World News

Ferry Survivors Describe Sliding Bodies, Wall of Water


Park Young-Chul-Donga Daily via Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) -- Survivors of the ferry that sank off the coast of South Korea told harrowing tales of confusion and desperation as people slid along the floor of the sharply listing ship, colliding with one another, or found themselves trapped in cabins by a wall of water.Rescued passengers said that immediately after they heard a booming noise, the ship began listing and they heard an announcement over the ship’s PA system telling the passengers to stay in place.“The baggage was falling out, and we were saying ‘What’s going on?’ But the announcement told us to stay where we were, so we did,” one rescued student told MBC News, a Korean news agency."The ship began tilting all of a sudden, and then people started skidding down from above," rescued passenger Young-Ja Shin told SBS News. "There was a railing, so I held onto it, but I then got hit by one of the falling people and we got pushed down to the bottom." "It took about 10 seconds to tilt over, and then I began sliding from end to end," rescued passenger Eun-Bok Jang, 50, told SBS News. "I got hit on my side and then I couldn't breathe." The vessel tipped over completely on its side, and there was mass confusion inside the ferry as refrigerators and other things fell over, Jang said. When the water started rushing in, many passengers put on life vests and escaped outside. But by the time that announcements told passengers to make their way out, the ship had already submerged significantly, so there were few exits that could be used for escape, rescued passengers said. Many passengers were gathered in the entertainment center, restaurants and shops on the third floor of the 5-deck ship, but when the ferry capsized, that third floor was fully submerged, authorities told the Yonhap news agency. There was most likely a power outage immediately after the ship capsized, so confused and frantic passengers probably had a hard time finding their way out in the dark and narrow passage ways. "When we were making our way out, the wall was almost all water, and it was completely submerged up to the third floor," survivor In-Hwan Kang, 58, told MBC. So-Hyun Kim, a teacher accompanying the more than 300 students from Danwon High School in Ansan, said she initially stayed in her cabin because of the announcements, but had to attempt an escape when water came rushing in. "I couldn't go anywhere. I didn't have the strength to climb further up," she told SBS News. "There was an open emergency exit, so another teacher and I decided to just fall and swim our way toward it. I fell and hit a railing, and that's when I was rescued." Of the 475 passengers on board the ferry, 164 were rescued. Another 295 were listed as missing. Rescuers were seen boarding the vessel, which had tipped to its side, and combing through the top of the ship for survivors. One man boarded the boat and quickly found what appeared to be a crew member still on it. Bodies could be seen scattered through the water in another video shot from a helicopter. A yellow raft was tossed out of the chopper and survivors in the water swam toward it before they were pulled to safety. Others were winched in slings to the safety of hovering helicopters. As darkness fell, the ferry took on more water and only the rudder of the vessel remained visible before the ship sank about 100 feet below the water. Rescuers stopped searching for the 294 people who are still reported missing at about 7 p.m. due to strong currents and poor visibility, but they resumed their mission around 12:30 a.m. local time, taking advantage of a lull in the strong currents. One rescued passenger said he believed that many people had been trapped inside the ferry when it sank. The ferry, identified as the Sewol, was sailing to the southern island of Jeju when it sent a distress call as it began leaning to one side. The passengers include more than 300 students from Danwon High School in Ansan, near Seoul, who were on a school trip. Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

School Kids Get Ride in Popemobile


Franco Origlia/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- Two schoolboys in the general audience at St. Peter’s Square got the thrill of a lifetime Wednesday when Pope Francis gave them a ride in the popemobile.The pope stepped out to receive a t-shirt from the group of fifth-grade students from Perugia, Italy, when he asked them who wanted to go for a ride.From the chorus of, “Me! Me! Me!” replies, Francis picked two boys, 11-year-old's Livio Bastianelli and Davide Maria Bianchi.Pope Francis has made a point of connecting with people in St. Peter’s Square since being elected as the leader of the Catholic Church last year.Last Sunday, on Palm Sunday, Francis got out of his popemobile after his homily so he could take selfies with tourists from Rio de Janeiro, who had carried a large cross into the square.In February, Pope Francis was photographed kissing his “Mini-Me” in front of a Vatican crowd. The little boy was dressed in tiny papal robes and a skull cap. The toddler’s grandmother made the outfit for Carnival, when children dress up in costumes in the weeks before Lent.Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Police Respond to Emergency Call from Dog


iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Police in England who responded to an emergency call at a house in the village of Edlesborough soon realized the "heavy breather" at the end of the line was a dog. Leighton, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois, has a long history with local police in the area -- having set off burglar alarms connected with the police station numerous times and barked continuously until the neighbors called authorities, his owner, Mary Amos-Cole, said. "The police have been out loads of times to him,” Amos-Cole told ABC News. "I think he’s into uniforms. Most times it’s a lady copper that comes out. I think he wants to join the police force." Amos-Cole and her husband Jeff Amos-Cole were in the garden on a calm, sunny day last week when Leighton decided to run off with the couple's cordless phone. “We both got up and chased him, but he loves being chased and wiggling around the garden,” Mary Amos-Cole said. “He was tormenting us, so eventually we got it off him and sat down. Then we heard the postman at the gate saying ‘he won’t hurt you’.” The couple had no idea with whom the postman was speaking with until a policewoman knocked at the front door and informed them they had received an emergency call filled with "heavy breathing" coming from the other end. “We both said ‘oh no it must be Leighton’ and we all looked at him and he just came up and nudged us,” Amos-Cole said. “Luckily the policewoman was fine with it. She came in the house and started chatting and [Leighton] was going up to her and giving her his toys.” A Thames Valley Police spokesman told ABC News that they had received a “silent” call on April 10 at 12:08 p.m. “It was confirmed by the occupant at the address that their dog had accidentally called 999,” police said in a statement. "He’s a bit of a pain actually, but we love him to bits," Amos-Cole said.Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Oscar Pistorius Witness' Credentials Challenged in Latest Blow


GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- Oscar Pistorius' defense appeared to have suffered a blow Wednesday when a forensic witness who contradicted the prosecution's version of the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp was challenged on his credentials as an expert in forensics and other elements of his testimony.The witness, Roger Dixon, was forced to admit under questioning by prosecutor Gerrie Nel that he was not an expert in forensics, pathology, ballistics, blood spatter, or sound and optics.Dixon told the court Tuesday that Steenkamp was close to the door and angling toward the door on her right side as if she was reaching for the doorknob. He also concluded that Pistorius fired four shots through the bathroom door in quick succession.Dixon's testimony contradicts the prosecution's forensic experts who determined that Steenkamp was facing the door when the first bullet struck her in the hip and knocked her down. Nel had also told the court that she was afraid of Pistorius and was talking to him through the locked door when he shot her.The prosecution had also argued that Pistorius fired one shot and Steenkamp screamed before Pistorius fired three more rounds.Pistorius, 27, is charged with murder for shooting Steenkamp, 29, before dawn on Valentine's Day 2013. He could be sentenced to at least 25 years if convicted. Pistorius, a legless paralypian sprinter known as Blade Runner, claims he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.Dixon's testimony included a bullet-by-bullet account of Steenkamp's wounds, prompting another bout of retching by Pistorius in court.In addition to giving a different version of how Steenkamp was shot, Dixon told the court that he helped record sounds of a cricket bat hitting against a door to show to the court that the sounds neighbors testified were the sound of gunshots could have been Pistorius breaking down the door to get to his mortally wounded girlfriend.Nel questioned Dixon's expertise and professional affiliations."Are you a sound expert?" Nel asked."I would hope I'm a sound expert," he replied.Nel repeated the question, referring to sound and acoustics specifically, to which Dixon said the test he did of the sound made by a cricket bat hitting a door and a gun firing was to determine whether the two could be confused."[The] expertise used was attempting to reconstruct the situation...I was not listening to myself making that sound," he said.Nel asked Dixon how he conducted tests on how dark it would have been in Pistorius' bedroom when he claims he didn't know Steenkamp had gone into the bathroom."The instruments that I used were my eyes," Dixon said.Dixon's qualifications as a forensics expert were also questioned by Nel, with the prosecutor getting so aggressive that the judge admonished him, "Mr. Nel, please restrain yourself.”Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Prince William and Duchess Kate Bring Prince George to Australia


Samir Hussein/WireImage(SYDNEY) -- The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Sydney Wednesday for the second half of their 19-day tour Down Under.Prince William and Duchess Kate treated local dignitaries to a royal first upon their arrival in Australia’s largest city, introducing them to their 8-month-old son, Prince George.George -- dressed in a white romper accented by embroidered sailboats -- was alternatively carried by his mother and father as they descended their plane at Sydney Airport and greeted well-wishers and dignitaries that included Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.Kate, 32, wore a Roksanda Ilincic Ryedale dress from the London-based designer’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection that retails for around $1,500.The vibrant yellow color of Kate’s dress paid homage to Australia’s national color but Prince William, 31, reportedly thought the dress reminded him of something else.“William said I look like a banana,” Kate reportedly told a well-wisher.The crowds loved William and Kate as they posed in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge while attending a reception at the Sydney Opera House. Even though the new parents left Prince George behind for the event, their son was not far from their minds.“I suspect George’s first word might be Bilby, only because Koala is harder to say,” Prince William said in a speech, referring to the rabbit-like animals indigenous and iconic to Australia.It was not a Bilby but a stuffed wombat, another well-known Australian animal, that Prince George was gifted by Australia’s governor-general on Wednesday. George greeted the stuffed animal with a smile, as did his father, Prince William, who was nicknamed ‘wombat’ by his mother, Princess Diana.Prince William spoke lovingly of his late mother, Diana, who gave her son the nickname when she, Prince William and his father, Prince Charles, traveled to Australia 31 years ago.“My mother’s deep affection for Australia -- which you were so kind to reciprocate -- needs no reminder,” William said.Later this week, William and Kate will travel to Ayers Rock, the iconic sandstone monument that Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited as well.Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Al Qaeda Affiliate Leader Praised in 'Atypical' Terror Gathering


AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The leader of al Qaeda’s most dangerous affiliate is the star of a propaganda video showing an unusually large gathering of apparent militants.Nasir al-Wahishi, believed to be the leader of al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), appears in good spirits as he addresses dozens of fighters as the black flag of al Qaeda flaps in the breeze among them.“The enemy crusader still has cards to play,” al-Wahishi says in the footage. “We must remember that we are always fighting against the big enemy. We must eliminate the cross held by the cross bearer America.”The highly produced, undated video was posted online at least two weeks ago and also shows the other fighters making displays of respect to al-Wahishi.An American official told ABC News that the U.S. intelligence community believes the video is authentic and may show a gathering of escapees from a Yemen prison.“The depiction of such a large gathering of fighters and the appearance of senior leaders are atypical of AQAP’s propaganda videos,” the official said.Top U.S. officials have previously described AQAP as the most dangerous of the al Qaeda affiliates, more so than the terror group’s core cadre led by Ayman al-Zawahiri in southwest Asia.Counted among AQAP’s members is Ibrahim al-Asiri, a devious bombmaker who is suspected of constructing explosive devices hidden in printer cartridges for the failed cargo planes bomb plot of 2009.The Center for Combating Terrorism Center at West Point describes al-Wahishi as a “tiny wisp of a man with a jutting beard and soft-spoken manner” who joined al Qaeda before the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S. Al-Wahishi himself escaped from a maximum security prison in Yemen in 2006, the center said.Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Ukraine's Offensive Falters as Elite Units Defect to Pro-Russia Side


GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images(SLOVIANSK, Ukraine) -- Ukraine’s “anti-terrorist operation” to take back areas in eastern Ukraine seized by pro-Russian forces faltered Wednesday as units of Ukraine’s elite forces in tanks and armored personnel carriers defected to the pro-Russian side.In at least two towns -- Sloviansk and Kramatorsk -- armored vehicles were seen flying Russian flags and carrying defected troops.It comes after Ukraine made a big display of military might for journalists on Sunday, showing off the hardware and forces that would take part in the operation. A little while later, helicopters containing special forces took off on their first mission, taking back the Kramatorsk airfield that had been occupied by armed gunmen.As the operation continued Monday, Ukrainian jets and helicopters could be seen flying across the skies of the eastern Donetsk region.Ukraine’s acting president said on Sunday that the operation would be conducted “gradually with caution and responsibility.”“I want to emphasize that the aim of the operation is to protect the citizens of Ukraine, to stop terror, to stop criminals and to stop attempts at tearing our country apart,” he said.Pro-Russia protesters have been calling for greater autonomy for the eastern part of the country and for closer ties with Moscow.Ukraine and the United States have repeatedly accused Russia of fueling the unrest in eastern Ukraine and on Wednesday, Ukraine’s acting Prime Minister Arsenly Yatsenyuk said Russia is “exporting terrorism” to Ukraine.“Russia must withdraw its sabotage groups, condemn terrorists and liberate all administrative buildings,” Yatsenyuk said.Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Sub Deployed in Flight 370 Search Forced to Resurface Early


U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Blair/Released(PERTH, Australia) -- The underwater search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was temporarily interrupted on Wednesday.The U.S. Navy's Bluefin-21, the robotic submarine searching the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Boeing 777, had to resurface Wednesday morning to fix a technical issue, Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Center said in a statement.The JACC, which is leading the search for the jetliner, said an intial analysis of the data downloaded from the sub while it was on deck showed no significant detections.The Bluefin-21 has since been redeployed and is continuing the slow process of creating a sonar map of the area to chart any debris on the sea floor. Each mission takes the sub a total of 24 hours to complete: two hours to reach the bottom of the ocean, 16 hours to execute its search, two hours to return to the surface, and four hours to download and analyze the data it collected.Officials are hoping to find Flight 370's black boxes in order to understand what happened to the plane when it disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board.So far, crews have detected four signals consistent with the pings of an airplane's black box, which has a battery life of about a month.Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Boehner Supports US Forces in Afghanistan Past 2014


Alex Wong/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- A top U.S. lawmaker is giving his support to keeping a residual U.S. force in Afghanistan after the planned withdrawal of most coalition forces by the end of 2014.Meeting with U.S. and Afghan officials in Kabul, House Speaker John Boehner remarked that American troops "fought to bring peace and security to Afghanistan and to ensure it can never again be used as a safe haven for terrorists to attack the United States."The Obama administration has been at loggerheads with Afghan President Hamid Karzai over signing a Bilateral Security Agreement that would leave an unspecified number of U.S. soldiers in the country in a training and advisory role past 2014.Karzai, who wants various concessions from Washington, says he will leave it up to his successor to determine whether a post-war pact is right for Afghanistan.A week-and-a-half ago, millions of Afghans went to the polls to select a new leader but the outcome may not be known for some time. Even then, a run-off is predicted between the two top candidates, which could further delay the signing of the BSA.Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Iraq Shuts Down Abu Ghraib Prison


Wathiq Khuzaie/Getty Images(BAGHDAD) -- The Iraqi prison formerly known as Abu Ghraib has been shut down, perhaps permanently.Iraq's justice ministry announced on Tuesday the "complete closure of Baghdad Central Prison...and the removal of the inmates in cooperation with the ministries of defense and interior."The government suggested that the prison's shuttering was due to the rise of violence in Iraq, especially because the facility is located "in a hot area."About 2,400 detainees alleged to have been involved in terrorist-related activities have been moved to other jails in central and northern Iraq.Abu Ghraib prison first became notorious during the regime of the late dictator Saddam Hussein, whose minions committed unspeakable acts of torture against his political foes and ordinary criminals.In 2004, following the U.S. occupation of Iraq, photographs surfaced of American prison guards abusing detainees at the prison. It's believed these images helped fuel the insurgency that stretched the U.S. war effort in Iraq until the end of 2011.Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Syrian Rebels Claim They Received US Missiles


creisinger/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. may have finally gotten around to providing Syrian rebels with the heavy artillery they've been demanding since the start of the conflict three years ago to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad's regime.According to a report by Agence France-Presse, "fighters from the Hazm movement have for the first time received more than 20 TOW anti-tank missiles from a Western source."The AFP quoted an unidentified source familiar with the purported weapons hand-off.The Hazm movement is a force within the Free Syrian Army. Amateur video released by an opposition media organization apparently shows rebels firing missiles at undisclosed locations in Syria.U.S. officials have declined to comment on the source of the missiles.The Obama administration has been skittish about providing opposition forces with heavy artillery, fearing it could fall into the heads of radical Islamic groups who have also joined in the Syrian civil war that has cost an estimated 150,000 lives since March 2011.Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Hundreds Missing After Ferry Sinks off South Korea's Coast


iStock/Thinkstock(SEOUL, South Korea) -- Nearly 300 people are missing after a ferry carrying 459 passengers, many of them students, sank in cold waters off South Korea’s southern coast Wednesday.So far, only two deaths have been reported with 164 people having been rescued. The confirmed fatalities are a female crew member, 22, and a male student. The ferry, identified as the Sewol, was sailing from the port of Incheon in the northwest to the southern island of Jeju when it sent a distress call as it began leaning to one side. Coast Guard crews tried to break into the ferry, searching for anyone left behind, but they have been unable to do so since the vessel has sunk more than 100 feet below the water's surface. The reason for the crash is still unknown, but officials are looking into the possibility that it may have hit a reef. Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Italy Hopes Sale of Island Will Help to Pay Debts


iStock/Thinkstock(ROME) -- A financially desperate Italy has put an island in the Venice lagoon up for auction to help pay off its public debt. The Venetian island of Poveglia is one of a range of historic sites that Italy has put on sale, including a Catholic pilgrimage site and a 15th-century bastion. Italy hopes the sale of these properties will bring its debt in line with European Union regulations. The government owns more than half a million commercial and residential properties that Italians and foreigners will have the chance to bid for online.In the past 13 years, Italy has raised $2.5 billion by selling off state property. It expects to earn another $700 million more this year through the sales. As a move to make the properties more enticing, Italy has cut down the number of permits needed to restore historic sites. The auction is open until May 6.Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Ukraine Retakes Airfield with 'Anti-Terrorist' Operation


Bulent Doruk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(IZIUM, Ukraine) -- Ukraine’s military launched an offensive Tuesday to quell pro-Russian violence that has swept eastern Ukraine, as Russia’s prime minister tweeted an ominous message.“There is foreboding of a civil war in #Ukraine,” Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev posted Tuesday.In what Ukraine’s acting president has called an “anti-terrorist operation,” Ukraine’s military -- complete with helicopters loaded with special forces units -- quickly won back an occupied airfield, its first target.There were reports of wounded pro-Russian protesters, raising fears in Washington that Moscow would use bloodshed as an excuse to invade Ukraine. Russia has repeatedly warned it may intervene to defend Russian speakers in Ukraine.The U.S. warned of more possible sanctions Tuesday against Russia for meddling in Ukraine, and appeared cautiously supportive of the operation by Ukrainian security forces in eastern cities.“We are obviously evaluating requests and looking at ways that we can support the Ukrainian government,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney.“But our focus is on continuing to put pressure on Russia so that it understands that the international community is united when it comes to support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and that there is a path for Russia to take that would de-escalate the situation and ensure that it doesn’t devolve into violence.”Amid the unrest and counter-offensive, life largely continued as normal. Most do not support the violence and fear it may spiral.“I don’t want troops to be here,” said Kosta Kolsenik in the seized town of Sloviansk. “Really. It’s really dangerous for our people.”ABC US News | ABC Business NewsCopyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Berlusconi Convicted of Tax Fraud, Receives Sentence


Pete Souza / The White House(MILAN, Italy) -- Former Italian leader and convicted fraudster Silvio Berlusconi will be spending some quality time with older Italians.A Milan court has agreed to allow the 77-year-old billionaire to volunteer once a week at an old-age home instead of being put under house arrest for his 2013 tax fraud conviction. The court rejected, however, Berlusconi’s request to act as a “motivational speaker” for the older residents.Berlusconi was originally sentenced to four years in jail, which was later commuted to just one year. Italy does not send those over 70 to prison for non-violent crimes.As part of the conviction, the former leader was also expelled from parliament and banned from running for office for a period of six years.The ban, however, does not stop him from campaigning politically. He’s leading the charge for his center-right party Forza Italia in the European Union elections next month.Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Rabbit with Your Pizza? New Zealand Billboard Combines Them


Hell Pizza(NEW YORK) -- A new billboard for Hell Pizza advertising an Easter special of rabbit pizza is itself covered in rabbit -- or at least rabbit furs.The New Zealand-based pizza chain tweeted that the recipe will include smoked wild New Zealand rabbit, toasted pine nuts, beetroot and horopito relish, cream cheese, rosemary, and fresh spring onions.After weathering some blowback on the Internet for the bunny-themed pies and ads, the company let loose some rabbit facts:“As well as being a delicious meat, and even quite cute, rabbits are unfortunately also a noted pest that is damaging to the New Zealand environment, particularly in the South Island,” they wrote on their Facebook page.“For those who are concerned, we sourced these rabbit skins via a professional animal tanning company, who in turn sourced them from local meat processing companies where the skins are a regular by-product. Our Rabbit Pizzas are made purely from wild rabbits from Southland and Otago,”the statement continued.Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Missed the 'Blood Moon'? Here's Your Next Chance


NASA Ames Research Center/Brian Day(NEW YORK) -- If you were asleep when the “blood moon” graced the sky early Tuesday, you’re in luck. The moon will glow red three more times in the next 18 months, scientists say.It’s all part of a lunar eclipse “tetrad”: a series of four consecutive total lunar eclipses that happen at about six-month intervals.The next one is due Oct. 8, followed by blood moons on April 4, 2015, and Sept. 28, 2015, according to NASA.There will be a total lunar eclipse on those dates, when the moon passes into the Earth’s shadow, and the moon will begin to appear bright orange or red because of the way sunlight bends through the Earth’s atmosphere. The sunset hue lasts up to an hour.The moon appeared reddest Tuesday around 3 a.m.You’ll have to be an early riser to catch the October “blood moon.” That total eclipse will begin at 6:25 a.m. Clear skies are key and people on the West Coast will have the best view.NASA eclipse expert Fred Espenak pointed out that this lunar eclipse series is unique because all four eclipses will be visible in North America, which isn’t always the case.There are about two lunar eclipses a year, but you’ll only see a blood mood during a total eclipse. There are also partial eclipses, when the moon only passes into part of Earth’s shadow, and penumbral eclipses, when the moon barely grazes the Earth’s shadow, which is so subtle most sky-gazers don’t even notice.Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Reeva Steenkamp's Heartbreaking Valentine to Pistorius Revealed


Theana Breugem/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- A heartbreaking Valentine's Day card that Reeva Steenkamp wrote to Oscar Pistorius on the day she died was read in court Tuesday."Roses are red, violets are blue, I think today is a good day to tell you that I love you," the message reads.Pistorius' defense advocate asked him to read the card aloud after the state concluded its cross examination of the athlete.As prosecutor Gerrie Nel wrapped up the state's five-day cross examination, he alleged that Pistorius intended to kill Steenkamp in the 2013 tragedy.“She was locked into the bathroom, and you armed yourself with the sole purpose of shooting and killing her … and that’s what you did,” Nel said. “Afterwards, indeed, you were overcome by what you’d done, that is true. Only because you intentioned to kill her. You realized that.”Pistorius is charged with murder in Steenkamp’s death. If convicted, he could face 25 years to life in prison. Pistorius says he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.During Tuesday’s proceedings, the prosecution asked for a break in the trial, a request the defense supports. Judge Thokozile Masipa will consider the option and announce a decision on Wednesday.Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Obama and Putin Clash as Ukraine Situation Heats Up


Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- As pro-Russian separatists continue to hold buildings throughout eastern Ukraine, President Obama spoke by phone Monday to Russian President Vladimir Putin in an effort to stop the situation from spinning out of control.According to a statement issued by the White House, the president "expressed grave concern about Russian government support for the actions of armed, pro-Russian separatists who threaten to undermine and destabilize the government of Ukraine."The president emphasized that a diplomatic solution, while still possible, is being made difficult by Russian troops near Ukraine's border, the instigation of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine and the Kremlin's belligerent rhetoric.Meanwhile, Moscow dismissed Obama's concerns, claiming that speculation about Russian involvement in the affairs of southeastern Ukraine was "based on inaccurate information."Instead, Putin blamed the current unrest in Ukraine on the "unwillingness and inability" of the interim government "to take into account the interests of the Russian and Russian-speaking population."Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tension Heats Up Between the US and Russia over Ukraine


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Pentagon officials have called out Russia for flying a fighter jet over the weekend too close to a U.S. warship in the Black Sea. The jet was 500 feet above sea level and 3,000 feet away from the U.S.S. Donald Cook, close enough that the ship sent warnings that were ignored for more than 90 minutes. Officials say the jet was unarmed and the ship was never in danger, but have called the Russian's actions irresponsible.Watch the report from ABC's World News with Diane Sawyer:ABC US News | ABC Business NewsCopyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Top US Spy: Intel Cooperation with Pakistan 'On the Upswing'


Stocktrek Images(ATHENS, Ga.) -- The strained spy relationship between Pakistan and the U.S. is “of late…on the upswing,” according to America’s top intelligence official.“I have to be careful what I say here,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told students at the University of Georgia Monday. “First I’ll say that Pakistan is a very important ally, partner -- particularly as we draw down in Afghanistan and won’t have the presence there that we’ve had in the past, whatever form that takes…”“Many times our interests converge and sometimes they don’t,” Clapper said, adding that while thousands of Pakistani citizens have been killed or injured because of domestic militant actions, for the Pakistani government and its Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI), neighboring India is their greatest strategic concern.“When we can converge with our interests, particularly in the intelligence realm -- [I] can’t say too much about that publicly -- we do. Of late, particularly with the new government in Pakistan, I think that cooperation has been on the upswing,” he said.Michael Birmingham, spokesperson for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, declined to expand on his boss’s comments except to tell ABC News Clapper “was referring to the strong ongoing dialogue we have with Pakistan, including through our revitalized strategic dialogue, regarding all aspects of our bilateral relationship and shared interests, to include intelligence and security issues.”America has for years had a complex relationship with Pakistani security forces -- critical to U.S. counter-terrorism efforts -- which was crystallized by the extremely guarded stance the CIA took towards its counterpart, the ISI. American officials have accused the ISI of using terrorist groups in Pakistan to their own ends, even if it means targeting Americans.In September 2011, then-Joint Chief of Staff chairman Adm. Mike Mullen testified before Congress that the Haqqani network, a Taliban-linked group designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization, was a “veritable arm” of the ISI and that the Pakistani government was responsible for “exporting violence” to Afghanistan, including what he alleged to be an ISI-supported attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. The Pakistani government denied the charges.The relationship between the U.S. and Pakistani intelligence was already at its lowest after May 2011 when a team of U.S. Navy SEALs killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in his home in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he had lived for at least six years less than a mile from one of Pakistan’s most elite military academies. Immediately speculation ran rampant that Pakistan and the ISI must have known the terror leader was there.“I think that at high levels -- high levels being the intelligence service -- at high levels they knew it,” Sen. Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told ABC News’ Jon Karl just days after the raid. “I can’t prove it. I just think it’s counterintuitive not to.”Then-CIA Director Leon Panetta later told CBS News’ 60 Minutes in early 2012 that he “personally felt” that “somebody must have had some sense of what was happening at this compound.”Panetta also said the U.S. didn’t warn Pakistan about the raid ahead of time because the U.S. government feared “that if we, in fact, brought [Pakistan] into it, that they might… give bin Laden a heads-up.” Panetta said, however, that he had no proof of Pakistani collusion with bin Laden.The U.S. has never proved any Pakistani officials knew of bin Laden’s whereabouts, and sources previously said communications intercepted by American intelligence immediately after the raid indicated bin Laden’s presence had taken top Pakistani officials by surprise.Last year the Pakistani government accused its political and military leaders of “gross incompetence” in allowing bin Laden to evade capture for so long in Pakistan, according to a leaked copy of the Abbottabad Commission report as published by Al Jazeera, but did not accuse anyone of working with bin Laden.Still, documents concerning America’s top secret intelligence budget, leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Washington Post last year, indicated a deep distrust in Pakistan and showed that the U.S. repeatedly lumped its ally in with other “key [intelligence] targets” like Iran, Russia and North Korea.For its part, Pakistan for years has publicly condemned the CIA’s use of drone strikes within its borders. Ahead of a meeting with President Obama in October, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the issue of drone strikes had “become a major irritant in our bilateral relationship…”Later sitting with Sharif, Obama told reporters the two had “talked about security” and said they were “committed to working together and making sure that rather than this being a source of tension… that it can be a source of strength.”Birmingham declined to identify exactly to whom the intelligence director was referring Monday when he attributed the “upswing” in relations Pakistan’s “new government.” In March 2012 Pakistan appointed a new chief of intelligence, Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam, who between 2008 and 2010 held the position of deputy head of the ISI. In July 2013 Pakistan elected Mamnoon Hussain, a textiles magnate, as its newest president. Hussain took office in September.Pakistani media reported in February that CIA Director John Brennan made a secret visit to Pakistan and had met with top Pakistani military officials, reportedly including Islam. Pakistan’s The News noted that the meeting was the latest high-level interaction between Pakistani and U.S. officials in recent months, a development the paper said was a “positive change” signaling the “improving nature of the relationship between the two estranged allies…”While cautious not to overstate how much the situation has changed since 2011, other U.S. intelligence officials told ABC News they shared Clapper’s view of “improved relations.”Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

'Double Dealing': How Pakistan Fueled War in Afghanistan


Sion Touhig/Getty Images/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- What if the United States has been waging the wrong war against the wrong enemy for the last 13 years in Afghanistan?Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Carlotta Gall, who's spent more than a decade covering Afghanistan since 2001, concludes just that in her new book, The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014.Gall told the ABC News/Yahoo! News series On the Radar that Pakistan – not Afghanistan – has been the United States’ real enemy.“Instead of fighting a very grim and tough war which was very high in casualties on Afghans, as well as NATO and American soldiers, the problem wasn't in the Afghan villages,” Gall said. “The source of the problem, the radicalization, the sponsoring of the insurgency, was all happening in Pakistan.”Gall said she first had the realization that Pakistan was fueling the insurgency in Afghanistan “very soon” after the Sept. 11 attacks.“I went to Quetta and found Taliban resting up there and regrouping,” she said. “They had assistance, some of them talked about being forced and threatened and told to go in and fight the Americans…and when you're there, on the ground, seeing every bombing, the suicide bombing had started, the insurgency that grew, and you investigate where it's coming from, it kept leading back to Pakistan.”Gall said that Pakistan’s leaders, and especially former President Pervez Musharraf, were “very clever” and tricked the United States into believing that Pakistan was an ally.“I think the politicians, not all of them, but the diplomats…it took ages for them to understand that actually the persuasion wasn't working; the engagement wasn't bringing them on board; they were actually double dealing,” she said. “And now diplomats will tell you very plainly, ‘Yes, Musharraf was double dealing.’”Perhaps the biggest betrayal of all in the U.S.-Pakistani relationship, and one that came as no surprise to Gall, was the fact that Osama bin Laden found shelter in Abbottabad, Pakistan, for six years before he was killed in a Navy SEAL raid in 2011. And, according to Gall, Pakistan’s government was orchestrating his protection.“Pakistan did know,” Gall said, speaking about bin Laden’s location. “They were hiding him, they were handling him. Someone on the inside told me this. They had a special desk that knew where bin Laden was.“Not only that, but put him there, protected him, oversaw him, handled him in the terms of the secret intelligence services,” she added. “And it's all deniable, but I’m told the top bosses knew.”Despite the awareness of Pakistan’s “double dealing” today, Gall said that relations with Pakistan are no better now than in the past.“Our relations with Pakistan have gone back to the same thing, and the thing that concerns me is that Zawahiri is still out there, in Pakistan, I believe,” she said. “He is also probably being hidden the same way and protected.”For more of the interview with Gall, including her concerns for the future of Afghanistan as foreign military assistance is withdrawn, check out this episode of On the Radar.Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Glow-in-the-Dark Roads Light Up Dutch Highway


Studio Roosegaarde(NEW YORK) -- These glow-in-the-dark road markings aren’t just pretty — they save money and energy, too.These luminescent strips replaced streetlights on a 0.3-mile stretch of highway in the Netherlands, part of an experiment that might change the way roads are illuminated across the globe.The roads markings, which went into effect Sunday night, might even one day be able to include temperature-sensitive paint to warn drivers of the possibility of ice.The lights are charged up by the sun throughout the day and then last up to eight hours — long enough to get through most of or all the way through the night. But the real test is whether the paint can stand up to the wear and tear of constant traffic.Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

US Navy: Without New Leads, Search for MH370 to End Soon


(NEW YORK) --  Search teams looking for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 will abandon use of the U.S. Navy’s underwater black box locator in the next few days unless credible new signals are picked up from possible emergency beacons, a U.S. Navy captain said Saturday.“When the time is right, we’ll say ‘Yes, the beacons have probably stopped transmitting’ and it’s time to shift,” Capt. Mark Matthews told ABC News.That time, he said, is coming in a “few more days.”“As long as we have a chance to receive another signal from the beacon, we’re going to try. But eventually we’re going to shift to the autonomous underwater vehicle,” Matthews said.Matthews is in charge of the TPL-25 (the Towed Pinger Locator) and the Bluefin-21 underwater autonomous vehicle currently on board the Royal Australian Navy ship Ocean Shield. Last Saturday, the TPL-25 detected “pings” consistent with beacons attached to black boxes - aircraft flight data and cockpit voice recorders. Two more sets of pings were heard Tuesday.Later in the week, floating sonobuoys dropped from search aircraft also reported hearing signals underwater, but officials said they were unlikely to be coming from a black box beacon.No credible signals have been heard since, Matthews said. While acknowledging the pinger locator search will soon end without new leads, he said the team wants a few more days to try and narrow the underwater search area down from its current size of approximately 500 square miles. Ocean Shield, along with a British ship and submarine, is operating in deep-ocean waters about 1,400 miles northwest of Perth, Australia.The Bluefin-21 will pick up the search from the TPM-25 by using sonar to map the ocean floor for any sign of wreckage. It travels slower than the TPM-25 - up to about 5 mph - and scans about 12 square miles a day, Matthews said.“We’re not going to be convinced we’ve found the aircraft until we can actually take a look at a picture and say, ‘Yes, that is Malaysia 370,” he said.Matthews - who earlier in the week was “shocked” at the news that pings had been detected in such a massive search area - said the operation is actually making rapid progress.“It is abnormal for things to proceed as quickly as they have. Normally these things are done over months and months,” he said. “We are in a much better position than we could really hope for in one of these searches.”On Saturday, ten planes and 14 ships continued the search for debris on the surface of the Indian Ocean, an area of about 16,000 square miles.Ships recovered a small number of items from the water on Friday, officials said, but nothing appeared associated with the missing airliner.Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

A Soldier's 12-Hour Walk to Lebanon with an Injured Leg


iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BEIRUT, Lebanon) --  It took 25-year-old Usama, a former soldier with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) who had injured his leg in battle, 12 hours to travel from the Syrian village of Ain al-Hour to Lebanon's Beqaa Valley, where he sought medical care.Fighters routinely undergo the long, perilous foot journey to Lebanon's impoverished northern valley to seek medical care, which is cheaper and more accessible than what they might find in Syria.Usama's journey to the Bekaa field hospital where he was treated began in al-Zabadani, in rural Damascus, the city where he became an activist, then an FSA fighter.After a bomb destroyed his house, his family fled to the town of Serghaya. Usama chose to stay and defend his city. “Months passed before I got to see my family. So many checkpoints separated us," he says. "When my brother Tariq was released after six months in the government’s prisons, I found hope when I started to use his ID card at the checkpoints on my way to Serghaya. I was able to see my family that way for three months.”Finally, he says a government informant recognized him at a checkpoint while he was on his way to visit his family. He was arrested and held in the guards' leisure room. One day, he noticed that heavy traffic had distracted them and decided to escape. When he climbed the wall, an officer saw him and started shooting. “I fell off the wall and started running between the sand barricades towards the orchards. The officers sprayed the orchards with bullets. A bullet hit my foot at the ankle and exited from my toe. I bled for 10 hours,” he says.Looking for shelter, Usama found himself in the village of Ain al-Hour. He hid in the house of an old woman whose three children had been arrested by the government the year before. The woman treated his wounds, saving the leg. The next day, he left. Despite the injury, he says he walked for 12 hours before reaching the Beqaa through a road cutting through the border village of Maarboun (locally, it's called the "smuggling road"). Safely in Lebanon, he went to a field hospital that treats Syrians and stayed there a month, until the leg had healed.Usama was excited to go back to his city and to resume fighting with the FSA, and he took the same smuggling route back into Syria. On the way back, "I visited the old woman who welcomed me and the guys with me," he says. "She was very happy to see me and I felt like I was one of her own children."Shortly after his return, in January 2012, the siege on al-Zabadani began and Usama was unable to see his family. Months later, he finally saw them when they were able to visit al-Zabadani. Though the moderate opposition's stature on the battlefield has slipped as extremist groups consolidate their power, Usama still fights with the FSA and refuses to leave his city. “I will stay here to the very end, even if I have to pay my life as a price for that,” he says.Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio