World News

Pope Rejects Extra Security on Trip Despite Potential ISIS Threat


iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(VATICAN CITY) -- Pope Francis will have no additional security when he travels to the predominantly Muslim country of Albania this week, despite reports that the pontiff is a target for ISIS terrorists.The pope will use the same open-topped Jeep he uses at the Vatican during his single-day trip Sunday, a spokesman confirmed Monday.“There is no reason to change the pope’s itinerary,” the Rev. Frederico Lombardi said in a briefing Monday, explaining that there were no specific threats or concerns. “We are obviously paying attention but there is no need for concern or a change to his program in Albania.”The pope, 77, will use the open-topped vehicle because he prefers to be unhindered, Lombardi said.Recent unsourced Italian media reports claim the pope is a target for ISIS terrorists. Iraq’s ambassador to the Holy See has also publicly expressed concerns."The Pope is indeed a target,” Habeeb Al Sadr told Italian newspaper Il Messaggero late last week. "We know very well how these terrorists think…I would not exclude that ISIS would arrive to strike him.”Pope Francis told reporters last month the world would be justified in using force to stop ISIS aggression.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 2014 ABC News Radio

Scotland Independence Vote Raises Specter of Ununited Kingdom


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Of all the many crises this summer -- from ISIS, to Ukraine, Ebola to Libya -- who'd have thought jolly old England would be on that list?Technically, it’s the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. But for how much longer? On Thursday, after 307 years, Scotland may vote for independence and with it, potentially change the world order that has lasted since the end of the Second World War. Decisions taken across the highlands and lowlands of Scotland will echo far beyond the shores of a disunited kingdom.Fifty years ago, U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson declared that Britain had "lost an empire but not yet found a role." He may have been premature. During two decades of war -- in Iraq (twice), Afghanistan and elsewhere, Britain chose the role as America's "ally-in-chief." British and U.S. troops fought and died together, from Basra to Helmand and beyond. Half a century after he dismissed “Great” Britain, on Sept. 18, the Britain Acheson spoke of, may cease to exist.A Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland would continue. But Britain would be partitioned -- not for the first time. In 122 AD, the Roman Emperor Hadrian built a wall, stretching 75 miles to keep “barbarians” of Scotland out of England. Two millennia on, a vote for independence would consign Great Britain to the same history books as Hadrian. The implications would be profound -- not just for the rump of the United Kingdom, but for the United States and the Western Alliance.While Scotland makes up just 8 percent of the U.K. population -- its GDP of $235 million puts it just behind Connecticut ($240 million) -- it is also home to the 58 Trident nuclear missiles leased by Britain from the United States and the four nuclear submarines that carry them.Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond -- the man who has led the march to independence -- has promised to remove the missiles and the submarines from their current base on the west coast of Scotland during the first term of parliament following independence. The consequences for Britain and NATO would be grave. No other port in the U.K. is equipped to house the missiles, raising the potential prospect of Britain’s “independent” nuclear deterrent being based in France, or at the U.S. naval base at King’s Bay in Georgia, home to America’s own Trident submarines.And then there’s the flag. The Union Jack is made up of the flags of the U.K.’s constituent parts -- the red St. George’s Cross for England, the red diagonal Irish cross of St Patrick, and Scotland’s blue white and blue Saltire. Officially, it’s even called the Union Flag -- so without a Union, what to do? It’s not just the UK that will need a rethink. Four other countries also have the Union Jack in their flag (Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tuvalu) as well as Britain’s overseas territories like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. Even the state of Hawaii has the Union Jack in its design, as do the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario.Next year the United Nations marks its 70th birthday. Across seven decades -- for all of Acheson’s doubts -- the U.K. has been one of just five “great powers” to be permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, alongside the United States, Russia, China and France. But there are many who covet Britain’s UN chair. India and Brazil have been pushing for Security Council reform. This week, even the former British Prime Minister, Sir John Major, warned that should Scotland vote for independence, the U.K.’s place as a member of the permanent five of the United Nations “would no longer be viable.” Others warn that it could lose its place in the G7 group of Nations. The IMF ranks the U.K. as the world’s sixth biggest economy. Without Scotland, the U.K. would be overtaken by Brazil.Many of Britain’s nearest neighbors are also watching closely. The European Union says an independent Scotland would leave the E.U. and need to reapply for membership. Each of the E.U.’s 28 member nations has a veto on new members. Many have their own separatist movements. Spain would be unlikely to encourage Scottish independence for fear that Catalonia might be next.While warning of the risks to the U.K.’s place in the UN, former Prime Minister Major also warns independence would enhance the risk of Britain’s exit from the E.U. As if one in/out referendum isn’t enough, David Cameron has promised another -- in 2017 -- on whether the U.K. should leave the European Union. But that would follow Scotland’s exit. And with more voters in Scotland pro-E.U. than in the rest of the U.K., those fighting to keep Britain in Europe fear it could tip the balance towards the rump of the U.K. leaving the E.U. -- the United States’ largest trading partner.Five million Americans can claim Scottish ancestry, almost as many people as live in Scotland today. This time next year -- on Sept. 11, 2015 -- Queen Elizabeth will become Britain’s longest reigning monarch, passing Victoria’s record of 63 years and 216 days, an anniversary she will spend at Balmoral, the Scottish Castle where she is said to feel most at home. Through her mother, the Queen is a direct descendant of the legendary Scottish warrior Robert the Bruce. It would be a bitter irony if it was Britain’s most Scottish monarch ever who presided over the break-up of her United Kingdom.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 2014 ABC News Radio

