LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said Wednesday that his group has been in touch with lawyers for Edward Snowden, the man who says he’s behind the National Security Agency leaks.“We are in touch with Mr. Snowden’s legal team and have been, are involved, in the process of brokering his asylum in Iceland,” Assange said on a conference call with reporters marking his one year since entering the Ecuadoran embassy in London seeking asylum.Assange said he feels a, “great deal of personal sympathy” with Snowden, but would not comment if he has spoken to Snowden directly or if they were in contact before Snowden leaked news to The Guardian and The Washington Post that detailed secret, far-reaching NSA Internet and phone surveillance programs that have been expanded and defended by the Obama administration.“As a matter of policy, we do not discuss issues which may relate to sourcing,” Assange told reporters.Snowden is believed to be in Hong Kong but has said he wants to go to Iceland as a place of refuge. Assange was asked if he thought Snowden could travel to Iceland without being stopped by the U.S. government or the United States’ allies and Assange answered, “All those issues are being looked at by the people involved.”He also called on President Obama to “do the right thing” and, “immediately drop the immoral investigation against Wikileaks.”He noted that it could be the reporter who broke the NSA story, Glenn Greenwald, or filmmaker Laura Poitras who may be seeking asylum one year from now.“The revelations of Edward Snowden this week lead us to ask the question … is the United States the type of country from which journalists must seek asylum for in relation to their work?” Assange asked.Assange was joined on the call with prominent whistleblowers Daniel Ellsberg, who released the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times in 1971, and Thomas Drake, a former NSA official who faced felony charges over leaks to the Baltimore Sun that revealed alleged mismanaged programs at the NSA.Ellsberg said the “idea” that information garnered from NSA surveillance “will not be abused” and not used for anything besides “catching terrorists is childish.”Ellsberg also criticized the Obama administration, noting that the Bush administration may have started the NSA surveillance efforts, but Obama continued the surveillance and, instead of dismantling it, solidified the effort.“When [NSA surveillance] was finally exposed after four years of totally criminal unconstitutional behavior under George W. Bush, Obama’s effort … was to legalize that process, not to end it or rein it in,” Ellsberg said.Ellsberg, Drake and Assange said the prosecution of Bradley Manning and the “attack” on the press has put a chill on national security reporting, but Ellsberg said Snowden’s leaks could inspire other leakers to “take the chance.”“This is our last chance, I think, to keep our press and thus our democracy from becoming like China’s or the Soviet Union,” Ellsberg said.Drake, who eventually pleaded guilty to a a single misdemeanor in 2011, was equally critical, saying, “We’re all foreigners now.”“What we’ve seen over the last 12 years is going over to the dark side of secret rules, secret law, secret courts and secret evidence,” Drake said.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Comstock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- It will likely be the most anticipated, most-reported birth of the year.Sometime around mid-July, the Duchess of Cambridge -- formerly known as Kate Middleton -- will give birth to a baby that will be the future king or queen of England.The duchess made her final solo engagement last week in Southampton. Her final public appearance will be this Sunday.Royal sources tell ABC News that plans are now in place for the royal birth. The baby is likely to be born at St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, in London. That’s the same hospital where Princess Diana gave birth to Prince William and Prince Harry.Sources tell ABC News the palace is being extremely careful in planning media coverage of the birth. The first announcement will only come after Kate has been admitted to the hospital in an early stage of labor. The palace wants to avoid media catching her being admitted while having contractions.This will be followed by a second announcement: the birth. According to royal protocol, the public will only learn of the birth after the Queen and the Middletons have been informed.The birth announcement will be signed on official Buckingham Palace note paper and -- with cameras rolling -- it will be driven to the palace where a liveried footman will put it on an easel (the one last used when Prince William was born) in the palace forecourt.It will include sex, weight and time of birth. There may also be a few additional literary flourishes. When William was born, for example, the announcement included the words “he has blue eyes and cried lustily.”As for the name of the baby, it will be announced when the parents decide. Since royal babies have a long string of names, royal watchers are guessing a boy would have the names Charles and Philip and a girl would have the names Elizabeth and Diana.The Duke and Duchess do not know the sex of their baby -- they chose not to ask.Traditionally in England a girl takes the throne only if she does not have brothers. It is called the rule of primogeniture and it dates back to the 1700s. But the 16 nations of the British Commonwealth have already agreed to amend those rules in a nod to changing times and changing attitudes.That means that the baby -- boy or girl -- will be third in line to the throne.