims During Palm Sunday Mass


Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- As French salvage workers continue to retrieve bodies from the Germanwings crash in France, Pope Francis offered his prayers to the victims of the crash during Palm Sunday celebrations in St. Peter’s Square. Under a clear blue sky, Pope Francis opened the Christian Holy Week with Palm Sunday in St. Peter’s Square and a payer for those who died in Tuesday’s Germanwing’s plane crash. Prosecutors say 27-year-old German co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately flew plane into the mountains, killing 149 others. Among the dead are 16 German high school students whom the pope made special mention of in his prayers.Holding a simple wooden pastoral staff, the pope stressed humility and service to others, qualities he has tried to demonstrate as pope and encourage among his followers.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Air Canada Plane Skids Off Hailfax Runway; 23 Injured


The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (HALIFAX, Nova Scotia) -- Twenty-three passengers and crew members on board an A320 Air Canada flight were hospitalized Sunday when the plane experienced a hard landing at the Halifax international airport. The plane, incoming from Toronto, skidded off the runway upon landing early Sunday local time, said Halifax Stanfield International Airport spokesman Peter Spurway. He said the pilots were in control of the plane up until the hard landing. All but one of the injured passengers had been released from the hospital as of Sunday afternoon, according to Air Canada. The cause has not been determined, an Air Canada spokesman said Sunday afternoon. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating. Spurway said there was snow on the runway but it hadn't yet been determined whether that was a factor in the hard landing. The airport also suffered a power interruption around the same time of the incident, but it was unclear whether the two events were related. "It was safe to land in this weather," an An Air Canada spokesman said. The pilots are 15-year veterans of Air Canada, the airline spokesman added, with "many years" of experience flying the A320. He said that the plane was checked Saturday, which was its most recent scheduled maintenance check.The airport was closed to all air traffic for several hours after the crash before reopening. Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Cities Around The World Mark Earth Hour


Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Lights switched off across the world on Saturday as major cities marked World Earth Hour.Places such as Berlin, Rome, Amman, Jordan, and New York City’s Empire State Building pulled the plug at 8:30 p.m. local time. “This is not exclusive for the developed countries, or the developing countries so it’s affecting all,” said climate change researchers Hussein Al-Kiswani in Amman, Jordan. Organizers estimate that more than 7,000 events were held around the globe. “The event is resembling the fact that we are united together all over the world to fight this phenomenon,” said Al-Kiswani.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Yemen's President Describes Rebels As 'Puppets of Iran'


Istimages/iStock/Thinkstock (SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt) -- The embattled President of Yemen described the Shiite rebels currently seizing large chunks of the country as “puppet of Iran” during a speech on Saturday at an Arab League summit in Egypt. President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi left Yemen on Thursday for refuge in Saudi Arabia amid the ongoing violence. Hadi has directly blamed Iran for Yemen’s descent into chaos, and is demanding that airstrikes continue against rebel positions until they surrender.A coalition led by Saudi Arabia of Arab states is currently conducting an air campaign against the Shiite Houthi rebels.Yemen’s foreign minister said on Saturday that Yemen's president will not return to Yemen until "the situation settles."Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Amanda Knox's Conviction Overturned by Italy's Highest Court


ABC(ROME) -- Italy's highest court decided Friday to overturn Amanda Knox's reconviction in connection with her roommate's slaying, meaning that she will not be sent back to prison.Knox's mother confirmed to ABC News that her daughter's conviction has been annulled.Knox was initially convicted by an Italian court of killing British student Meredith Kercher in 2007, but that decision was overturned on appeal in October 2011 after she had spent four years in prison.She was then reconvicted last year and an appeal of the reconviction began this month. There is no possibility of further appeals after Friday’s ruling.Knox said in a statement that she is "tremendously relieved and grateful for the deicison of the Supreme Court of Italy.""The knowledge of my innocence has given me strength in the darkest times of this ordeal," Knox says. Her family also released a statement saying they were "thrilled with" and "grateful for" Friday's decision. "This is a big mistake that has to be rectified," Knox's defense attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova told ABC News before this latest appeal case began. "It has been done before."Knox has previously told ABC News that while she maintains her innocence, she will not be traveling to Italy for the new appeal because if found guilty, she would then be sent back to jail for up to 28 years."I did not expect this to happen," Knox told ABC News in January 2014. "I really expected so much better from the Italian justice system. They found me innocent once before."Knox has rebuilt her life in her hometown of Seattle, writing freelance theater reviews for a local paper and working at a bookstore. In February, her family confirmed that she is now engaged to Colin Sutherland, a friend whom she has known since middle school.Her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito is facing the same appeal and while he has been present in the Rome court throughout the week, Knox has remained in America."I will never go willingly back," she said in January 2014.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Germanwings Co-Pilot Andreas Lubitz Never Submitted Sick Note, Airline Says


Getty Images(DÜSSELDORF, Germany) -- The airline whose plane crashed in the French Alps never received the sick note that investigators found torn up in the apartment of the co-pilot who allegedly hid an illness from his employers before allegedly causing the fatal crash, it was revealed Friday.Germanwings said in a statement Friday that they never received a sick note for co-pilot Andreas Lubitz that the senior prosecutor in Dusseldorf announced they had found torn up in his apartment.Prosecutor Christoph Kumpa had said earlier in the day that "a torn-up current sick note ... valid for the day of the incident" had been found, adding that it "would -- according to preliminary evaluation -- support the assumption that the [pilot] had concealed his illness towards his employer and his occupational environment."Kumpa said the note found indicated the pilot deemed unwell by a medical doctor.The disclosure of torn medical documents at the co-pilot's home came shortly before Germanwings' parent company, Lufthansa, announced that it would be changing company policy to require two "authorized persons" remain in the cockpit at all times during the flight, in light of the finding that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz apparently stopped the captain from re-entering the cockpit and forced the plane to crash.In addition to the findings suggesting Lubitz was hiding an illness, a search of his apartment in Dusseldorf yielded no suicide note and the city's prosecutor announced that there is no evidence that political or religious factors were involved in the crash.The Wall Street Journal cited a friend of Lubitz who said that he suffered from depression and was worried that his employer would find out about his diagnosis. ABC News has not independently confirmed this account.Dusseldorf University Hospital confirmed Lubitz was a patient there and his last visit was two weeks before the crash. They denied that the treatment was related to depression, but they have handed over all of his medical records to German investigators.During a news conference on Thursday, the Lufthansa CEO said that the 27-year-old co-pilot had undergone a medical examination that included a psychological evaluation before being hired in 2013 but, unlike physicals, mental evaluations are not required annually.The Germanwings plane crashed this past Tuesday in the Alps in southern France with 150 people on board, including two babies, the airline said. French President Francois Hollande said there were "apparently no survivors."Brice Robin, public prosecutor of Marseille, France, said in a news conference Thursday that Lubitz appeared to want to "destroy the plane," purposefully locking the captain out of the Airbus A320's cockpit and accelerating the descent manually.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US Helicopter Recovers Pair of Saudi Pilots After Fighter Jet Crash


Stocktrek Images/Thinkstock(DJIBOUTI) -- A U.S. helicopter recovered a pair of Saudi pilots whose fighter jet had crashed in the Gulf of Aden on Friday.A U.S. official confirmed that the Saudi plane, a F-15, had gone down due to mechanical issues while participating in Saudi airstrikes within Yemen. A U.S. Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter based in nearby Djibouti was set to rescue the pilots, who had ejected into the water.The U.S. is not taking part in the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, but is providing logistical and intelligence support.Follow @ABCNewsRadio!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US Embassy in Iraq Denies Reports of Coalition Airstrike Mistakenly Hitting Iraq


Marcio Silva/iStock/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- The U.S. embassy in Iraq on Friday denied Iraqi media reports that a coalition airstrike mistakenly struck Iraqi troops in Tikrit."We are aware of Iraqi media reports of casualties among Iraqi Security Forces in the vicinity of Tikrit University this morning," the embassy's statement reads. "No coalition airstrikes took place during the time or in the vicinity of these alleged casualties."The embassy referred further questions to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. U.S. and coalition forces had begun to conduct airstrikes and offer additional support in the vicinity of Tikrit as Iraqi Security Forces attempt to retake the city from ISIS militants.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.