Three Foreign Troops Killed in Suicide Attack in Afghanistan


File photo. Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images(Kabul, Afghanistan) -- Three foreign troops were killed Tuesday in a suicide attack near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, authorities said, with the Taliban claiming responsibility for the attack.The Afghan interior ministry said 16 civilians were also injured in the morning rush-hour attack.The attacker targeted a foreign forces convoy.The blast shook Kabul's busy airport road, bringing chaos to a beautiful morning and leaving the roadway covered in leaves, shrapnel and debris. Thick smoke rose from the site of the attack.International Security Assistance Force members were among the victims, the ISAF confirmed. The identities and nationalities of the victims have not been released.American forces stood guard following the attack, cordoning off the area and inspecting the damage.Afghan and ISAF officials are reviewing the incident. 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 2014 ABC News Radio

Nobel Peace Laureates Urge South Africa to Give Dalai Lama a Visa


Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Fourteen Nobel Peace Laureates sent a letter to South African President Jacob Zuma on Monday, urging him to guarantee an unconditional visa to allow the Dalai Lama into the country next month.The letter notes that the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates will be held in Cape Town, South Africa on October 13 to 15. According to the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, Pope Francis was rejected a visa, and the Dalai Lama withdrew his application for a visa for the same event after being told it would not be approved.The letter cited an understanding of "the sensitivities involved," but noted that the upcoming summit will be dedicated to the memory of former South African President Nelson Mandela and that the Dalai Lama holds no political office. The summit will be held on the African continent for the first time, and the laureates argue that the Dalai Lama's attendance would, "provide a platform to showcase Africa's continuing efforts to promote peace and stability throughout the continent."The letter is signed by Nobel Peace Laureates from years between 1976 and 2011, including Amnesty International, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and former member of the United Kingdom's parliament John Hume.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 2014 ABC News Radio

NASA Asteroid Detection Program Not Meeting Goals


ABC News Radio(WASHINGTON) -- According to NASA's Inspector General Paul Martin, the space agency is failing to adequately detect meteors heading towards Earth.While most of the objects that approach the planet burn up before reaching the surface, detection of near-Earth objects is important to prevent incidents such as that in Chelyabinsk, Russia last year, where an 18-meter meteor exploded, damaging buildings and injuring over 1,000 people.In 2005, Congress gave NASA the task of building a program that could track upwards of 90 percent of near-Earth objects over 140 meters in diameter by 2020. A review conducted by the Office of the Inspector General found that NASA has currently identified only 10 percent of all asteroids that size or larger.Martin's review also stated that the agency will likely fail to meet the 2020 deadline.The review points a finger at limited personnel and resources, insufficient NASA oversight on grants and task orders, and a lack of formal agreements with partners to help accomplish the NEO program goals.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 2014 ABC News Radio

US Airstrike Targets ISIS Fighters Near Baghdad


Hope Milam/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD, Iraq) --  There was a U.S. airstrike southwest of Baghdad Monday, a new area of operations for U.S. fighter aircraft, ABC News has learned.But this isn't an indicator of expanded airstrikes in Iraq, a U.S. official told ABC News.A request was received from the Iraqis to provide air support for an Iraqi unit that was engaged in a firefight with fighters with the Islamic militant group ISIS, the official said.An aircraft was redirected and conducted a strike to support the Iraqi ground troops, the official said.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 2014 ABC News Radio

'Everyday Taxi Driver' Is Latest Threatened with ISIS Death


iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Alan Henning, the latest hostage threatened with death by militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is neither a journalist nor a professional aid worker. The 47-year-old is a taxi driver from northwest England whom friends describe as a “big man with a big heart,” according to The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom."He is the nicest of nice guys who has done so much to help other people,” fellow taxi driver Kasim Jameel told the newspaper. “He is just a normal bloke, an everyday taxi driver who wanted to do good. We are thinking about him all the time and praying that he will be allowed home to his family."Henning reportedly left his wife of 23 years, Barbara, 45, and two teenage children at home in Salford, Greater Manchester, last Christmastime to join Jameel and a group of Muslim friends in making what British newspaper The Bolton News described as a 20-vehicle, 4,000-mile journey to Syria to deliver medical supplies to refugees caught up in the country’s civil war. Masked gunmen reportedly stopped the convoy after it crossed the Turkish border on Dec. 26 and targeted Henning, separating him from the group."He was taking over old ambulances, just helping out as much as he could,” a close friend told the Telegraph newspaper. "There were a few of them that went out with him. They were just a group of mates that started it all off. They were supposed to be over there for about six months, but he was kidnapped just a few days after he left."Henning was identified as the next ISIS victim at the end of the beheading video of British aid worker David Haines released Saturday.He had reportedly previously traveled to Syria as part of two similar humanitarian aid convoys organized by the small, informal volunteer group Aid 4 Syria and the UK Arab Society. BBC journalist Catrin Nye met Henning while making a documentary about such convoys to Syria and told the Guardian how the first trip to Syria moved Henning to do more."It had been a life-changing experience," Nye said. "He had handed out the goods. He described holding the children ... and how that really affected him. He told me he had to go back."Henning even permanently inked his commitment to the cause, as convoy organizer Jameel told The Bolton News: “He loved the cause so much that when he went on holiday with his family, he had a big tattoo across his arm, saying, ‘aid for Syria.’ He was that dedicated.”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 2014 ABC News Radio

Iran Claims It Rejected US Offer on ISIS


leader.ir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Iran's supreme leader says his country would never help the U.S. take on ISIS.Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted on Monday that the U.S. asked Iran for its cooperation in the fight against the militant group."I rejected US offer to #Iran abt #ISIS because US has corrupted its hands in this issue," he tweeted.The State Department admitted the U.S. did approach Iran about taking on ISIS "on the margins" of talks over Iran's nuclear program. While officials maintain military coordination is off the table, they hope to restart talks with Iran soon.The Ayatollah told reporters the U.S. has "dirty intentions" in Iraq and Syria, and Iran would never take part. 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 2014 ABC News Radio

Chinese City Creates Sidewalk for Smartphone Addicts


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A Chinese city has created a smartphone lane for pedestrians where they can tweet, text and surf the Internet without having to worry about where they're walking or who they're blocking.While the 165-foot path located in Chongqing is meant to make a statement, pedestrians are warned to use them at their "own risk."A sidewalk split down the center is clearly marked with a mobile phone icon showing it is acceptable to multi-task, while the other side of the sidewalk makes it clear that smartphone multitasking isn't welcome.The inspiration for the bifurcated sidewalk is said to have come after National Geographic Television conducted a behavioral experiment in Washington, D.C., using the concept.While it may be more of a curiosity than a routine now, there are a few people who may benefit from a smartphone lane.One distracted smartphone user reportedly fell into a fountain in a shopping mall in Reading, Pennsylvania, while another was so engrossed in her phone that she reportedly walked off a pier in Melbourne, Australia, in December.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 2014 ABC News Radio

Hurricane Turns Mexico Honeymoon into Nightmare for Family


Courtesy Hess family(SEATTLE) -- A Seattle-area couple expecting their first child had just arrived in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, to celebrate their honeymoon when Hurricane Odile struck, wreaking havoc on the resort area and their vacation, their family said.Siegfried Hess told ABC News that his son, Stephen Hess, and his newlywed wife, Julie, landed Saturday night at Los Cabos International Airport and arrived at the Cabo Villas Beach resort, where they planned to stay for a week. But only a day into their romantic trip, the storm walloped the coast, and Siegfried Hess hadn't been able to reach his son until Monday."I feel very relieved, and my wife, of course, is so emotional," Hess said. "Having heard his voice and talked to him. ...Of course, you can only talk for ten seconds and the line shuts off."The hurricane damaged phone lines and cellphone service is spotty. Odile, a Category 3 hurricane, slammed the southern Baja California peninsula overnight, flipping cars, downing trees and breaking windows.Stephen and Julie Hess married last weekend and this trip is Stephen's first time out of the country, his sister said. Their daughter is due in November."They sustained damage, of course, but they have plenty of food and water," Siegfried Hess said.He's glad the couple is safe, but furious that they were put in danger in the first place.The airlines shouldn't have let people land in Mexico if they knew a storm was coming, Hess said."I'm not a storm-tracker. I depend on airlines or the resorts or somebody to contact us and let us know that something of this magnitude is on its way to Cabo," he said. "They put my family in the eye of the storm."Alaska Airlines did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.Many vacations were ruined when Odile struck the Mexican coast, forcing travelers to hunker down on air mattresses or cots in shelters and designated safe areas of hotels.Sarah McKinney of Bentonville, Arkansas, live-tweeted the storm, posting updates about the deafening noise from the wind, and water seeping into her hotel room, forcing her and her 4-month-old daughter to seek shelter in the bathtub.Other vacations were ruined before they started. Valerie Cos of Maryland was supposed to leave for Cabo Tuesday morning, but her flight was canceled. On the flip side, some travelers escaped the storm just in time -- like Alexander Harris of Atlanta, who said he was on the last flight out of Los Cabos International Airport.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 2014 ABC News Radio

Migrants Feared Drowned After Boat Capsizes Off Libyan Coast


iStock/Thinkstock(ROME) -- A small fishing boat crammed with migrants -- many women and children -- capsized off the coast of Libya Monday, with more than 200 feared drowned.With Libya in chaos, the country's navy is almost non-existent, so the rescue attempt was carried out by borrowed fishing boats and tug boats from the oil industry. The incident comes just days after another migrant boat sank near Malta, with survivors saying as many as 500 drowned when traffickers purposely sank the ship.United Nations spokesperson Carlotta Sami said since the start of the year, 2,500 people -- fleeing violence in Syria and beyond -- have died or gone missing attempting the perilous crossing. "They are terrified by the violence that is spreading across country and see the only way to survive is to leave Libya by crossing the sea. They know that they are risking their life because they heard the stories of people that died," Sami said.Since January, the Italian naval operation, the largest in the Mediterranean, has rescued upwards of 100,000 people crossing on the rickety boats to Italy.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 2014 ABC News Radio

Cairo Talks on Israel, Hamas to Resume


iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) -- The deadline for another round of Egyptian-mediated talks between Israel and Hamas is fast approaching.  According to the Gaza truce that was signed, negotiations are to begin by Sept. 25. While no official start date has been announced, both sides are gearing up to resume negotiations.Senior sources on both the Israeli and Palestinian side tell ABC News a second round of Cairo talks will begin sometime next week.The prime minister's office in Jerusalem says Israel is ready to ease restrictions on building materials entering Gaza and that the negotiating team will recommend international organizations supervise building projects to ensure cement and steel go to housing projects and not attack tunnels.Palestinian sources said disagreements with Hamas were narrowing and would not hold up the Cairo talks.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 2014 ABC News Radio

Pope Francis Marries 20 Couples at Vatican: Why It's Important


Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- In another signal that Pope Francis’ Catholic Church is not your mother’s Catholic Church, the transformative pontiff married 20 couples at the Vatican on Sunday, some of whom had lived together and one who had a child out of wedlock.Yes, you read that right. Couples who had lived together, couples who had sex before marriage, even one with a grown child were married in the Vatican by the pope himself.All of those things remain a sin in the Catholic church. But the pope's message Sunday was not one of blame. In his homily before the exchange of vows, the pope stressed forgiveness for past sins."To spouses who 'have become impatient on the way' and who succumb to the dangerous temptation of discouragement, infidelity, weakness, abandonment," the pope said to the brides and grooms, "God the Father gives his Son Jesus, not to condemn them."More ABC news videos | Latest world newsSo why is it important?1. It's another signal that Pope Francis is changing the church to be more open and inclusive. Last July, Pope Francis suggested that that he would not judge priests for their sexual orientation. The pope has also said the church is too focused on issues such as abortion, contraception and divorce. In an interview last year, the pope warned that "the church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules." The church's teaching "must be more simple, profound, radiant," he wrote. Sunday's wedding ceremony appears to be a practical application of that philosophy.2. Being married by the pope is incredibly rare. Pope John Paul II was the last pope to publicly perform the rite of marriage, when he married eight couples in 2000. So rare is the event that one couple said that "when we discovered that it was happening, that it wasn't a dream -- well, it transformed us," The New York Times reported. The marriage of those, by the pope himself, who might have been shunned just a couple years ago, sends a powerful message not only to those couples but also to the rest of the world.3. He wanted to stress the importance of marriage for all Catholics, whatever their situation. He also want to encourage local priests to follow his example and marry couples in similar situations. Pope Francis has long emphasized the importance of the family and marriage between a man and a woman and these topics will be discussed at a Vatican meeting of bishops later this year.Marriage, the pope said, "is a symbol of life, real life: it is not fiction." It's also not fiction that the Catholic Church is changing -- and changing from the top down.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 2014 ABC News Radio

Oscar Pistorius Can Still Be an Olympian Despite Homicide Conviction


Jemal Countess/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- Sprinter Oscar Pistorius, who was convicted of culpable homicide after a marathon trial, is still eligible to represent South Africa in the Olympics and the paralympics, officials from both sports bodies have ruled.The only catch may be whether Pistorius is in prison at the time of the competitions, they said.Pistorius, 27, has won six gold medals in three Paralympic Games. The next games would be held in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Pistorius was such a powerful runner on his prosthetics that he was dubbed the Blade Runner and won the right to compete in the regular Olympics as well.He was convicted earlier this month for the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2012 and a sentencing hearing will begin on Oct. 13. His sentence possibilities range from a maximum of 15 years to a fine and a suspended sentence.The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) said the conviction will not prevent Pistorius from competing."Dependent on the verdict delivered by the judge in South Africa, if Pistorius is found guilty of cuplable homicide, once he has served that sentence he would be free to compete at IPC events," IPC spokesperson Craig Spence said Friday prior to the verdict.Pistorius is not looking ahead to racing yet, his spokeswoman told ABC News."There is absolutely no talk about competing at this stage. It would be premature and inappropriate to talk about, or even think about, returning to the track, until the sentencing is behind us," spokeswoman Anneliese Burgess said.An aide said Pistorius is only training at a gym at the moment and has not spent any time on the track since his trial started in March.In another blow for the man dubbed the Blade Runner, the world's largest athletic shoe and apparel maker, Nike, terminated its endorsement contract with Pistorius after suspending it in February last year.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 2014 ABC News Radio

Australia To Send Personnel, Aircraft to Join International Coalition Against IS


iStock/Thinkstock(CANBERRA, Australia) -- Australia will send personnel and aircraft to the United Arab Emirates in an effort to assist in the international coalition against ISIS, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced Sunday. In response to a request from the U.S. government, the country's Defence Force is set to prepare a Special Operations Task Group to help security forces in the region. "We are not deploying combat troops but contributing to international efforts to prevent the humanitarian crisis from deepening," Abbott said in a statement.The announcement comes one day after the release of a video showing the apparent execution of a British hostage at the hands of the militant group."The ISIL [ISIS] death cult threatens the people of Iraq, the region and the wider world. The conflict has reached out to Australia, with at least 60 Australians fighting with ISIL [ISIS] and other terrorist groups and another 100 or so supporting these extremists," the prime minister continued. "This situation is as much a matter of domestic security as it is of international security."Australia has already provided air-lift assistance to Iraq, including humanitarian air drops to stranded residents and the movement of arms and munitions.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 2014 ABC News Radio

British PM on New ISIS Beheading: 'They're Not Muslims, [But] Monsters'


Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(LONDON) -- British Prime Minister David Cameron said Sunday that the brutal beheading of a British aid worker by the terror group ISIS, which follows the execution of two American journalists, showed exactly why the U.K. needed to work to destroy the organization, "the embodiment of evil.""The fact that an aid worker was taken, held and brutally murdered at the hands of ISIL [ISIS] sums up what this organization stands for," Cameron said in an address to the British people. "They boast of their brutality; they claim to do this in the name of Islam. That is nonsense. Islam is a religion of peace. They are not Muslims, they are monsters."Cameron spoke hours after a video emerged online that appeared to show the murder of British citizen David Haines at the hands of a black clad ISIS militant. Before his death, Haines reads from a scripted statement, saying Cameron is "entirely responsible" for his impending murder."You entered voluntarily into a coalition with the United States against the Islamic State [ISIS], just as your predecessor Tony Blair did, following a trend amongst British Prime Ministers who can't find the courage to say no to the Americans," Haines says.Sunday, Cameron said the U.K. would not be cowed."We cannot just walk on by if we are to keep this country safe; we have to confront this menace," he said. "Step by step, we must drive back, dismantle and ultimately destroy ISIL [ISIS] and what it stands for. We will do so in a calm and deliberate way, but with an iron determination. We will not do so on our own, but by working closely with our allies, not just the United States and in Europe, but also in the region because this organization poses a massive threat to the entire Middle East."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 2014 ABC News Radio

ISIS Appears to Kill British Hostage in New Video


iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- The terror group ISIS appears to have executed a British hostage, as seen on a video released online Saturday, making David Haines the third Western hostage the group is believed to have killed in such a public, brutal fashion.Prior to his apparent beheading, Haines is seen kneeling in an orange jumpsuit next to an armed militant clad entirely in black. Haines gives a statement in which he says British Prime Minister David Cameron is “entirely responsible for [his] execution.”“You entered voluntarily into a coalition with the United States against the Islamic State [ISIS], just as your predecessor Tony Blair did, following a trend amongst British Prime Ministers who can’t find the courage to say no to the Americans,” Haines says.In another section of the video, the would-be executioner says, “This British man has to pay the price for your promise, Cameron, to arm the peshmerga against the Islamic State.” The peshmerga are Kurdish forces who, along with Iraqi forces and heavy American air support, dealt ISIS a major blow by wresting from the terror group control of the Mosul Dam last month. The new video is similar to two previously released by ISIS in which two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, appeared to be separately beheaded. In those videos, a black clad militant addresses President Obama, warning America to stop its aggressive bombing campaign against ISIS.Haines, a 44-year-old aid worker, was previously seen at the end of the Sotloff video, ISIS implying that he would be next. Similarly, another hostage appears at the end of this new ISIS video."David has been murdered in the most callous and brutal way imaginable by an organisation that is the embodiment of evil," Cameron said in a statement. "We will hunt down those responsible and bring them to justice no matter how long it takes.""We are a peaceful people. We do not seek out confrontation, but we need to understand: we cannot ignore this threat to our security and that to our allies," he continued. "There is no option of keeping our heads down that would make us safe. The problem would merely get worse, as it has done over recent months, not just for us but for Europe and the rest of the world. We cannot just walk on by if we are to keep this country safe; we have to confront this menace."Haines’ brother, Michael, issued a statement about David who he said “was recently murdered in cold blood.”“David was like so very many of us, just another bloke,” Michael Haines said in a statement issued by the British Foreign Office. “David was a good brother, there when I needed him and absent when I didn’t…He helped whoever needed help, regardless of race, creed or religion.“David was most alive and enthusiastic in his humanitarian roles… He was and is loved by all his family and will be missed terribly,” Michael Haines said.Earlier Saturday, before the video emerged online, Haines' family released a public plea through the British government, urging his captors to contact them.President Obama issued a statement saying the U.S. "strongly condemns the barbaric murder.""The United States stands shoulder to shoulder tonight with our close friend and ally in grief and resolve," Obama said.In addition to the second hostage shown at the end of the video, ISIS is believed to be holding at least one other Westerner, a 26-year-old American woman.Military special operations veterans told ABC News that in addition to the overt message delivered by Haines and his purported killer, the circumstances of the video’s production could be signal to Western intelligence. By filming in broad daylight and in open desert, the officials said ISIS could be saying that it feels safe from the long reach of Western and allied militaries and intelligence.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 2014 ABC News Radio

Terror Cell Discovered in Uganda, 'Imminent Attack' Planned


iStock/Thinkstock(KAMPALA, Uganda) -- Ugandan authorities discovered an al-Shabaab terrorist cell in the country's capital, U.S. Embassy officials announced Saturday. The findings appear to be linked to plans "for an imminent attack," with officials warning U.S. citizens to remain at home or in a safe location until the issue is cleared. "At this point we are not aware of specific targets, and the Ugandan authorities have increased security at key sites, including Entebbe International Airport," the statement reads. Citizens are cautioned to be aware of surroundings, avoid crowds, monitor local news stations and "maintain a high level of vigilance."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 2014 ABC News Radio

Pope Francis Expected to Travel to Turkey in November


phant/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(VATICAN CITY) -- Pope Francis is expected to travel to Turkey in November, on invitation from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.According to Rev. Federico Lombardi, head of the Press Office of the Holy See, the official letter of invitation from Erdogan was received this week. Lombardi also said that plans were underway to prepare the trip for the end of November.Lombardi said Friday that "the length and the program of the visit are still to be confirmed."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 2014 ABC News Radio

Retired General to Lead Coalition Against ISIS


Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- The former commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan will lead President Barack Obama's coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Retired Gen. John Allen is expected to be named the special presidential envoy for the global coalition against ISIS by Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday. Allen will report to Kerry and will work with the Department of Defense to "match specific campaign requirements and coalition needs with potential contributors, providing high-level diplomatic support to coordinate a global coalition that delivers tangible results," a State Department official told ABC News.Last month, Allen said on ABC's This Week that defeating ISIS would require a "comprehensive approach."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 2014 ABC News Radio

Convoy Carrying Prince Harry Involved in Collision


Ben Hoskins/Getty Images for Invictus(LONDON) -- A car in Prince Harry's motorcade was involved in a car crash when one of his police escorts ran head-on into another vehicle in central London, authorities said.The motorcade was traveling on Prince Albert Road on Thursday at 9:40 a.m. and the 29-year-old was riding in a Range Rover when a motorcycle officer smashed into a white Prius, according to Scotland Yard.Harry, who was not injured, was on his way to the Invictus Games at the time.The police officer had been using his lights -- standard when providing security detail. He suffered injuries and was taken to the hospital. He has since been discharged.As seen in pictures, the Prius discharged it's airbags during the crash and the roof of the car was later cut off to get the driver out. The driver of the car was also taken to the hospital for his injuries and discharged.The Invictus Games, where the cars were heading, include "Over 400 competitors from 13 nations," according to the games' website, and feature wounded, injured and sick servicemen."The event, which is championed by Prince Harry, will be a celebration of resilience and passion," the site adds.Harry is set to celebrate his 30th birthday on Monday.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 2014 ABC News Radio

Rob Ford Drops Out of Toronto Mayoral Race


Keith Beaty/Toronto Star via Getty Images(TORONTO) -- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has decided to drop out of the race for re-election amid a health scare and has asked his brother Doug to run in his place."Doug loves our city as much as I do. He believes that standing up for the average person and watching the bottom line are what matters most at City Hall," Rob Ford said in the statement. "Doug also believes in standing up for his family no matter what. His loyalty and willingness to be there for anyone, anytime is just who he is. I’ve asked Doug to finish what we started together, so that all we’ve accomplished isn’t washed away."The announcement comes after Ford was hospitalized due to a tumor in in his abdomen. A biopsy has been conducted, but the results will not be known for at least one week. In the statement, Ford said that the details about his health problem remain "unknown" but he knows he is not going to be able to serve as mayor while addressing the issue."Now I could be facing a battle of my lifetime, and I want the people of Toronto to know that I intend to face this challenge head on, and win," he said. "With the advice of my family and doctors I know I need to focus on getting better. There is much work to be done and I can’t give it my all at this point in time."There had been calls in the past for Ford to resign after he gained international notoriety for a series of drug and alcohol scandals. He also admitted to using crack cocaine in a "drunken stupor."The election is scheduled for Oct. 27.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 2014 ABC News Radio

Malala Yousafzai's Plotters Captured After Two-Year Hunt


Ida Mae Astute/ABC(ISLAMABAD) -- The terrorist gang that plotted the attempted assassination of teenager Malala Yousafzai on a school bus have been arrested after a nearly two-year search.The 10 terrorists confessed to Pakistani authorities that they were in the process of planning the murders of 22 other people at the time of their capture, Pakistani authorities said. The arrests were announced Friday but it remains unclear when exactly they were taken into custody.An army spokesman said that the group was a known offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban.The teen's father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, put out a statement calling the arrests "good news for our family and most importantly for the people of Pakistan and the civilized world.""This first step of apprehending Malala’s attackers signifies the beginning of real hope for the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives have been affected by terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in Swat and the whole country," the father's statement read. "This is the beginning of the real restoration of the writ of the government, where the rule of law and justice prevails for everybody."Malala Yousafzai was 15 when two armed men, Israr ur Rehman and Izhar Ullah, stopped her school van while dropping children off on Oct. 9, 2012. After identifying Yousafzai, who had become an activist for educating girls, one of the men fired at her head with a 9mm pistol. They shot two other girls, Kainat Riaz and Shazia Ramzan, during the attack but neither were injured as gravely as Yousafzai.The Taliban is opposed to educating girls and has destroyed schools and killed teachers who educate girls.Rehman was the first of the criminals to be apprehended by the joint task force comprised of local and state authorities. He confessed to his involvement and gave the names of the other members of the terrorist group, called Shura, that were involved with the planning of the attack, authorities said Friday.He revealed that the group was run by Zafar Iqbal, a furniture shop owner who allegedly passed hit lists of names to an associate named Mullah Fazlullah.During interrogation, the terrorists revealed that the plan was conceived by Fazlullah, and the Shura group was given the responsibility to execute it. The group also confessed its involvement in murder of Abdul Rasheed, watchman of Swat College of Science and Technology, in November 2012.Fazlullah was also said to be the one who came up with the new list of 22 targets that the men were planning to kill at the time of their arrest. The names of these targets have not been released.Fazlullah, who has since been chosen to head the Pakistani Taliban, is not in custody.Yousafzai survived the assassination attempt after being treated in the United Kingdom. She has become an international activist and was widely considered a contender for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013.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 2014 ABC News Radio

Oscar Pistorius' Ex-Girlfriend Thought 'It Could've Been Me'


ABC News(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- The ex-girlfriend of paralympian sprinter Oscar Pistorius, who was convicted Friday in the shooting death his current girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, says she believes she could have been Pistorius’ victim instead.“I definitely thought it could’ve been me,” Samantha Taylor told ABC News’ Matt Gutman in an interview for 20/20 before the verdict was delivered.After a seven-month murder trial, South African Judge Thokozile Masipa found Pistorius guilty Friday of culpable homicide, similar to manslaughter. He was also found guilty of discharging a gun in a public area, but acquitted of other charges, including murder. His bail was later extended ahead of sentencing on Oct. 13.After the verdict was announced, Taylor told ABC News in a statement, "No one besides Oscar knows what happened on the morning of Reeva's death, but having said that we all need to move forward with our lives."Steenkamp was shot and killed on Valentine’s Day 2013. Prosecutors alleged Pistorius intentionally shot his model girlfriend. The double-amputee sprinter maintained he thought there was an intruder in his home and fired his gun in self-defense, accidentally shooting and killing Steenkamp through the door while she was in the bathroom.When news of Steenkamp’s death broke, Taylor, 20, of Johannesburg, said she received many “rest in peace” messages, "because people thought it was me...It was a real shock.”Taylor said she dated Pistorius before he began dating Steenkamp. At his murder trial, Taylor served as a valuable witness for the prosecution. She said parts of Pistorius’ story about what happened the night Steenkamp died did not ring true.“There were things that didn’t match up to my experience staying at his house,” she said.For example, while Pistorius claimed during his testimony the bedroom was pitch black so he didn’t see Steenkamp go to the bathroom, Taylor said Pistorius did not typically keep his room that dark.“He usually slept with the curtains fairly open. He always had some light coming in,” said Taylor.And although Pistorius did startle easily, Taylor said he would always ask her about any sudden noises and found it odd that he said he didn't make physical contact with Steenkamp the night she was killed.Taylor said she was just 17 years old when she first met the then 24-year-old Pistorius at a rugby match in 2010.“When I met him, I actually didn't know who he was,” Taylor said. “He was very charming. He is a really good guy, you know. He was very respectful, very kind.”But over time, Taylor said Pistorius would get angry at her for little things, such as not taking her plate to the kitchen, and that he could be jealous and possessive.“He used to often look through my phone, ask me who my friends were. I think he had that control over who's in my life and who's not,” she said. “I was his.”Life with Pistorious was living on the edge, she said. Taylor recalled when he would drive his car 200 miles per hour on the highway.And, she said, Pistorius also always carried around a gun.“He definitely had a passion for guns,” she said. “It was natural that the gun was...there. It was a part of him.”Taylor claimed one time she was in the back seat of a car with Pistorius and a friend when Pistorius fired his gun out of the sunroof.“It was really loud. I got such a fright,” she said.A Pistorius spokesperson declined to comment for this story.There were also times, Taylor said, when Pistorius was an emotional wreck. She said she heard him cry about 300 times.“It was really strange to me. I haven’t really heard men cry so much,” she said.Taylor’s mother, Trish Taylor, says she became close to Pistorius over the course of his relationship with her daughter, even taking on an unexpected maternal role. In the book An Accident Waiting to Happen, co-written with Melinda Ferguson, Trish Taylor described Pistorius’ “dark side.”In July 2012, Pistorius wrote in an email to Samantha and Trish Taylor, saying, "There are often very dark areas that haunt you...most of my adult life I have had moments that I sabotage the good that I have."Trish Taylor says that he would sometimes explode with fits of anger.“I heard him screaming at Samantha once on the phone,” she told Gutman.During his Olympic training, Trish Taylor said she even suggested he seek counseling and sent him links to meditation websites.“I thought, ‘What if he commits suicide?’ I was getting really, really worried about him,” she said. “He had made all these promises on how he's going to see a psychologist, how he was going to change his life, and everything was going to change.”But nothing did change, Samantha Taylor said. Worst of all, she says she discovered Pistorius was cheating on her.“I think our whole relationship there were lies,” she said. “From what I know, or from what I found out, there were definitely a lot of other women in his life at the same time as me.”Taylor claimed she had not officially broken up when Pistorius showed up on television at an awards ceremony with Steenkamp. Pistorius testified that he and Samantha Taylor were no longer a couple when he was with Steenkamp, and denied cheating on Taylor, but all agreed that their relationship was over after that outing.“I think we were so in love. And I mean, besides our downs, we had a lot of ups,” she said.Taylor said she’s making peace with how Pistorius treated her.“Our relationship, it wasn't easy,” she said. “I’m getting there. I think it’s a journey.”In the end, Taylor said she wants Pistorius to come to terms with what he’s done.“He needs to, you know, face his consequences and not necessarily behind bars. But, you know, if he needs to go for help then I think that’ll be great for him,” she said.Watch the full interview on ABC News' 20/20 Friday at 10 p.m. ETFollow @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 2014 ABC News Radio

Strong Solar Storm Expected to Hit Earth


NASA(NEW YORK) -- The energy from two back-to-back coronal mass ejections hit Earth Friday as expected, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.Coronal mass ejections are bursts of radiation that explode from the sun -- and these particular flares have been whizzing toward earth as fast as 2.5 million miles per hour. According to NOAA, the current storm level is just above the moderate threshold.While solar storms may sound alarming, harmful radiation from the flares cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere. However, a perfect storm of intense radiation can impact satellite and radio transmissions and cause flights to be re-routed due to changes in Earth's magnetic field.The solar storm is expected to strengthen as it continues through Saturday -- however no major problems have been reported so far.There is a glimmer of good news in this all: As an added bonus, the solar storm will make the northern lights expand toward the south -- providing a beautiful backdrop for star gazers.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 2014 ABC News Radio

When Boots on the Ground Aren't 'Boots on the Ground' in Iraq


iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s strategy to “degrade and destroy” ISIS comes with an additional 475 American troops gearing up to go to Iraq, bringing the total number of U.S. service members there to over 1,600 -- but don’t call those “boots on the ground.”Like the hundreds of American soldiers already in Iraq, the new crop has not been assigned to any combat duties, the military says, and on Thursday, that’s how the White House told ABC News it defines “boots on the ground” in this context: “U.S. military service members serving in combat roles.”Last year after a Syrian chemical attack, Obama proposed action but promised no American “boots on the ground” there, a policy White House spokesperson Josh Earnest reiterated for Iraq last month.In his address to the nation Wednesday night, Obama didn’t use the phrase, but emphasized the new American forces “will not have a combat mission.” On Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry told ABC News the U.S. is not at war with ISIS.While the hundreds of Americans in the Middle Eastern nation serve in support and advisory roles to Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces, already American airmen and soldiers have directly engaged and killed ISIS fighters, both in Iraq and Syria. But the men and women who pulled the trigger in those cases don’t fit the bill for “boots on the ground,” according to White House National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden.In Iraq, the U.S. has launched more than 150 airstrikes against ISIS targets and released footage of successful strikes. Some bombs are dropped by American fighter pilots in F/A-18s operating off the USS George HW Bush in the Persian Gulf. But as Hayden pointed out, since they’re flying over their Iraqi targets, the fighter pilots are “in the air,” not on the ground.Military officials said Thursday it plans to begin using “manned and armed” aircraft taking off from Erbil in northern Iraq, but hasn’t decided on which aircraft to use.In Syria, the U.S. executed a complex rescue operation in July involving several dozen commandoes to save American hostages held by ISIS near its stronghold in Raqqah, senior U.S. officials told ABC News last month. The American commandoes flew in by helicopter, disembarked and managed to sneak to the location they believed to hostages to be, but found none there. A firefight ensued in which officials said the American forces killed several ISIS fighters, while only suffering a single minor injury in return.Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel later said that other than there being no hostages around, from a military standpoint, the mission was “flawless.” It was also, according to the White House, exempt from the broader policy of not using boots on the ground.“Again, we are not contemplating U.S. boots on the ground in Syria as part of a broader U.S. strategy against ISIL [ISIS],” Hayden said in an email. “That operation was a limited circumstance that was not related to our strategy against ISIL. It was about personnel recovery and we never rule out using our military in those circumstances anywhere in the world.”Hayden declined to say whether such a special operation would be launched to kill or capture ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a potential echo of the Navy SEAL mission that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May 2011. A Pentagon spokesperson also declined to comment on the “hypothetical.”Late Thursday, The Washington Post reported Obama had given the U.S. military permission to specifically target al-Baghdadi and other high level ISIS figures.Richard Clarke, a former counter-terrorism advisor to the White House and now ABC News consultant, said that when administration officials say “boots on the ground,” they probably mean larger organized combat units like infantry battalions, and said Obama’s phrasing Wednesday night was a “better formulation.”Or, as the president put it on June 19: "I think we always have to guard against mission creep, so let me repeat what I’ve said in the past: American combat troops are not going to be fighting in Iraq again."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 2014 ABC News Radio

Oscar Pistorius Guilty of Culpable Homicide, Judge Rules


Jemal Countess/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- A South African judge found Oscar Pistorius guilty today of culpable homicide in the 2013 shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He was also found guilty of discharging a gun in a public area, but acquitted of other charges, including murder.Judge Thokozile Masipa had Pistorius stand before she delivered her verdict.His bail was later extended ahead of sentencing on Oct. 13.Watch more news videos | Latest world newsCulpable homicide is similar to manslaughter in the United States, and he could receive anywhere from a suspended sentence or house arrest to a 15-year sentence, with the sentence at the discretion of the judge. Mitigating factors, such as his emotional state, anxiety levels and disability could result in a lesser sentence.Pistorius was found guilty of discharging a gun in a public area for a 2013 restaurant incident, Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled. He was acquitted in a 2012 incident in which Pistorius allegedly fired a gun out of the open sunroof of a friend's car. He was also acquitted of illegal possession of ammunition.Masipa had ruled Thursday that there was insufficient evidence to show that the athlete intentionally killed Steenkamp. Steenkamp died on Valentine’s Day 2013 when Pistorius fired four shots through a bathroom door in the middle of the night, saying he mistook his live-in girlfriend for an intruder.Pistorius didn't foresee the possibility that he would kill the model when he fired the shots, Masipa ruled. The trial has spanned five months, prolonged by several interruptions including a month-long break so the paralympian sprinter could be examined by mental health experts. Pistorius – known as “Blade Runner” for his prosthetic legs – served as an international inspiration after performing in the London 2012 Olympics. Watch more news videos | Latest world news Watch more news videos | Latest world news 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 2014 ABC News Radio