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Stocktrek Images/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Four U.S. soldiers were killed overnight in what a U.S. official called an “indirect fire” attack at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying in a statement that insurgents fired two mortars into Bagram. It was not immediately clear how many people were injured.The attack came just hours after Taliban officials said they were prepared to sit down for direct peace talks with Afghan and U.S. officials over the future of Afghanistan, and Afghan security forces officially took the security lead from the U.S.-led NATO coalition.“We can confirm four International Security Assistance Force service members died following an indirect fire attack in eastern Afghanistan today,” NATO confirmed in a short statement.“It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities,” the release said.Just hours after the Taliban opened a new office in Qatar, supposedly to help kickstart the peace process, Afghan President Hamid Karzai abruptly called off all negotiations with the United States -- and with the Taliban -- on any long term peace deals.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- There's been a big setback to establishing peace in war-torn Afghanistan.A day after the Taliban opened a new office in Qatar, supposedly to help kickstart the peace process, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has abruptly called off all negotiations with the United States -- and with the Taliban -- on any long term peace deals.In a statement Wednesday, Karzai’s office said, "In view of the contradiction between acts and the statements made by the United States of America in regard to the Peace Process, the Afghan government suspended the negotiations, currently underway in Kabul between Afghan and US delegations on the Bilateral Security Agreement."Karzai's spokesperson wouldn't comment on why the negotiations have been suspended, but there's widespread speculation that it has to do with the Taliban's new office.A recent online video shows the Taliban raising their national flag inside their office, something many of Karzai's supporters consider an insult, saying they should be raising the Afghan national flag instead.Karzai is demanding the Taliban renounce all violence and negotiate directly with his hand-picked High Peace Council, but the militants are set to negotiate -- for the first time since the war began in 2001 -- directly with the United States.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The two-day G-8 Summit in Northern Ireland ended Tuesday with a whisper, not a bang.In the final communiqué, the U.S. and its allies issued a general message on reviving the global economy saying, "Promoting growth and jobs is our top priority."However, President Obama and his counterparts disagree on Europe's approach, which is through continued spending cuts, while the U.S. contends that stimulus measures are needed to get the continent out of its long recession.There was also scant movement about how to handle the ongoing conflict in Syria, which turned out to be the dominant topic of discussion.All agreed that a peace conference in Geneva being arranged by Washington and Moscow is the best course of action but the talks, which were supposed to have been underway by this time, might not occur until August or September.Furthermore, the influence of Russian President Vladimir Putin was in evidence as there was nothing in the communiqué about getting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad out of the picture so that the country can move toward a transitional government.Putin is at odds with the West and isn't ready to abandon al-Assad, who remains intent on achieving a military victory over rebel forces after 27 months of war and more than 80,000 deaths.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggested Tuesday that there's finally a light at the end of the tunnel in the West's standoff with Iran over its rogue nuclear program.According to the Russian official, if the United Nations eases its sanctions against Tehran, the Iranian government would be willing to stop uranium enrichment to a fissile concentration of 20 percent, a step that would presumably slow its alleged development of nuclear weapons.In a statement, Lavrov said, "The international community should react to Iran's constructive steps by similar measures [such as the] gradual halt of sanctions and scrapping them, including the curbs of unilateral basis or those approved by the Security Council."The foreign minister also encouraged the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, otherwise known as the P5+1, to resume negotiations with Iran about it nuclear ambitions.Lavrov's announcement comes just days after Hassan Rouhani was elected Iran's new president. While indicating that his government would be more transparent about its nuclear program, Rouhani was adamant about not suspending uranium enrichment.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- A Shiite mosque in Baghdad was targeted by militants on Tuesday, leaving 29 people dead and dozens more wounded.According to Iraqi officials, it was a coordinated suicide bombing designed to kill as many people as possible.Witnesses said the first assailant detonated his explosives at a checkpoint in Baghdad's middle-class al-Qahira district.When police rushed to the scene, a second bomber blew himself up inside the mosque itself where worshippers were performing midday prayers.There was no claim of responsibility for the assault although suspicion fell on Iraq's main al Qaeda group, which is trying to restart sectarian warfare between Shiites and Sunnis.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Matt Cardy/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Prince William and Kate Middleton are expecting their first child in July and a report by the Centre for Retail Research in Nottingham, England, predicts that the national economy could gain as much as $380 million because of the birth.Joshua Bamfield, the center's director, says, "This is a good news story and there really is no downside. With the birth coming in July, people will have time to get involved, and that means additional spending."Breaking it down by the numbers, Bamfield says the various festivities surrounding the arrival of William and Kate's baby, which include alcohol sales, could fetch $136 million alone. Souvenirs and toys could bring in another $125 million, while Brits and visitors are also expected to spend another $119 million on books, DVDs and media.One item that's expected to fly off shelves: a pair of Union Jack leather booties for about $35 at the estate of future grandpa Prince Charles in Gloucestershire.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State John Kerry announced Tuesday that former Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., will be the Obama administration’s new special envoy to deal with conflict-ridden Central Africa, which covers the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and the rebel groups of M23 (operates in Democratic Republic of Congo) and the Lord's Resistance Army (Uganda and South Sudan). Feingold was pleased to accept the appointment. He was very active concerning African issues during his years in the Senate, serving as chair of the Africa sub-committee on the Senate Foreign Relations committee. "It is an honor to join my friend, Secretary of State John Kerry, at the Department of State to focus on an important region of the world we both care about so deeply. Secretary Kerry and I worked well together for 18 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and I am so pleased to continue that productive working relationship," Feingold said Tuesday.“It is a great responsibility to take on the role of United States Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa, as the people in the region have arrived at a time of significant opportunity for peace. The appointment of Mary Robinson as the UN Special Envoy to the Great Lakes, and the signing of the February 2013 Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework, have brought a renewed focus to the causes of instability in the region, and created an historic opportunity for this important, but challenged, region of Africa," he added.Kerry is made the announcement about Feingold's appointment Tuesday as a sign of how seriously the Obama administration continues to take the ongoing conflict in Africa, which is responsible for the deaths of over 5 million people since 1998.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Scott Olson/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is celebrating two important birthdays this week.Last Friday, the mayor and his youngest daughter, Leah, embarked on a week-long commemorative trip to Israel to celebrate her bat mitzvah.Going on a trip with each of his children is "a family tradition," Sarah Hamilton, a spokeswoman for the mayor, told ABC News.Unlike Emanuel’s past commemorative trips with son Zach and daughter Ilana, this year the family tradition coincides with another celebration – the Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem.This week, Emanuel will join a bevy of political heavyweights to discuss global leadership and to celebrate the 90th birthday of Israeli President Shimon Peres.Other attendees include former President Clinton, former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Obama adviser David Axelrod. President Obama is also scheduled to make an appearance via video stream.According to Hamilton, on Wednesday Emanuel joins Blair, Gorbachev and Peres in a panel discussion about executive leadership. The conference agenda describes the event as a look into each leader’s experience navigating a “demanding arena that is full of dangers [and] political difficulties.”The conference kicks off Tuesday night with an invitation-only reception in honor of Peres’ birthday, and will include appearances by Barbra Streisand, Sharon Stone and Robert De Niro.Hamilton couldn’t say whether Leah Emanuel would be attending the reception with her father.“He doesn’t talk about his kids publicly,” she said. “The trip is for them to learn more about their family’s history.”The mayor is set to return to Chicago on June 23.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- On Saturday, thousands of Brazilian fans at the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha booed and heckled FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Brazilian president Dilma Roussef during the opening ceremony of the Confederations Cup. Although that response has become fairly common at events that involve Blatter, the jeering seemed unexpected in the case of Dilma Roussef, who has been a popular figure for years.
Few analysts found it odd, however. Indeed, even Roussef herself expected trouble. That's because for more than a week now thousands of protestors in Brazil have fought violent battles against riot police. The demonstrations, started in Sao Paulo by a political group called the Movimento Passe Livre (Free Fare Movement), have spread across at least five cities. And the group's initial objective -- to revert a recent hike in public transportation prices -- has given leftist organizations and university students a reason to shine a light on larger social issues like corruption. This broader movement has been alternately dubbed the Revolta da Salada (The Salad Revolution), the Revolta do Vinagre (The Vinegar Revolution), and V for Vinagre, after a Brazilian journalist who was arrested for carrying vinegar to ward off the effects of tear gas used during protests. So what exactly was the final straw? There wasn't just one. Here are five key reasons that led to the revolt: 1. Public Transportation PricesThe recent 10-cent increase in bus and subway fare has been cited in most news accounts as the leading motive behind the week's brutal clashes. 2. The Combined Costs of the World Cup and the Confederations Cup Demonstrators have started targeting soccer stadiums in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro as part of an effort to raise awareness about the extraordinary amounts of money the government has on 12 stadiums to host the World Cup and the Confederations Cup. Taxpayers are footing the bill in spite of promises that private enterprise would cover it. The total cost of the buildings has tripled since the initial 2007 estimates. It currently stands at around $3.68 billion, nearly twice what Germany spent on their World Cup preparations. Demonstrators point out that no one is quite sure about what will happen with the stadiums once the competitions are over. 3. Police Brutality As most Latin Americans know, violence, or the threat of violence, hardly prevents further protests. In fact, police brutality is often viewed as a valid reason to protest more. Certainly, the Brazil demonstrations have been rife with the kind of incidents that encourage indignation. Hundreds of protesters have been arrested, and more than 55 were wounded just last Thursday in Sao Paulo. Brazil's defense minister has acknowledged that the police have acted "arbitrarily and violently," and there are countless YouTube videos that show officers in riot gear using tear gas and rubber bullets against peaceful demonstrators. Protesters have vowed to increase rallies in response to this. 4. Corruption Brazil is ranked 69 out of 176 in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index. Though that is relatively good when compared with the rest of Latin America, Brazil still has significant corruption problems, as demonstrated by the recent shooting of a newspaper director in a town outside of Rio. There have also been massive scandals involving prominent businessmen and influential government employees (Lula's chief of staff, for instance). More worrying is that politicians have considerable discretionary spending benefits when they are elected. Elected officials can spend thousands of dollars on airline tickets, housing expenses and several other perks. 5. The EconomyIn effect, it all arguably boils down to Brazil's recent economic slowdown. In the past year, inflation has steadily climbed to 6.5 percent, affecting mostly poor families. More than the slow growth in income, poor families also lack decent access to education and employment, according to the Brazilian government's Family Development Index. Brazil's economy grew 1.9 percent in this year's first quarter, 0.5 percent below last year's predictions. The government raised the minimum wage by nearly 9 percent this year, but the price of transportation and other basic services remain disproportionately high. All of these factors have contributed to Dilma Roussef's first popularity debacle. Her approval ratings have fallen for the first time since she took office, and the booing during her stadium visit stadium shows just how fed up people are. Economic turmoil coupled with social unrest tends to breed more social disturbances, and Brazilian authorities will continue to be faced with a massive challenge as the World Cup puts a spotlight on more than this country's hosting efforts.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Marking a major milestone in the 12-year war, Taliban officials announced on Tuesday that they are prepared to sit down for direct peace talks with Afghan and U.S. officials over the future of Afghanistan. The news comes as Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced on Tuesday that Afghan security forces have taken over the security lead from the U.S.-led NATO coalition. Taliban officials released a statement on Tuesday opposing the use of Afghan soil to threaten other countries, a critical step to breaking ties with al Qaeda, and supporting the Afghan peace process. These statements fulfill the requirements for the Taliban to open a political office in Doha, Qatar, for the purpose of negotiating with the Afghan government. “We welcome this. These statements represent an important first step towards reconciliation -- a process that, after 30 years of armed conflict in Afghanistan, will certainly promise to be complex, long and messy, but nonetheless, this is an important first step,” according to a senior Obama administration official. While the U.S. will have its first direct talks with the Taliban in the coming days, administration officials stressed that the peace negotiating process must be Afghan-led. “The core of this process is not going to be the U.S. Taliban talks -- those can help advance the process, but the core of it is going to be negotiations among Afghans, and the level of trust on both sides is extremely low, as one would expect. So it's going to be a long, hard process if indeed it advances significantly at all,” the official said. In addition to encouraging the Taliban to sever ties with al Qaeda, detainee exchanges are also expected to be on the U.S-Taliban agenda, including the return of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Senior administration officials hailed Tuesday as a “milestone on the path toward peace” but also tried to temper expectations. “We need to be realistic. This is a new development, a potentially significant development. But peace is not at hand,” an official said.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Ida Astute/ABC News(ROME) -- The Italian Supreme Court handling Amanda Knox's murder case released its reasoning on Tuesday and cited prosecutors' early theory that her roommate Meredith Kercher died in an "erotic game" that got out of hand -- a motive that the prosecution abandoned during the initial trial.Knox spent four years in prison after being convicted of Kercher's 2007 murder, but an Italian appeals court threw out her murder conviction in 2011. In May, however, the Italian Supreme Court rejected the Appeals Court ruling and ordered a new trial for Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.The Supreme Court on Tuesday released its "motivation," a written document that spells out the court's reasoning.The court's 74-page document reportedly indicates that the Supreme Court judges supported the prosecutors' original theory that Kercher died during a forced "erotic game" that got violent, according to the Italian news agency AGI.The sex game gone wrong theory was initially suggested by the prosecutors, but the motive later evolved into simmering enmity between the women because Knox allegedly brought boys home late at night and was sloppy, and Kercher accused her of stealing money. The defense ended the first trial by telling the jury sometimes people commit violence without a motive.The defense attorney for Sollecito reportedly said she is not worried about the decision."It is more or less what we expected," attorney Giulia Bongiorno told Italian news agency ANSA. "The Supreme Court has in fact asked for a deep analysis of the investigation and evidence. But we don't fear any further analysis.""If there was an erotic game they should find the other protagonists as they are certainly not Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox," Bongiorno said."The scientific evidence proves in fact that there are no DNA traces of Sollecito and Knox at the scene of the crime," she said.Knox's lawyer, Carlo Dalla Vedova, told ABC News in April that he expects a new trial to begin in the next year. The trial is at the appellate level and will take place in Florence, Italy.In April, Knox told ABC News' Diane Sawyer that the Supreme Court's decision to order a third trial was "incredibly painful.""I felt like after crawling through a field of barbed wire and finally reaching what I thought was the end, it just turned out that it was the horizon," Knox said. "And I had another field of barbed wire that I had ahead of me to crawl through."Knox does not have to return to Italy for the trial, and extradition is not currently on the table.If she is convicted again, that ruling would be appealed up to the Italian Supreme Court.Only if the Supreme Court upheld a guilty verdict could extradition even begin.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images(JOHANNESBURG) -- Pirate attacks on the west coast of Africa now outnumber attacks by Somali pirates on the east coast, a new report by the International Maritime Bureau finds.There were 966 West African attacks in 2012, compared to 851 by Somali pirates, according to the report.
While criminals on both coasts are armed with guns, the report shows Somali pirates continue to kidnap more victims, and hold them for ransom for 11 months on average. Hostages along the West African coast are typically held for four days while their cargo is looted.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Tuesday marked a major milestone in the war in Afghanistan, as sovereign forces there have officially “taken the lead” in all security responsibilities from U.S. and NATO armies."This is truly a historic moment. Afghanistan's future is in your hands," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at a ceremony in Kabul.What it means is that for the first time since the American-led invasion in October 2001, the Afghans will plan, execute and lead all missions against the Taliban and other enemies of the country, including making combat decisions."This is a day for Afghans to be proud. And I'm proud to stand with you," Fogh Rasmussen said.Americans and their allies will supply air support when necessary or provide assistance on the ground but only when either is requested by Afghan commanders. The U.S. and NATO will mainly stay at bases that will eventually be turned over to national forces or else be dismantled if Afghans can’t maintain control of them.It’s expected that the number of U.S. casualties, which has dropped over time anyway, will decline further although the potential for danger exists from so-called “insider attacks” and whenever Americans clear roadside bombs from highways.This latest milestone in the 12-year-long war might also mean that the bulk of U.S. and NATO forces could be withdrawn in 2014 at a faster pace than originally forecast if Afghanistan’s soldiers and police show they’re up to the task of preventing the Taliban from making any significant territorial gains or unleashing terrorist strikes against them and civilians.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images(TEHRAN, Iran) -- In his first comments to the press since being elected Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani promised on Monday that his government would institute a doctrine of moderation while promising to improve the economy and relations with the rest of the world.While Rouhani's election last weekend could signal some shift in policy, the president-elect also hinted that the West shouldn't expect too much when it come to Iran's rogue nuclear program.Rouhani told a press conference that there would be more transparency about the program but that Tehran has no intention of ending its uranium enrichment process, which the U.S. and its allies maintain is a key step to developing atomic weapons.Speaking to that accusation, Rouhani stressed that Washington "must not interfere in Iran’s internal affairs, must recognize Iran’s right to enrich uranium and must abandon the policy of pressures," a reference to sanctions now in effect.Regarding the conflict in Syria, Rouhani's remarks suggested no change of current policy was in the wind as he called on the international community not to intervene in Syria's affairs even as Tehran has shipped weapons to President Bashar al-Assad's military.Rouhani repeated his country's support for al-Assad's attempts to remain in power, saying that the next Syrian presidential election in 2014 must go off as scheduled.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Kazuhiro Ibuki - Pool/Getty Images(ANKARA, Turkey) -- The government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be preparing to step up, not dial down, clashes with demonstrators protesting his regime over what they say is Turkey's move to authoritarianism.For the first time since the civil unrest began two-and-a-half weeks ago, Erdogan is threatening to bring in the military to drive protesters off the streets of Turkish cities.Up to now, the government has deployed riot police using water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets to break what Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has referred to as "illegal" demonstrations."However, the possibility of more violence, which has led to five deaths and more than 5,000 people injured since May 31, did not keep thousands of labor union workers from marching in sympathy with the demonstrators during rallies in Ankara Monday that were largely peaceful.Back in Istanbul, police have locked down Taksim Square, which became the gathering place for protesters after a small demonstration about the redevelopment of nearby Gezi Park touched off the wide criticism of the Erdogan regime.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PRESTWICK, Scotland) -- An Egypt Air flight bound for New York City had to make an emergency landing in Scotland after a passenger found a note in the bathroom saying that a passenger planned to set fire to the plane.
BBC News reports that a BBC producer was on the plane and found a note in the plane's toilet that read "I'll set this plane on fire." The note also contained a seat number – seat 46D. The producer immediately alerted the cabin crew, and the flight was escorted by a Royal Air Force interceptor to Glasgow Prestwick Airport in Scotland.
The plane’s 326 passengers were initially kept on board while authorities worked to determine the credibility of the threat. A SWAT team surrounded the aircraft with their guns drawn while bomb experts conducted a search before removing each passenger from the plane one-by-one.
Glasgow Prestwick Airport remained open during the incident.
Police officers tell ABC News that they are continuing to investigate the circumstances of the incident which they are treating as a criminal offense rather than a terrorist related one. All of the passengers who were on the flight were interviewed but police have not been able to determine who was responsible for this note yet or if it was a hoax.
The flight landed at its final destination, New York City’s JFK Airport, on Sunday morning, a full 14 hours late.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
(TEHRAN, Iran) -- In a surprising message of change, Hassan Rouhani was elected as the new president of Iran on Saturday. Rouhani, considered the most moderate candidate on a ballot full of conservatives, will take over for former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was not allowed to run for another term after leading the country for the last eight years.By winning 50.8 percent of the vote, Rouhani avoided a second round run-off election. He gained a much attention after indicating during his campaign that he would pursue a less confrontational foreign policy and would enact a "civil rights charter" in Iran.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio