World News

Russia Imposes Economic Sanctions Against Turkey

Sean Gallup/Getty Images(MOSCOW) --  Russia says it will impose a package of economic sanctions against Turkey, reports the BBC.The sanctions come just days after a Russian jet was shot down by Turkey near the Syrian border.The sanctions cover the work of Turkish companies in Russia, Turkish nationals working in Russia for Russian companies, imports from Turkey and an end to the chartering of flights between the two nations, says BBC News. The visa-free arrangement between Russia and Turkey was also suspended.Russian President Vladimir Putin refused to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mr. Erdogan refuses to apologize to Russia but said on Saturday the down of the jet "saddened" him.Turkey claims the jet was violating it's airspace and gave the jet several warnings.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Italy to Close Unofficial Mosques

Marek Uliasz/iStock/ThinkStock(ROME, Italy) --  A lot of Muslim places of worship are about to be shut down in Italy.The Italian government says it will move to close any mosque tha tis not officially registered as a place of worship.The Interior Minister in Italy made the announcement saying it was part of Italy's strategy to help fight terrorism.There are 800 unofficial or what are called "garage mosques" where many of the one million or so Muslims living in Italy go to worship.But critics point out that many of them were set up after local administrations blocked requests on the behalf of Muslims in Italy to set up official mosques.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Three Killed by Rocket Attack at UN Camp in Kidal, Mali

MarkRubens/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) --  The United Nations says a rocket attack occurred at a UN peacekeeper's base in Kidal, northern Mali resulting in the deaths of three people, reports the BBC.Two peacekeepers and one contractor for the Multidimensional Integrated United Nations Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) were killed. The UN said 20 people were injured.It is suspected that Islamist militants were behind Saturday's attack.In a statement, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali and Head of MINUSMA, Mr. Mongi Hamdi said, "MINUSMA continues to strengthen measures against such threats to protect the Malian people and the UN personnel. I express my solidarity and salute the brave men and women serving MINUSMA throughout the country for their efforts to bringing lasting peace to Mali in these difficult conditions. MINUSMA and its partners are doing their utmost to put an end to such crimes and hold accountable those responsible for these cowardly attacks."The attack comes just over a week since gunmen attacked the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali's capital, Bamako. Nineteen people were killed in that attack.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Australian Man's Fight With a Spider Ends With Police at His Door

iStock/Thinkstock(SYDNEY) -- Police in Australia were called to a home to investigate domestic violence, but when they arrived all they found was a man and a spider.The Harbourside Local Area Command of the New South Wales Police Force received numerous calls early Saturday morning from neighbors concerned about domestic violence at a residence in Wollstonecraft, Australia, police spokesman Dean Lindley told ABC News on Friday."We had numerous calls to our emergency number stating that a woman could be heard screaming with a man yelling, 'I'm going to kill you, die, die,' with what sounded like furniture being overturned and or a hitting sound," Lindley said.Police showed up at the 32-year-old man’s house within three minutes, Lindley said, and asked him where his wife or partner was. After some questioning, the man became "sheepish" and admitted he was just trying to kill a spider, Lindley wrote in a post on the police force's Facebook page, where he also shared the transcript of the conversation."It quickly turned to embarrassment when he realized he would have to admit to the screaming like a girl thing," Lindley said.After checking out the home to make sure there was no one else there, Lindley said police left."After a can of Mortein, I'm not so sad to report the spider did not make it," Lindley said. "I asked one of the probationary constables fresh from the academy to perform CPR and heart compressions, but of course he carried on like a big girl and refused. It's hard to get good help these days."Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Nairobi Schoolchildren Dance for Pope Francis

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NAIROBI, Kenya) -- On any papal trip, there are long waits as crowds gather hours ahead of the scheduled event. No problem today for the crowd of young people at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi.Thousands of Catholic school kids in their school uniforms filled the huge stadium awaiting an hour-long audience with Pope Francis.First they passed the time doing the wave, their cheers ricocheting around the stadium like a football match was in full swing.Then they started a Conga line. There were jubilant gyrations, rollicking rhythms, and more than a few shimmy-shakes.The mood was so infectious -- even the bishops joined in.Then the whole stadium erupted as the Popemobile rolled into view.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Russia Threatens Economic Sanctions Against Turkey

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Russia is threatening retaliatory sanctions that could cost both and Turkey hundreds of millions -- if not billions -- of dollars in trade and joint projects.On Thursday, Russia announced it would be imposing economic “response measures” against Turkey. Prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said his government was developing sanctions that would hit Turkish interests across Russia’s economy, which could include a trade embargo, limiting investments, shutting down tourism and transportation links, as well as suspending major joint construction projects.The government has given itself two days to finalize the measures but it left an ax hanging over Turkish involvement in swathes of the Russian economy.Turkey is one of Russia’s biggest trade partners, with trade worth $44 billion dollars last year and Russian exports there worth $15 billion. It’s also a major Russian tourist destination, with 4 million Russians visiting a-year. Turkish goods account for around 15 percent of Russia’s vegetable imports, worth roughly $1 billion, and Turkish companies hold a major share of the construction market here.All of these sectors are now under threat. Russian government agencies have lined up to declare that the sanctions may apply to their sector. Russia’s tourism agency said it would halt sales of trips to Turkey and transport officials warned Russian ports and airport could close to Turkish vessels. Crimea’s regional government announced it was freezing Turkish projects worth $500 million. Officials, ranging from Russia’s migration service to the agricultural ministry, have denounced what they called Turkish “treachery”.“In the property sector, especially in the commercial sector, there are quite a lot of Turkish companies working and we don’t exclude that part of them will go from some major projects in the country. Our trust in them as partners is undermined,” Mikhail Myen, head of Russia’s Construction Ministry, told the business paper, RBK.Vladimir Putin lamented that Turkey had “thoughtlessly” destroyed what he called the “unprecedented” good relations with Russia and demanded that Turkey apologize for downing the jet on the Syria border. Turkey has refused to apologized and insisted the Russian Su-24 bomber had violated its airspace, a claim Russia disputes.Putin laid into the Turkish government again on Thursday night, calling president Tayyip Erdogan’s suggestion that Turkey had been unsure the plane was Russian “nonsense” and lashing out at the United States as well, saying Russia had informed American officials where the jet would be but they had done nothing to prevent the shooting down.With relations still souring, a partial embargo already seemed to be in place, as Russia’s consumer watchdogs imposed heightened border checks on Turkish goods, particularly fruits and vegetables that account for a third of Turkish imports. Local media reported Turkish goods-trucks backed up at the border, while Interfax reported the southern port of Novorossiisk-- through which 50 percent of Turkish vegetable imports come-- had ceased to take Turkish ships.But while the sanctions would hurt Turkey, they are also likely to blow-back on the Russian economy. Turkey is the largest market for many Russian companies; the value of Russia’s exports there is five times that of Turkey’s to Russia. With Russia’s economy already battered by low oil prices and European sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, shutting out another major trading partner risks sinking it further into recession.The moves also threaten two flagship projects. The planned Akkuyu nuclear plant, that Russia was to build in Turkey, was now in doubt. Moscow has already invested $3 billion in the project, which was to be worth $22 billion. Likewise, the “Turkish Stream” gas pipeline that was to be a crucial alternative route for Russian gas to Europe may also now be pulled, Russian officials said.Russia’s minister for Economic Development, Aleksei Ulyukaev, said both projects-- like all major joint ventures with Turkey-- were now under review.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Two Men Arrested in Berlin for Alleged Terror Plot Released for Lack of Evidence

iStock/Thinkstock(BERLIN) -- The two men arrested in Berlin for allegedly plotting an attack on the German capital were released Friday after investigators didn't find evidence to keep them in custody, police said.The men, 28 and 46, were arrested Thursday in Southeast Berlin after police were informed of a potential threat, described as "preparation of a serious act of violence endangering the state."Police did not say who gave them the tip.Based on the information, police raided an Islamic cultural club and searched the car of one of the suspects for explosives in two different areas of the German capital. The men were in the car when they were arrested.Police cordoned the area around the car and evacuated several houses around it "as a precaution."After the search, Berlin police tweeted there were "no dangerous items" at the cultural club or in the car were the men were arrested.This is not the first raid German police conduct to trump potential terror threats. In September, Berlin police raided eight buildings following an investigation into Islamist extremists. Police said at the time that there was no evidence that suspects had been involved in planning attacks in Germany.The men were released in Berlin just as another man was arrested in southern Germany on suspicion of supplying the weapons used in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks that left 130 people dead.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Debris from US Rocket Discovered Off British Coast

SpaceX(LONDON) -- A large chunk of an American space rocket -- likely from the ill-fated SpaceX Falcon 9 -- has been found off the coast of England, officials aid.Covered in barnacles and measuring 32 feet by 14 feet, the metal structure has an American flag painted on it. Martin Leslie, Coastal Area Commander, said the debris was "most likely to be the unmanned Space X Falcon 9," which blew up in June.The unmanned Space X was carrying 4,000 pounds of supplies and school science experiments to the International Space Station in June when it exploded shortly after liftoff in Florida. The Isles of Scilly are more than 4,000 miles away from the launch site.In a statement, the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency said that the debris were spotted on the sea's surface and recovered with the help of local boatmen."It was pretty shocking to scrape the barnacles off and then find out it was a rocket ship," said Joe Thomas, a skipper for Tresco Boat Services who said he came across the metal 100 meters off the shore.The structure has been towed to the beach of the island of Tresco, where it sits under guard."It’s not every day a bit of a rocket floats up at home," said Thomas. towed in and beached a piece of flotsam earlier. thoughts were could be aviation parts ..didnt imagine space race— pete hicks (@Hicks_PG) November 26, 2015Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 

France Memorializes 130 Victims of Paris Terror Attacks

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images(PARIS) — France remembered the 130 victims of the terror attacks two weeks ago in a memorial ceremony in Paris Friday morning.  Addressing a small crowd at Les Invalides, a French national monument, President Francois Hollande promised mourners that France will “destroy the army of fanatics” who carried out the attacks.“The parents who will never see their children, children who will grow up without their parents, couples who’ve been torn apart by losing close ones, loved ones, sisters and brothers have been separated forever,” Hollande said Friday.Hollande called the attackers a cult of death, but noted “we have love, love for life.”“To you all, I solemnly promise you that France will put everything it has at its disposal to destroy the army of fanatics who have carried out this crime,” he said.The memorial included also included musical tributes and reading the names of those who parished in the attacks.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Exclusive: Family of Belgian Terror Suspect Insists He Didn't Help Paris Attacke

Belgium Police Federale(BRUSSELS) — The family of wanted Belgian terror suspect Mohamed Abrini insisted he was innocent of helping the Paris attackers in an exclusive interview with ABC News.Abrini's mother and fiancee, who only spoke to ABC News if their identities weren't revealed, said they wished he would turn himself into police. Authorities have said Abrini, 30, was seen driving with Salah Abdeslam on a highway in Ressons, France, two days before the attacks that killed 130 people earlier this month."We are with you and we know you are not guilty," said his fiancee. "He is not a dangerous person. He is not a killer."Belgium authorities have issued a warrant for his arrest. Police have described Abrini as “dangerous and probably armed.”"If he can hear me, please turn yourself in," said his mother. "I don't eat anymore. I don't sleep."Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mystery Behind Coats Left Tied to Lamp Posts in Halifax Solved

Zoonar/Thinkstock(HALIFAX, Nova Scotia) --  When "you've been where you didn't know whether you'd be able to buy groceries or not, it gives you a real sense of wanting to give back."That was the motivation behind what is being called the "coats on a pole" movement that has Halifax, Nova Scotia, talking. What was meant to be an anonymous gesture went viral and the woman behind the movement was outed on social media.That coats were left tied to lamp posts around the Canadian city with a simple note: "I am not lost! If you are stuck out in the cold, please take me to keep warm."Tara Smith-Atkins is the Caledonia woman, who along with five friends and seven kids, left the 35 coats. One of those kids is her daughter, who she said she is teaching an "ongoing lesson" on "how fortunate she is, and how important it is for us to help those who were not so blessed."  A photo of the coats was shared by the Facebook page Halifolks, and Smith-Atkins said that post reached more than one million people. Friends of hers who saw it identified her in the comments.There's been plenty of praise for Smith-Atkins, who said she's got mixed emotions about the attention the gesture has received. "I'm happy that it's inspiring people far and wide. I also felt a twinge of disappointment that such a small gesture grabbed such attention," she said.  But her "small gesture" wasn't small at all to one man. A note came to her from a friend, who passed along the story of "Justin." Justin had been staying in a homeless shelter and was out all day cleaning windows to earn money. He got back to the shelter late and had lost his bed. Soaking wet and freezing cold, he came across one of the coats. He thought someone had lost it, but then saw the note. "It made the difference between him waking up outside cold and sick," the note read.Smith-Atkins said that note was the best response she got. She recalled the time when she was straight out of high school, pregnant with her daughter. She and her husband were in a terrible car accident and both unable to work. It was that difficult time in her life that inspires her to give back whenever she can."If not for the love and assistance from our family who knows where we'd be," she said. "Most of us are only a few paychecks and a bad decision away from the streets."Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Man Spotted With Paris Attack Suspect Traveled to Syria, Belgian Authorities Say

(PARIS) -- Mohamed Abrini, the man who was allegedly spotted on surveillance footage with suspected Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam two days before the massacre, had traveled to Syria, Belgian authorities said.Abrini’s name was on a list of people who had traveled to Syria and then returned to Belgium, the authorities said. It was not clear when he allegedly traveled to Syria.Belgian authorities are still on the lookout for 30-year-old Abrini after issuing a warrant for his arrest Tuesday. He was allegedly caught on camera at a gas station with Abdeslam on Nov. 11, driving the same Renault Clio that was used two days later by the attackers.Abrini should be considered armed and dangerous, authorities said. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact authorities immediately.In addition to the 130 who were killed in the attacks, more than 300 people were injured and 161 remained in the hospital as of Tuesday, Health Minister Marisol Touraine said.Police have conducted more than 1,000 searches and raids in France since the country went into a state of emergency in response to the terror attacks.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

'Human Error' Cited in Mistaken US Airstrike on Afghan Hospital

STR/AFP/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- The top U.S. general in Afghanistan says the military investigation into the mistaken airstrike of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz was "a tragic but avoidable accident caused primarily by human error."Gen. John Campbell told reporters Wednesday that the crew of an AC-130 gunship struck the hospital, mistaking it for another building several hundred meters away that had been taken over by the Taliban. Campbell said some of the individuals involved in the accident have been suspended from their duties and referred for possible disciplinary action."We failed to meet our own high expectations," Campbell said in releasing the findings of a 3,000-page investigation conducted by an official not under his command, U.S. Army Major Gen. William Hickman. The mistaken airstrike killed 30 and injured 37 doctors and patients at the Doctors Without Borders hospital.The investigation determined that the airstrike on the Doctors Without Borders trauma center "was a direct result of human error compounded by systems and signals failure."Campbell said the crew aboard the AC-130 gunship "believed they were striking a different building several hundred meters away where there were reports of insurgents.""Those who called and conducted the strike did not take procedures to verify this was a legitimate target," Campbell said."I can tell you that those individuals most closely associate with the incident have been suspended from their duties, pending consideration and disposition of administrative and disciplinary matters," he said.It was unclear how many service members had been suspended from duty.An Afghan special operations unit had requested an airstrike on a building taken over by the Taliban that housed the National Directorate Service (NDS), Afghanistan's intelligence service.The crew aboard the AC-130 had initially been scrambled to assist ground forces engaged in combat at another location, which meant they did not receive a pre-flight briefing that would have indicated that the hospital was on a no-strike list.When that combat situation ended quickly, the AC-130 was redirected to assist with the airstrike requested by the Afghan forces and communicated to them by U.S. special operations forces serving with them.The aircraft's crew was also limited by technical malfunctions that prevented the transmission of videos or text communications back to its headquarters at Bagram Airfield.Believing they had earlier been targeted by a missile, the crew of the AC-130 pulled 8 miles away, a distance that "degraded the accuracy of certain targeting systems which contributed to the misidentification of the trauma center," Campbell said.When the aircrew input the coordinates of the NDS building into their targeting system, they saw an empty field located about 330 yards away from the target.The crew of the AC-130 then used visual descriptions provided by the Afghan forces to visually identify a building near the field that they believed to be the NDS compound but was, in fact, the Doctors Without Borders hospital. As the plane moved in closer, a GPS system properly located the NDS building, but Campbell said the crew "remained fixated on the physical description of the facility" provided by the ground forces.A minute prior to the airstrike, the crew of the AC-130 communicated the coordinates to its headquarters at Bagram Airfield, which did not realize the location matched a no-strike list location. Campbell said the "confusion was exacerbated" by the aircraft's inability to transmit video and electronic feeds back to the headquarters.Doctors Without Borders notified the headquarters at Bagram 12 minutes after the airstrike began that their facility was under attack. By the time headquarters personnel had verified the "fatal mistake" 17 minutes later, the 29-minute airstrike had concluded.Those involved in the airstrike "did not follow the rules of engagement," Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner, the top U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan, told reporters at a briefing to release the investigation's finding.Campbell said the U.S. special operations commander in Kunduz did not have the authority to direct the airstrike on the NDS building.Added Shoffner: "U.S. personnel at the time were focused on doing what they had been trained to do. That said, chaos does not justify this tragedy.""We did not intentionally strike the hospital, we are absolutely heartbroken," he said, adding that the U.S. military in Afghanistan will ensure "it does not happen again."Responding to the U.S. military investigation's findings, Christopher Stokes, general director of Doctors Without Borders, said, "The U.S. version of events presented today leaves MSF with more questions than answers. It is shocking that an attack can be carried out when U.S. forces have neither eyes on a target nor access to a no-strike list, and have malfunctioning communications systems.""The frightening catalog of errors outlined today illustrates gross negligence on the part of U.S. forces and violations of the rules of war," Stokes added.He reiterated the organization's call for an independent investigation into the airstrike.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

'Dangerous' Man Seen With Paris Fugitive Days Before Attacks

Belgium Police Fédérale(PARIS) -- Authorities in Belgium and France are looking for a man Belgian authorities say was seen with suspected Paris attacker and fugitive Salah Abdeslam two days before the massacre.Mohamed Abrini, 30, was caught on camera at a gas station with Abdeslam on Nov. 11, two days before the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Belgian authorities said. Abrini was driving a Renault Clio that was used two days later to commit the attacks in Paris, authorities said.Abrini should be considered armed and dangerous, said authorities. Anyone who sees him or has information on his whereabouts is asked to contact the police immediately.More than 300 people were injured in the Paris attacks and 161 remain in the hospital, including 26 in intensive care or resuscitation, French Health Minister Marisol Touraine said Tuesday.French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Tuesday that police have conducted over 1,000 searches and raids in France since the country's state of emergency was implemented. One-hundred sixty five people have been detained and 230 weapons have been seized, said Cazeneuve.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US Aircraft Struck Afghan Hospital After Mistaking It for Taliban Target, Probe

STR/AFP/Getty Images(KUNDUZ, Afghanistan) -- A U.S. military investigation has determined that a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, was mistakenly targeted by the crew of an AC-130 gunship that believed it was targeting another compound several hundred yards away that had been taken over by the Taliban, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.The hospital was targeted by mistake based on visual descriptions provided by U.S. and Afghan special operations forces that seemed to match the other compound seized by the Taliban, said the U.S. officials familiar with the contents of the report. Doctors Without Borders has said that the airstrike killed at least 30 doctors and patients at the hospital.On Wednesday, Gen. John Campbell, the senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is set to release conclusions of a 3,000-page investigative report into the airstrike. Shortly after the airstrike occurred, Campbell told Congress that it had been a mistake and soon after President Obama apologized to the president of Doctors Without Borders, also known by its French name, Médecins Sans Frontières.The investigation found that the mistaken targeting of the hospital occurred as the result of visual descriptions of another compound in the same general area that had been seized by the Taliban, according to the U.S. official, who noted that the AC-130 crew had also not received a full pre-flight briefing prior to the mission as they had been redirected from another location. Such a briefing could have contained information that the location of the Doctors Without Borders hospital was a protected site. The New York Times first disclosed the investigation's conclusions on Tuesday.The airstrike on the hospital in Kunduz occurred as Afghan forces continued to retake the city that had been seized by the Taliban days earlier. U.S. special operations teams served as advisers to the Afghan forces involved in clearing the city of Taliban fighters.The crew aboard the AC-130 gunship was flying over Kunduz in the early morning hours of Oct. 3 when it was contacted by a U.S. special operations team working with Afghan special operations forces, the U.S. official said.The Afghans requested an airstrike on a building compound in the city that housed the National Directorate of Security (NDS) -- Afghanistan’s intelligence service, the U.S. official said, noting that the Afghans believed the compound had been taken over by the Taliban and was being used as a base of operations.The U.S. special operations team relayed a general location for the NDS compound and relayed visual descriptions of what it looked like to the crew of the AC-130 gunship flying overhead, the U.S. officials said. This was done to help the AC-130 crew locate the compound because of technical issues with targeting equipment aboard the plane.Using the visual details provided by the American team on the ground, the crew of the AC-130 located what they believed to be the NDS building compound.Unknowingly, the crew had located the Doctors Without Borders hospital that had similar features to the NDS compound described by the teams on the ground, the U.S. official said. While in the same general area as the NDS compound, the Doctors Without Borders compound was several hundred yards away from the NDS compound.Doctors Without Borders had called for an independent investigation into what it had labeled a war crime. The organization's own investigation into the incident included details that updated GPS coordinates for the hospital in Kunduz had been provided to the U.S. military in Afghanistan just days prior to the airstrike.Seeking to eliminate any potential conflicts of interest in the U.S. military's investigation into the attack, Gen. Campbell ordered a two-star general, not under his command, to head an exhaustive investigation into the airstrike.The 3,000-page investigative report will be used for potential actions of accountability for U.S. military personnel involved in the airstrike, according to the U.S. official.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.