World News

Fighter Jets Scramble to Escort Air France Flight Following Threat


rypson/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An Air France plane was being escorted to JFK airport in New York City Monday morning after an anonymous threat was made against the flight, a senior U.S. official told ABC News. The Maryland State Police Fusion Center received an anonymous call of a “chemical weapons threat” aboard Air France Flight 22, which is en route from Paris and is expected to land at the New York City airport later Monday morning. The threat is not considered to be credible at the moment, but when officials tried to reach Air France representatives they were unsuccessful because it is also a state holiday in France. As a result, two American fighter jets were scrambled to accompany the New York-bound flight as it heads towards the airport from Paris. Once the Airbus A-330 lands, it will be taken between two runways and locked down while the threat is investigated, the U.S. official told ABC News.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US Defense Chief: Iraqis 'Showed No Will to Fight' ISIS in Ramadi


zabelin/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- U.S.-backed Iraqi security forces have "showed no will to fight" in recent battles with ISIS, resulting in the group's alarming recent territorial gains, according to Defense Secretary Ash Carter. "We have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight [ISIS] and defend themselves," Carter said in an interview on CNN. "We can give them training, we can give them equipment; we obviously can't give them the will to fight." The unusual public rebuke of the Iraqi military, which the U.S. has been training and equipping for years, comes after a week of significant ISIS victories. The jihadist group took control of the key provincial capital of Ramadi and the ancient city of Palmyra. ISIS is now estimated to control half of Syria and broad swaths of Iraq. In Ramadi, the Iraqi forces "were not out numbered, but in fact they vastly outnumbered the opposing force, and yet they failed to fight," Carter said.The Pentagon has said the decision to withdraw from Ramadi was made by a local Iraqi commander for reasons that are not entirely clear. "I don't believe anybody felt that Ramadi would fall, and I think it's of great concern to everyone," retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli, former Army vice chief of staff, said on ABC News’ This Week. The White House called the episode a "tactical setback" and vowed that there will be a counteroffensive. Republican critics of the administration say the ISIS gains reflect as much a lack of coherent U.S. strategy in Iraq as alleged weakness of the country's security forces. The "will to fight" issue among ISF is at the heart of President Obama's approach to Iraq, and one key reason why he's resisted calls for more aggressive U.S. military intervention to confront ISIS. "I know that there are some in Republican quarters who have suggested that I've overlearned the mistake of Iraq, and that, in fact, just because the 2003 invasion did not go well doesn't argue that we shouldn't go back in," Obama told The Atlantic this week. "I will continue to order our military to provide the Iraqi security forces all assistance that they need in order to secure their country, and I'll provide diplomatic and economic assistance that's necessary for them to stabilize. But we can't do it for them," Obama said.A majority of Americans support U.S. airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but fewer back deployment of more boots on the ground, according to the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Iran Deputy Foreign Minister Denies 'Managed Access' Comments


Photo by Getty Images(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi has denied earlier reports that he and Foreign Minister Zarif had told the parliament that Iran agreed to grant UN inspectors “managed access” to military sites as part of a future deal over its contested nuclear program. Instead, TASNIM news agency reports that Araghchi and Zarif have emphasized opposing any inspection of military sites or interviews with nuclear scientists by inspectors. Earlier on Sunday, lawmaker Ahmad Shoohani, a member of parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee who attended the closed door session of parliament with Araghchi and Zarif, cited Araghchi and said "managed access will be in a shape where U.N. inspectors will have the possibility of taking environmental samples from the vicinity of military sites"The comments raised a few eyebrows as Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, vowed on Wednesday to not allow international inspection of Iran’s military sites or access to Iranian scientists under any nuclear agreement. Iran's military leaders also angrily have refused such demands.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Iran Will Allow UN Inspectors to Access Military Sites


Photo by Getty Images(VIENNA) -- Iranian officials said on Sunday they will grant inspectors from the United Nations “managed access” to military sites as part of a deal regarding the country’s nuclear program. The country’s foreign ministry made the announcement after a reportedly contentious meeting with Iranian leaders. Amid western fears, Iran insists its nuclear program is for powering the country and other peaceful purposes, though not creating nuclear weapons. Last week, Iran’s supreme leader said U.N. inspectors would not be allowed access to the country’s nuclear sites or its scientists. Tehran is particularly sensitive to foreign officials meeting with the country’s nuclear experts, as five of the country’s scientists were killed in attacks in recent years. Leaders from the U.S. and other countries are hoping to finalize a nuclear deal with Iran by next month.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Gloria Steinem, Female Peace Activists Cross Korea Border


ABC News(PANMUNJOM, South Korea) -- Female activists including Gloria Steinem, Medea Benjamin, and two Nobel Peace laureates crossed the border between North and South Korea on Sunday, calling for peace and for more women to be involved in that process. The group of 30 women arrived at Dorasan Station dressed in white with colorful traditional Korean scarves wrapped around them. “It was an enormous, enormous triumph,” Steinem said of their trip inside North Korea. “We feel very celebratory and positive that we have created a voyage across the DMZ in peace and reconciliation that was said to be impossible.” Some anti-North Korean groups heavily criticized the event, saying the women were naive and ignored raising human rights issues by the communist state. “They don’t deserve to come here,” one woman shouted at a small protest near the border. “There’s no peace in North Korea and they go and praise Kim Jong-un and his family? There are millions starving to death but these women are blind to reality.” The group repeatedly stressed that this was not a political event and the purpose was to open dialogue on the civilian level. “It’s a very repressive country, but it was great for us to go there … and have some real dialogue and some interactions with women,” said Benjamin, the co-founder of Code Pink, a left-wing peace activist group. “I met women who’ve never met an American before in their lives and they had such terrible ideas about us and we became close friends. We were all crying when we left this morning saying goodbye.” Hundreds of South Korean women greeted the activists at the southern part of the Unification Bridge and together marched over a mile by the barbed wire fences to a peace festival at nearby Nuri Peace Park. The women originally planned to cross the border through the truce village of Panmunjum, where North and South Korean soldiers stand guard on each side of the military demarcation line. But the South Korean government had refused to give authorization, citing concerns over their safety. The organizers expressed disappointment but said the crossing itself was a successful “historic event” getting “both Korean governments to communicate.” The group made entry into South Korean by a bus instead, as recommended by the South Korean government, through a road that connects South Korea and the North Korean city of Gaesong. This is not the first time a non-political group crossed the inter-Korean border. Bikers from New Zealand took the same route in 2013 and another group of Korean-Russians drove SUVs through the DMZ last year.ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment NewsCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mistakes Made During Ottawa Parliament Hill Attack, Report Says


bukharova/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(OTTAWA, Canada) -- A new report into last October's attack on Parliament Hill in Canada’s capital points out some mistakes police made.     The new report says that many officers acted professionally, even heroically, that day, but not all, according to CTV News. One Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer fled, when the shots rang out, while another accidentally fired his gun, grazing his leg.Several members of the Ottawa Police rushed to Parliament hill in plain clothes, carrying guns and covering their faces with balaclavas, but bystanders and fellow officers didn't know if they were suspected gunmen, CTV News reports. The area around Parliament Hill was placed under lockdown for eight hours, while police searched for any other gunmen.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Ireland Votes to Approve Marriage Equality


Supporters react outside Dublin Castle following the announcement of the result of the same-sex marriage referendum in Dublin on May 23, 2015. Credit: IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images(DUBLIN) -- Citizens of Ireland voted on Saturday to amend the country's constitution to legalize same-sex marriage.The nation's constitution requires a referendum to amend. The BBC News reported an "unusually high" turnout Saturday. Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny tweeted saying that he had voted yes for marriage equality, and in a second tweet, said he was "amazed" by the positive turnout.Former White House Senior Adviser under President Obama David Plouffe posted a message to Twitter calling the vote a "smashing victory for marriage equality."Follow @ABCNewsRadio!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Navy Videos Show Chinese Military Installations in Spratly Islands


Photo DigitalGlobe via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Navy released a pair of videos taken from aboard a P-8A Poseidon surveillance plane recently as it flew a daily mission over the Spratly Islands where China has allegedly been dredging islands to increase their size and build facilities there.The videos show both the aircraft's video consoles -- which show the construction in close-up detail -- and footage from the exterior of the plane. The Navy says that during the flight, the plane's crew documented warnings from China's People's Liberation Army Navy to leave the area.Similar flights happen regularly, and Chinese warnings are frequently documented.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.