World News

Report Finds Southern Italy Region Poorest in Eurozone


Frank Lombardi Jr/iStock/ThinkStock(ROME, Italy) -- A report by the Association for Industrial Development in southern Italy shows that the region south of Rome are the poorest in the Eurozone.Employment in southern Italy, long plagued by corruption and organized crime, is lower than in any country in the European Union, at just 40 percent.Economic growth has been far slower than even that of its troubled neighbor, Greece.What has saved the south from sinking the rest of country is strong productivity in Italy's northern regions.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

18-Month-Old Boy Burned to Death in West Bank Laid to Rest


Pawel Gaul/iStock/ThinkStock(JERUSALEM) -- It’s the tiniest grave in the village’s cemetery, just big enough for a bundle nearly two feet long.Eighteen-month-old Ali Dawabsheh burned to death after Jewish extremists attacked his family today in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Nablus. By Friday night, the Palestinian Justice Ministry autopsy report found soot inside the toddler’s body, confirming he was alive when he caught fire.Ali’s uncle, Wisam Dawabsheh told ABC News the attackers approached the village in the early hours of Friday and knocked on the windows of the Dawabsheh house. The attackers then hurled molotov cocktails inside, setting fire to the house. Before fleeing, the attackers left the word “Revenge” in Hebrew spray-painted on the house, a so-called “price tag” attack.Just hours after Ali’s death, villagers were handing out posters plastered with Ali’s face ahead of the funeral. The attack paralleled the killing of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir last July who was burned alive by Jewish extremists. Last year, protesters hit the streets following Abu Khdeir’s murder, chanting “Intifada! Intifada!” Friday, there were reports of light clashes throughout the West Bank but no widespread violence.Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah spoke to the funeral Friday, as hundreds of men sat under the midday heat, crying and praying as the tiny body was laid to rest. Ali’s 4-year-old brother, Ahmad and his parents, Saad, 32, and Riham, 27, remain in critical condition at a hospital in Israel.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Meet Earth's Closest Rocky Neighbor Outside the Solar System


NASA/JPL-Caltech(WASHINGTON) -- Earth's closest rocky neighbor outside of the solar system has been confirmed using NASA's Spitzer telescope. The alien rocky planet has been named HD 219134b and is 1.6 times the size of Earth, according to NASA. What makes this exoplanet special is it's 21 light-years away from Earth, while most other exoplanets that have been located are hundreds of light years away. In fact, it's so close that the star that the exoplanet orbits is visible to the naked eye, in the constellation Cassiopeia, NASA officials said. While the exoplanet was first discovered using the Italian Galileo National Telescope in the Canary Islands, Spitzer has taken infrared measurements, allowing scientists to learn more about the exoplanet's size and confirm its rocky terrain. The exoplanet is transiting in front of its star, making it an ideal body for scientists to study and a potential gold mine of scientific data, according to NASA scientists. "Transiting exoplanets are worth their weight in gold because they can be extensively characterized," Michael Werner, project scientist for the Spitzer mission, said in a statement on Thursday. "This exoplanet will be one of the most studied for decades to come." One thing scientists know they won't find though is alien life. According to NASA, the exoplanet rotates too close to its star, making it unable to sustain life.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Cecil the Lion: New Details Emerge into the Moments Before He Was Shot


Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The American dentist who acknowledged earlier this week that he shot Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe had “no idea” that he had killed a beloved and famous lion who was wearing a GPS tracking collar, according to the tour guide’s lawyer. Professional hunter and guide Theo Bronkhorst was with Dr. Walter Palmer when he killed the lion in a national park, which has garnered worldwide outrage. Bronkhorst’s lawyer shed new details about what the hunters say took place moments before the lion was killed. “It was a usual hunting trip. And according to my client, nothing was illegal about the hunt,” Givemore Muvhiringi told ABC News in a Skype interview. Muvhiringi said only after Palmer had killed Cecil did they realize this was a known lion who was wearing a GPS tracking collar. “My client did not realize this lion was a collared lion until it had been shot. So it wasn't his intention to kill such a famous lion,” he said. Palmer responded later Tuesday, saying in a statement that he "deeply" regretted the pursuit of the early July hunt in Zimbabwe that "resulted in the taking of this lion." He added that he "had no idea" Cecil the lion was a "known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study. I hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits. To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted." Pressure is mounting for Palmer to face some sort of justice. “A lot of people are angry, but I think at this stage, let's allow justice to take its course,” Muvhiringi added. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has opened its own investigation, but has so far been unable to reach Walter Palmer. Officials are asking Palmer to contact them immediately. The outrage over Cecil's death is now being heard loud and clear in Washington. A WhiteHouse. gov petition urging U.S. authorities to extradite Palmer has more than 100,000 signatures, which means the Obama administration will have to respond. Meanwhile in Zimbabwe, Oppah Muchinguri, the country’s environment, water and climate minister, said he is seeking to extradite Palmer. Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Man Describes Finding Piece That Could Unravel MH370 Mystery


YANNICK PITOU/AFP/Getty Images(PARIS) -- Johnny Begue and his friend were out looking for stones earlier this week on Reunion Island when he stumbled upon a piece of an airplane wing washed up on the sand."I asked my friend to come help pick it up. First we thought that we'd use it as a piece of decoration and then we thought because it's a piece of plane, we should probably call the police,” Begue, 46, told ABC News Friday.The piece was discovered on Wednesday by Begue and may be the first item anyone has seen of the doomed Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared in March 2014 with 293 people on board. Investigators are treating the airplane part, believed to be a "flaperon," as a major lead into the disappearance of the plane.Based on a part number that was visible in pictures, Boeing workers believe it came from a 777, the same type of plane as MH370, according to a U.S. official. MH370 is the only missing 777 jet in the world.Begue is still getting used to the significance of the find."I feel like maybe it's God that sent me, I was just looking for a stone and now I think maybe God sent me so that the people that have lost their loved ones can grieve properly," he said.In the wake of the discovery, a tattered piece of luggage was also found on the same beach.The origin of the piece of luggage has not been determined, but it was seized by local police for examination.French officials said the plane part will arrive over the weekend in Toulouse, where it will undergo analysis next week.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Arson Attack in West Bank Kills Palestinian Toddler, Injures Four


iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) -- An arson attack in the West Bank killed a Palestinian toddler and injured four other family members on Friday.The Israel Defense Forces said two houses near the Palestinian city of Nablus were set ablaze and sprayed painted with words in Hebrew. The perpetrators are believed to have entered the village early Friday morning. The Israeli military is hunting them down."This attack against civilians is nothing short of a barbaric act of terrorism," Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said in a statement. "A comprehensive investigation is underway in order to find the terrorists and bring them to justice.""The IDF strongly condemns this deplorable attack and has heightened its efforts in the field to locate those responsible,” Lerner added.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also condemned the attack, calling it an "act of terrorism" and a "reprehensible and horrific act.""The State of Israel takes a strong line against terrorism regardless of who the perpetrators are. I have ordered the security forces to use all means at their disposal to apprehend the murderers and bring them to justice forthwith," Netanyahu said in a statement.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Taliban Names Mullah Omar's Successor


iStock/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- A day after confirming the death of its leader, Mullah Omar, the Taliban has named his successor.Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor will serve as the group's new leader, the Taliban confirmed in a statement Friday. He was appointed by senior religious leaders and Taliban council. The group also appointed Sirajuddin Haqani and Mawlavi Haibatullah, a senior judge for the Taliban, as deputies.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US Intel Assessment Suggested that MH370 Taken Off Course: Source


YANNICK PITOU/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- U.S. intelligence agencies put together an assessment in the wake of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 indicating that the plane was deliberately taken off course, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.The assessment -- made months ago and concerning what most likely happened to the plane, which disappeared in March 2014 -- also said that the Boeing 777 was potentially deliberately downed, the source said.However, according to the source, the assessment "doesn't matter" and was built on information that intelligence officials could glean about the foreign investigation into the disappearance.Those foreign investigators "are the ones who ultimately will make the conclusion" of what happened to MH370.The revelation comes as investigators were trying to piece together whether an airplane part that washed up on the shore of Reunion Island came from the doomed flight.Based on a part number that was visible in pictures, Boeing workers believe it came from a 777, the same type of plane as MH370, according to a U.S. official.In the wake of the discovery, a worker found a tattered piece of luggage on the same beach.The origin of the piece of luggage has not been determined, but it was seized by local police for examination.Investigators were treating the airplane part, believed to be a "flaperon," as a major lead into the disappearance of the plane.Flaperons help to stabilize the plane, especially at low speeds such as takeoff and landing."If this wreckage [is] from MH370, it's an important breakthrough, particularly for families," said Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss. "The families who have been involved with this long, long, long, long wait, for them to have some degree of closure would be great comfort."Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

MH370 Probe: Recovered Airplane Part May Hold Clues About How Jet Went Down, Exp


(NEW YORK) -- The type of damage sustained by a piece of airplane debris that washed ashore on an island near Madagascar suggests that the plane likely did not suffer a high-speed, nose-down impact, one expert tells ABC News.The debris, which engineers believe probably came from a Boeing 777, has sparked renewed speculation about the plight of MH370, a Boeing 777 that vanished on the way to Beijing in March 2014.Authorities, who have not yet said definitively whether the debris comes from the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines jet, are nevertheless treating the piece of debris as a major lead in the case.Based on preliminary observations, Former NTSB Aviation Safety Director Tom Haueter says the part –- identified by Malaysia Airlines as a “flaperon,” a wing component used for balance –- appears to have a pristine leading edge. The rear section, called the trailing edge, appears to be missing.“To me, it indicates that it was not a high speed, high angle impact, because if that had happened, the leading edge would be crushed,” Haueter, an ABC News contributor, said. “What I don’t see is a severe nose down impact.”The condition of the debris suggests the flaps were down at the time of the crash, possibly indicating that “somebody's controlling the aircraft,” when it hit the water, said Haueter.“The airplane wouldn’t have done that on its own,” he added. But if “you’re trying to land or ditch the airplane – you’d have the flaps folded down.”Authorities are transporting the recovered debris to France for further examination.Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappeared on March 8, 2014 with 239 passengers on board, all of whom are presumed dead. Investigators have spent the last year and a half combing the Indian Ocean for the wreckage.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mexico City Bans Cages, Restraints at Facilities for People With Disabilities


ABC News traveled to Mexico City, Mexico, with Disability Rights International recently as the advocacy group investigated the conditions of state-funded facilities where children, some of them with disabilities, are left to grow up. ABC News(MEXICO CITY) -- A Mexico City official said the city would ban the use of restraints and cages on children under its care and work to get many into homes, after a Disability Rights International and ABC News joint investigation uncovered youth, some with disabilities, living in deplorable conditions in government-funded facilities."Effective immediately Mexico City will ban the use of restraints and cages," said Secretary Jose Ramon Amieva of the Ministry for Social Development.Though the streets of Mexico City teem with signs of the country's growing wealth — the total net worth of Mexico's billionaires is now more than $144 billion, according to Forbes — in the shadows, children can be found alone and neglected behind locked doors and windows.On July 22, advocacy group Disability Rights International, which has worked in Mexico for more than 20 years, released a report — "No Justice: Torture, Trafficking and Segregation in Mexico" — detailing its findings after a yearlong focus on the children, some with disabilities, growing up in state institutions.In its report, Disability Rights International also said that it had obtained a so-called "black list" — dated November 2013 and created by the Mexican government — of 25 facilities where children continued to be left permanently, despite the Mexican government's declaring those sites abusive or in very bad condition.One such facility that ABC News visited along with Disability Rights International recently featured a maze of locked doors. Padlocks on every door and every window. The children that lived there were of varying ages. Some had disabilities, some were dropped off by the government and others had been released from detention centers.Disability Rights International said that even though the Mexican government had placed the facility on its black list, the government's funding had kept the building going. Priscila Rodriguez of Disability Rights International said the public was not aware of this list."It's horrible," Rodriguez said about the children's living conditions at another site. "This is a terrifying place."At a different facility, advocates like nurse Karen Green McGowan found children with disabilities and of different ages locked up in rows and rows of cages."They don't know what they're doing," Green McGowan told ABC News. "They don't have a lot of other tools."The directors of the sites, however, told ABC News that the child residents had a good quality of life, that they were clean and fed and that they had a place to live."The government is totally abandoning these children" said Eric Rosenthal, the founder of Disability Rights International. "It is total abandonment. Mexico is falling short. These are fundamental human rights violations."Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Man Arrested After Six Stabbed at Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade


THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Police arrested a man on Thursday accused of stabbing six people at the Jerusalem Gay Pride parade.A police spokesperson identified the suspect as Yishai Schlissel, an ultra-Orthodox Jew who was sentenced to 12 years in prison after stabbing three people at the same parade in 2005. Schlissel was released from prison just three weeks ago.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the attack "a despicable hate crime.""Everyone, including the gay community, has the right to live in peace, and we will defend that right," Netanyahu said in a statement. "I call on all those in positions of leadership to denounce this contemptible act."Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Blue Moon: What Makes Friday's Moon So Special


somchaisom/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- There's a reason why "once in a blue moon" is a saying and the night sky on Friday will prove it.A blue moon is defined as any time there is a second full moon during a calendar month, according to NASA. While most years have 12 full moons, this year has 13.Don't let the name fool you, though. Blue moons are very rarely blue. Most are pale gray and white, resembling a moon on any other night.A truly blue colored moon can occur on rare occasions, according to NASA, with most being spotted after volcanic eruptions. It's also possible Friday's moon could appear red."Often, when the Moon is hanging low, it looks red for the same reason that sunsets are red, NASA explains. "The atmosphere is full of aerosols much smaller than the ones injected by volcanoes. These aerosols scatter blue light, while leaving the red behind."Step outside at sunset on July 31 to check out the blue moon, then if you're so inclined, go ahead and celebrate by doing something you only do "once in a blue moon." You do have an excuse, after all.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US Officials Want Dentist Who Admitted to Killing Cecil the Lion to Contact Them


Adam Bettcher/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Walter Palmer, the American dentist who recently admitted to killing Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, is now being sought by U.S. officials who want him to contact them "immediately.""The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is investigating the circumstances surrounding the killing of 'Cecil the lion,'" the agency told ABC News in a statement Thursday. "At this point in time, however, multiple efforts to contact Dr. Walter Palmer have been unsuccessful. We ask that Dr. Palmer or his representative contact us immediately."The agency previously said on Wednesday that agency officials were "deeply concerned" about Cecil's killing and that they were "currently gathering facts about the issue and will assist Zimbabwe officials in whatever manner requested."Palmer's whereabouts were unknown as of Thursday morning, and he has also been suspended from a prominent international hunting club.Safari Club International, an organization formed to protect hunters' rights and promote wildlife conservation, announced Wednesday that it "has imposed immediate emergency suspensions of both the involved hunter and his guide/professional hunter" pending the outcome of a "full and thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the death of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe."SCI added that it "condemns unlawful and unethical hunting practices" and that it "believes that those who intentionally take wildlife illegally should be prosecuted and punished to the maximum extent allowed by the law."A professional hunter named Theo Bronkhorst, who acted as a guide during Palmer's hunt, and a landowner named Honest Trymore Ndlovu are facing criminal poaching charges in connection with Cecil's death and appeared in court on Wednesday, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management authority said in a joint statement along with the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe on Tuesday.Bronkhurst "was released on one thousand United States dollar bail he was asked to surrender his passport and to report three times a week to hillside police station and not to interfere with witnesses," Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority's spokeswoman Caroline Washaya told ABC News Thursday.Protesters were at Palmer's dental practice in Bloomington, Minnesota, near Minneapolis, on Wednesday afternoon, where a growing memorial of stuffed animals could be found on the closed office's doorsteps.Palmer sent out a letter to his patients Tuesday evening explaining his involvement in the killing of Cecil the lion. He said he was in Zimbabwe during early July on a bow hunting trip for big game and that he "hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits."He continued, "To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted. I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt. I have not been contacted by authorities in Zimbabwe or in the U.S. about this situation, but will assist them in any inquiries they may have.""Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion," he added. "That was never my intention."But many were not satisfied with Palmer's apology and protesters descended upon on the Minnesota dentist by flooding his social media, creating online petitions and mocking him on parody accounts."Five Stars at being a miserable excuse of a human being," a user by the name of Thomas D. wrote on the Yelp page of Palmer's dental practice. "You are not a hunter but a coward!"Palmer did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for additional comment, and his dental practice remained closed Thursday morning. Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

MH370 Search: A Look at the Plane Part That Was Found


(NEW YORK) — What appears to be a part of a Boeing 777 recovered on an island near Madagascar has sparked renewed interest in the ongoing MH370 investigation.What exactly is the piece that was found? Malaysia Airlines referred to the airplane component as a “flaperon.”"At the moment, it would be too premature to speculate on the origin of the flaperon," the airline said in a statement.While experts investigate whether the part could be connected to the abrupt disappearance of Malaysia Air Flight 370 in March 2014, the rest of us are wondering: What is a flaperon?Located on the rear edge of the wing, the flaperon is a wing segment that helps stabilize the plane, particularly when it’s flying at low speeds (like during takeoff and landing).It’s a mix of two other components -- a flap and an aileron (another part used to maintain balance) -- and can be controlled by the pilot through a computer.“A flaperon is part of the flap structure of the aircraft along the trailing edge, but unlike a traditional flap which does not move up or down except when being extended or retracted, a flaperon at certain speeds becomes part of the flight controls and deflects up and down with the ailerons,” said ABC News aviation consultant John Nance.“As the speed increases and the flaps are retracted the flaperons disappear inside the back of the wing and all the lateral control is achieved,” he said. Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Google Internet Balloons Bring Universal Internet Access to Sri Lanka


A photo from Project Loon by Google. (Project Loon/Google+)(NEW YORK) — Sri Lanka is set to become the first country with universal Internet access after the island nation signed on to use Google's stratospheric internet beaming balloons to cover the country.A memorandum of understanding has been signed between Google and Sri Lanka's government, but does not give a timetable for when the balloons will be covering the 25,000 square mile nation.However, it's a crucial first step for the implementation of Google's Project Loon, officials said.An estimated 1 in 4 people are online in Sri Lanka. While the balloons will one day cover the entire country, the universal Internet won't be a free for all.Google's next step is to work in tandem with Internet service providers in Sri Lanka, allowing them to use the balloons as "floating cell towers," Harsha de Silva, a minister in Sri Lanka’s finance department, said in a Facebook post.He said the plan "will certainly provide a huge boost to our game plan to create a knowledge based highly competitive social market economy that will help every household achieve their own dreams."The Project Loon balloons can float through the stratosphere, the area on the edge of the atmosphere, for more than one hundred days. While they'll solve the problem of access, the balloons will deliver Internet at 3G speeds, making it fine for getting online but difficult for high bandwidth activities.A control center will help guide each balloon to an area to ensure Google's fleet is providing the best coverage where Internet is needed, while an operations team will be dispatched to collect the balloons when they land.The project first began tests in New Zealand in 2013.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

MH370 Probe: Tattered Suitcase Recovered Near Wreckage


(NEW YORK) -- Just hours after a recovering what appeared to be part of a Boeing 777 -- debris investigators believe could be connected to the MH370 investigation -- a worker stumbled upon what looked to be a tattered piece of luggage on the same beach.Johny Bègue, credited with spotting the airplane debris in the water, recovered the apparent suitcase on the coast of La Reunión Island, an French isle near Madagascar, around 11:30 a.m. local time Wednesday.There is no indication, however, that the luggage is linked to the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board.Experts tell ABC News the recovery of floating debris is unlikely to lead investigators to the submerged wreckage.“It has spent a year drifting thousands of miles from where the actual impact was,” said ABC aviation consultant Steve Ganyard. “It probably isn’t going to help us find where the airplane is on the bottom of the ocean.”But according to Australian authorities leading the search for the missing plane, if the airplane debris recovered on La Reunión island is indeed linked with MH370, “it would be consistent with other analysis and modelling that the resting place of the aircraft is in the southern Indian Ocean.”Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hunting Club Suspends Dentist Who Admitted to Killing Cecil the Lion


Obtained by ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Walter Palmer, the American dentist who recently admitted to killing Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, has been suspended from a prominent international hunting club.Safari Club International, an organization formed to protect hunters' rights and promote wildlife conservation, announced Wednesday that it "has imposed immediate emergency suspensions of both the involved hunter and his guide/professional hunter" pending the outcome of a "full and thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the death of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe."SCI added that it "condemns unlawful and unethical hunting practices" and that it "believes that those who intentionally take wildlife illegally should be prosecuted and punished to the maximum extent allowed by the law."Palmer said in his Tuesday statement that he had "not been contacted by authorities in Zimbabwe or in the U.S. about this situation."A professional hunter named Theo Bronkhorst, who acted as a guide during Palmer's hunt, and a landowner named Honest Trymore Ndlovu are facing criminal poaching charges in connection with Cecil's death and appeared in court on Wednesday, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management authority said in a joint statement along with the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe on Tuesday.Protesters were at Palmer's dental practice in Bloomington, Minnesota, near Minneapolis, on Wednesday afternoon, where a growing memorial of stuffed animals could be found on the closed office's doorsteps.Palmer sent out a letter to his patients Tuesday evening explaining his involvement in the killing of Cecil the lion. He said he was in Zimbabwe during early July on a bow hunting trip for big game and that he "hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits."He continued, "To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted. I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt. I have not been contacted by authorities in Zimbabwe or in the U.S. about this situation, but will assist them in any inquiries they may have.""Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion," he added. "That was never my intention."But many were not satisfied with Palmer's apology and protesters descended upon on the Minnesota dentist by flooding his social media, creating online petitions and mocking him on parody accounts."Five Stars at being a miserable excuse of a human being," a user by the name of Thomas D. wrote on the Yelp page of Palmer's dental practice. "You are not a hunter but a coward!"Palmer did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for additional comment, and his dental practice remained closed Thursday morning.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Plagues of Locusts Darken Skies, Threaten Crops in Southern Russia


moodboard/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- Plagues of locusts are swarming large areas of southern Russia, threatening thousands of acres of crops and in some places darkening the skies.A video shot by a local man in Achikulak, a village in the Stavropol region, shows thousands of the bugs swarming towards a church. Other videos, screened by local TV channels, showed clouds of locusts flying overhead.“It was very frightening,” Lubov Timusi, a local woman who lives in Achikulak, told ABC News. “Some were as big as your finger! They came like a clouds.”The waves of locusts began around July 20, according to Stavropol’s regional agricultural ministry. Vasilii Yegorov, a deputy agricultural minister, told ABC News that locusts appear in the region every year but normally they are able to exterminate them before they hatch.This year though, Yegorov said, locusts had migrated from neighboring Russian regions, meaning authorities were unable to halt them easily, threatening what is one of Russia’s major farming areas.Swarms have been reported across many other southern regions, particularly in Chechnya. Because of the locusts, a state of emergency has been declared in three regions near Stavropol, according to local media. In Stavropol alone, efforts to kill the insects have stretched across more than 350 miles, according to officials.Yegorov said Stavropol authorities currently had the infestation under control and were spraying pesticide every day.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Malaysia Airlines 370 Searchers Treating Debris as Major Lead


YANNICK PITOU/AFP/Getty Images(CANBERRA, Australia) -- Investigators are treating a piece of airplane debris that washed ashore on a small French island near Madagascar as a major lead in the search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370, the Australian deputy prime minister said on Thursday.Warren Truss called finding the flaperon on Reunion Island Wednesday morning the first real evidence that a piece of the plane had been discovered. MH370 vanished on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board, all of whom are presumed dead."If it entered the Indian Ocean in the place where a current search operations are being undertaken, [it] could have reached the Reunion Islands in the 16 months since," he said. "It's the first real evidence that there is a possibility that a part of the aircraft may have been found."Truss said marine researchers have been asked to examine the photographs of the debris to assess whether barnacles seen on the flaperon are consistent with something that was floating in the ocean for more than a year."Clearly, we are treating this as a major lead," he said.While identifying the debris as part of the missing plane won't make it easier to find, Truss said it would help put some of the theories about the flight to bed."There are a lot of very wild theories that have been around, including it landed in Russia," he said. "It won't positively prove it is in any other location other than I guess the Indian Ocean."The debris appeared to be from the same plane as MH370, a Boeing 777, a source familiar with the investigation told ABC News.While Truss didn't specify how French and Malaysian officials would analyze the debris, former National Transportation Safety Board aviation safety official and current ABC News consultant Tom Haueter said investigators would likely try to match serial numbers with those on MH370."If it is a 777 part, it’s most likely from MH370," he said.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

California Boy Training to Climb Mount Everest


Wassiliy/iStock/ThinkStock(LOS ANGELES) -- A Southern California boy who has already reached the peaks of some of the world's tallest mountains is training to become the youngest climber ever to reach the top of Mount Everest.Tyler Armstrong is already a record climber. He reached the summit of Mount Whitney at the age of seven and scaled Argentina's tallest mountain at nine.The 11-year-old is training for Everest while raising money to find a cure for Duchenne, a crippling muscle disease affecting 300,000 boys.For Tyler's father, safety is first. They'll train in Russia this year.If Tyler summits Everest next spring at age 12, he'll beat the current record held by a 13-year-old.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Russia Blocks UN Security Council Vote on MH17 Tribunal


igmarx/iStock Editorial/ThinkStock(MOSCOW) -- Russia has vetoed a United Nations resolution to create an international criminal tribunal that would prosecute those responsible for the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight 17.Samantha Power, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations tweeted following the veto, "Russia just vetoed Malaysian-introduced UNSC resolution to create UN tribunal to hold accountable those responsible for the downing of #MH17".The plane was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board.  Russia stood alone in voting against the tribunal at the UN Security Council, saying it was premature.Many believe Moscow really blocked it because a tribunal will prove that pro-Russian rebels it supports were to blame for the disaster.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.