World News

Cassini: What It Saw on Saturn's Moon Tethys


NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute(NEW YORK) — NASA's Cassini spacecraft has spotted a huge impact basin on Tethys, one of Saturn's 62 known moons, shining brightly and spiking curiosity about the landscape of the icy world.While the rest of the moon appears dark, the photo shows a 280-mile impact region called Odysseus, spanning near half the width of the entire moon."With the expanded range of colors visible to Cassini's cameras, differences in materials and their textures become apparent that are subtle or unseen in natural color views," NASA said.Scientists believe the different coloration on Tethys could indicate differences in the composition or structure of the area exposed by the impact crater. While Tethys is believed to be largely water and ice, Odysseus isn't the first standout characteristic of the moon to be pique the interest of scientists.The satellite also has a long canyon called Ithaca Chasma, which is believed to have formed when the water inside Tethys froze and cracked the moon's outer crust, according to NASA.Launched in 1997, the Cassini mission arrived in the Saturn system in 2004 where it has been working ever since to study the gas giant and its dozens of moons. The probe's mission is scheduled to end in September 2017 when it will make a fatal plunge into Saturn's atmosphere.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Algae Invasion Turns Yellow Sea Green


iStock/Thinkstock(QINGDAO, China) -- It's beach time as usual for people on vacation in eastern China -- despite a thick layer of green algae appearing at popular resorts.More than 13,500 square miles of water along the Qingdao coast have been affected by the phenomenon, Chinese media reported, and it's been a recurring event since 2007.Scientists say the plant does not pose an immediate risk to humans, but according to Algae World News, a professional web-based online news directory for algal business and information, it can prove dangerous as it decomposes and produced toxic hydrogen sulfide gas.The Center for Disease Control writes on its website that algae is formed in response to changes in levels of chemicals, such as nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer, in the water."Algae are vitally important to marine and fresh-water ecosystems, and most species of algae are not harmful," the CDC says, but "algal blooms can deplete the oxygen and block the sunlight that other organisms need to live, and some can produce toxins that are harmful to the health of the environment, plants, animals and people."Some scientists believe an increase in seaweed farming may be at the root of the problem, while others point towards coastal pollution as a possible cause.According to China's national news agency Xinhua, the clean-up work at Qingdao is already underway.It is worth noting that in 2008, Chinese authorities spent millions of dollars to clean up the beaches ahead of sailing events at the Beijing Olympic Games.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

John Kerry Names New US Special Envoy for Syria


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Michael Ratney will replace Daniel Rubinstein as the third U.S. special envoy for Syria since the war there began in 2011, Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Tuesday.In a statement, Kerry said Ratney is "a Senior Foreign Service officer who is fluent in Arabic and whose distinguished career has spanned Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, and beyond.""I am confident he will continue the important work led by his predecessor, Daniel Rubinstein, to shape our response to the complex and devastating conflict in Syria," he added.Kerry said Ratney “will soon travel to the region to begin consultations with Syrians and other stakeholders” still seeking a peaceful resolution to the conflict which has devastated the country.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

NATO Gathers to Discuss Violence Along Turkey-Syria Border


iStock/Thinkstock(BRUSSELS) -- An emergency gathering of NATO countries is taking place in Brussels Tuesday morning to discuss the increasingly volatile situation in Turkey.In recent days, trouble in neighboring Syria has spilled over the border. Those troubles include bombings and shootings that killed police, soldiers and civilians. Turkey has responded by launching airstrikes into Syria and Iraq. Officials in Turkey blame ISIS for some of the violence. However, other attacks are attributed to a Kurdish rebel group. Turkey has a long, contentious history with the Kurds, fighting a decades-long war that cost 40,000 lives. A cease-fire brokered with the Kurds in 2013 now appears to be falling apart. The Kurds say until recently Turkey turned a blind eye to the Islamic State, who Kurdish rebels are fighting in both Syria and Iraq.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thousands of Students Perform Haka Dance for Beloved Teacher


iStock/Thinkstock(PALMERSTON NORTH, New Zealand) -- Thousands of high school students in New Zealand performed a traditional haka dance as a send-off for a beloved teacher who died.Video shows at least 1,700 students from Palmerston North Boys' High School on the country's North Island performing the dance last Friday at the funeral service of Dawson Tamatea, who died on July 20. He was a physical education and mathematics teacher at the school for almost 30 years, a spokeswoman told ABC News."We are extremely proud of our boys' performance and we know that Mr. Tamatea would be, too," the school wrote on its website.Haka is an ancestral war dance performed by the Maori people of New Zealand. The rugby team "All Blacks" are famous for performing the dance before their games."This complex dance is an expression of the passion, vigour and identity of the race," according to a description on the All Blacks's website, and "a custom of high social importance in the welcoming and entertainment of visitors."According to the school, Tamatea was also involved in many extra curricular activities and sports, including tennis, basketball and softball teams at the school."He is very well known amongst our school community, and amongst the wider Palmerston North community," rector D.M. Bovey wrote in a statement. "We are very conscious that Mr. Tamatea's passing will be difficult for many young men with whom he has had a close association as either a teacher, coach, manager or camp leader, as well as for many of our teachers who have known him for a long period of time."Messages of condolences have been pouring in online. In an online book dedicated to him, Tracey McKinnon, from Palmerston North, wrote: "He took my son under his wing and nurtured him like he was one of his own.""I could see you really loved your job as an awesome teacher," Te Aroha Te Kura wrote on the school's Facebook page. "We're all gonna miss you."Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

War on ISIS: US, Turkey Partner to Create "Safe Zones" in Syria


iStock/Thinkstock(ISTANBUL) --  The US government and Turkey have agreed on a new partnership to fight ISIS in northern Syria along the Turkish border that involves flying armed US aircraft out of Turkey for the first time in this war and creating a ISIS-free zones along the border region to provide relief for refugees and rebel-fighting forces.The Pentagon said Monday it hopes it can use the strategic air bases to create “ink blots on the map” where ISIS does not exist and over time grow those safe areas in size and number."There are going to be different places where you will see ISIL driven out and peaceful, moderate … people moving in,” Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said Monday, using another word for ISIS. “And we want those areas of land to grow.”The administration made clear that this new agreement with Turkey won’t involve the creation of military “no-fly zone.” State Department spokesman John Kirby said there would be little use in that around the border region. “There is no opposition in the air, when coalition aircraft are flying in that part of Syria,” Kirby said. “The Assad regime is not challenging us; ISIL doesn't have airplanes.”The Pentagon would not speculate about a scenario in which Assad’s aircraft fly into one of these safe zones or ink blots, but it made clear again that the US will not be there to fight Assad nor is that part of the deal with the Turks.The partnership could put the Obama administration in a difficult position because of Turkey's recent attacks on Kurdish militant groups, some of whom are allied with the U.S. in the fight against ISIS. In recent days Turkey bombed a Kurdish militant group known as the PKK in retaliation for suicide attacks it launched against Turkish soldiers.But both the Pentagon and State Department said Monday that Turkey has the right defend itself against the PKK, which the US has designated a foreign terrorist organization.Davis said the Secretary of Defense Ash Carter could decide to begin flight operations out of Turkey within the coming weeks.ABC US News | World NewsCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

American Airlines Dreamliner Damaged by Weather During Flight from Beijing to DF


iStock/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- An American Airlines Dreamliner suffered damage Monday during its flight from Beijing to Dallas due to weather.“American Airlines Flight 88, a flight from Beijing Capital International Airport to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, returned to Beijing due to damage sustained by weather in flight,” American Airlines said in a statement to ABC News.The aircraft was in flight for 44 minutes before it had to turn around. There were 209 passengers and a crew of 13 on board.The nature and extent of the damage is unclear; American Airlines said the plane is currently being evaluated by their maintenance team.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Terrorism on Agenda as Ethiopia Welcomes President Obama for Historic Trip


Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia) -- President Obama kicked off his first full day in Ethiopia as he heads into the second half of his historic trip to East Africa.Obama arrived on Monday morning at the National Palace in Addis Ababa, where he was greeted by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. The two men shook hands and exchanged pleasantries in the sunlit courtyard, where the Ethiopians had prepared an elaborate arrival ceremony.The leaders stood at attention in front of their delegations while the American then Ethiopian national anthems were played. On either side of the palace stood enormous portraits of both leaders.The president was then led by an officer, upright sword in hand, to inspect the honor guard. He walked on a square red carpet past rows of Ethiopian troops as ceremonial cannons fired in the distance.The two sides then held a bilateral meeting, sitting across from each other at an elegantly set table complete with dozens of red roses.Obama also met with Ethiopia’s president Mulatu Teshome. Although he’s technically the head of state, the Ethiopian presidency is mainly a ceremonial position. After his meetings, the president held a press conference with Desalegn, during which they expressed continued cooperation between their countries on trade and economic partnership, counter-terrorism and intelligence, and democratization. Terrorism was an especially pertinent topic after a deadly bombing in neighboring Somalia killed 15 people Sunday."Yesterday's bombing in Mogadishu reminds us that terrorist groups like al-Shabaab offer nothing but death and destruction and have to be stopped," said Obama, calling the mix of U.S. assistance and regional and African Union forces fighting the group a "model" and Ethiopia, an "outstanding partner.""We have to now keep the pressure on," he said.  Obama and the prime minister also discussed freedom of the press. Ethiopia has been criticized for jailing journalists and stifling opposition. In its most recent election, the ruling party won 100 percent of the vote, causing some to question the result's legitimacy."I don’t bite my tongue too much when it comes to these issues," said Obama, saying that the two had a "frank discussion" about the improvements that Ethiopia needs to make while noting their progress so far.South Sudan has also been a focus of the president's trip. He met with regional leaders to discuss the ongoing crisis there that has killed thousands of people, displaced over a million and pushed the country to the brink of famine. The group agreed the two parties in South Sudan must reach a peace plan agreement by Aug. 17, but they differed on what steps to take if they did not.South Sudan is the world's newest nation, after it voted to break away from Sudan in 2011 in a referendum supported by the U.S. -- one reason America has a "special responsibility" to stabilize the country, said Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes.The president also came face-to-face with a 3.2 million-year-old piece of history at the National Palace.He viewed -- and even touched -- the skeleton of "Lucy," the female Australopithecus afarensis discovered by an American anthropologist in Ethiopia in 1974. Lucy is an early hominin, the most complete skeleton of a human ancestor discovered to date, and one of the most significant breakthroughs in the study of early humans.Obama was given rare access to the skeleton; Ethiopian officials and scientists said they could not recall a time the bones were displayed uncovered, let alone touched by a visitor."Extraordinary people have extraordinary access," said Dr. Zeresenay Alemseged, an Ethiopian paleoanthropologist and head of the California Academy of Sciences.After his stop with Lucy, the president attended a State Dinner with Prime Minister Desalegn and President Teshome, where he toasted to "another century of friendship" between the two countries and highlighted Ethiopia's most important gift to the world: coffee."We're large consumers of coffee in the White House," he said. "Thank you, Ethiopia."Sunday, the president wrapped up his historic two-day visit in Kenya, his father’s homeland, where he was received with much fanfare and adoration. Supporters spilled into the streets of Addis Ababa as well, holding American flags and photos of Obama.There was even a rainbow on the tarmac as the president arrived Sunday evening.Obama is set to address the African Union Tuesday, the first U.S. president to do so.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Obama Assembles Meeting with Regional Leaders on South Sudan


Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia) — President Obama met with regional leaders in Ethiopia Monday to discuss the crisis in South Sudan and counterterrorism efforts in Somalia. According to senior administration officials, the assembled leaders, which included the president of Uganda, president of Kenya, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, chairman of the African Union and the foreign minister of Sudan, agreed the two parties in South Sudan must reach an agreement to a peace plan by Aug. 17.  But if they fail to reach an agreement, the parties differed in what the next approach should be. Some of the options under consideration include “substantially increased sanctions and pressure to the possibility of a regional intervention force,” according to one official.   The “regional intervention force” was not proposed by the U.S. and the official wouldn’t characterize what the U.S. stance is on that option. The officials said all parties expressed a “resounding and collective loss of patience” in the situation in South Sudan.  On Sunday, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said the U.S. has a “special responsibility” to ensure South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, succeeds. “Yes, that’s absolutely the case.  And look, the United States of America, broadly, I think has a special responsibility.  The Bush administration did very good work in terms of developing a comprehensive agreement between North and South Sudan that led to the scheduling of a referendum.  We did extraordinary amounts of work in the early years of the administration to make sure that that referendum could go off peacefully and that you could have South Sudanese choosing an independent course.  And the fact that this has now spiraled into a civil conflict, I think, does call upon the United States to play a unique role,” Rhodes said. “Look, you can’t fix everything in a country that has been so torn by conflict for so many decades, but I think we have an obligation to try to bring the parties to a better place and to give the people of South Sudan an opportunity for peace,” he said.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Baby "AirForceOne" Named in President Obama's Honor


Pete Souza/The White House(KISUMU, Kenya) — Obamamania may have seized Kenya over the weekend, but for some, the frenzy will now be life-long.A handful of children born during the President’s visit to his father’s homeland have been named after him, his family — and even his airplane.That’s right: Baby AirForceOne.The boy’s full name is “AirForceOne Barack Obama,” and he’s one of three babies born Friday in the city Kisumu with Barack Obama variations in their name."I have been told that it is the best aeroplane because it carries a very powerful leader of America who is also a Kenyan," one mother told the AFP.Naming people, places and things after the first African American — and first Kenyan American — president is nothing new to the country. There are two schools named “Senator Obama” after the then-freshman senator visited his father's village in 2006.Several children born at that time share the name as well — and they’re now 7-year old students at Senator Obama Kogelo Primary School.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

State Department Releases Annual Report on Human Trafficking


State Department photo(WASHINGTON) — Secretary of State John Kerry formally released the State Department’s annual report on human trafficking Monday with a message of thanks to those who are fighting the issue abroad and in the U.S.The 384-page report, titled “Trafficking in Persons,” calls attention to the $150 billion illicit trafficking industry. “It’s a battle against money. It’s a battle against evil,” Kerry said Monday. “It’s quite remarkable that in the year 2015, we face a modern version of slavery.”The State Department is facing criticism about the report this year, however, for upgrading Cuba and Malaysia on the list. This year’s report boosted the two countries from the worst-ranked of those categorically failing to respond.Anti-trafficking groups are calling it a transparent political move that puts the report’s impartiality in question.[Click here to view the State Department's full report]Meanwhile, Kerry said the U.S. is not only pointing the finger at nations abroad.“Like every nation, we have a responsibility to do better — a better job of protecting those who live within our own borders, whose passports are taken away from them, who are imprisoned for labor purposes or for sex trafficking,” he said.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Turkey Requests Special Session of NATO Talks


iStock/Thinkstock(ISTANBUL) -- Turkish officials are requesting a special session of NATO talks amid growing security concerns along the country's border with Syria.The proposed talks follow a string of attacks on Turkish soil and counterattacks in Syria and Iraq.Over the last week, a Turkish soldier was killed in a cross-border attack by the Islamic State. Soldiers and policemen in southern Turkey were also killed in attacks blamed on a Kurdish rebel group. Prior to the shootings, a bombing near the border with Syria killed 32 people. Turkey reacted by launching airstrikes hitting the Islamic State in Syria and a rebel Kurdish position in northern Iraq.In the wake of the violence, Turkey also announced it would allow U.S. warplanes to use its airbases to launch strikes in Syria and Iraq. Meanwhile, the U.S. and Turkey are proposing the creation of a "buffer zone" in northern Syria for refugees and Western-backed rebels.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Philippines Crushes World Record for Largest Zumba Class Ever to Dance


Guinness World Records(MANILA, Philippines) -- More than 12,000 people have officially crushed the Guinness World Record for the largest Zumba class ever to dance.The event, which took place on July 19, was organized by the city of Mandaluyong in the Philippines and was part of Mayor Benhur Abalos' birthday celebrations.Abalos, who recently won a United Nations Public Service Award, launched a health care program that encourages a healthier lifestyle, Guinness said."More than being a record-breaking event, it highlighted the importance of having a holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle," Abalos said in a statement to Guinness. "It is not enough that you eat healthy food. You must also exercise regularly"As for the 12,975 participants, Abalos said, "They all [participants] want to champion a healthy lifestyle. You can't bring in that such huge number of crowd unless they believe in the advocacy."A total of 84 licensed Zumba instructors from the Philippine Zumba Network practiced for two months to prepare for facilitating the record attempt.According to Guinness, the largest Zumba record was first achieved on Jan. 1, 2011 by 638 participants at an event organized by the Greater Wichita YMCA in Wichita, Kansas.The current record set in the Philippines marks the 10th time it’s been broken.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Bombing at Mogadishu Hotel Leaves at Least 10 Dead


iStock/Thinkstock(MOGADISHU, Somalia) -- An Islamist group claimed responsibility for a deadly explosion in Mogadishu Sunday.BBC News reports that Islamist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place at a hotel and left at least ten dead. President Barack Obama was leaving Kenya for Ethiopia on his African trip at the time of the attack. Obama had noted al-Shabaab as a threat earlier in the trip.The White House issued a statement condemning the "abhorrent attack...which purposefully and cruelly targeted innocent civilians." The administration called the attack "yet another reminder of the unconscionable atrocities that terrorist groups continue to perpetrate against the people of Somalia."The U.S. State Department said in a statement that "through these murders, al-Shabaab once again has demonstrated its brutality and its complete rejection of a Somali society free of violence and oppression."Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Car Crash Near Tour de France Finish Line


Gemini-Create/iStock/ThinkStock(PARIS) -- Police in Paris say they're searching for a vehicle that hit a cab and ran into barriers set up near the Tour de France finish line on Sunday morning.There was a simple accident between two cars and one of the cars tried to get away. The car tried to force its way through a police road block that was set up because of Sunday's final stage of the Tour de France.A policeman at the scene then fired a couple of shots toward the car, but the car managed to get away.Authorities are currently looking for the driver of the car and not much is known about why this incident occurred.A statement by the Paris police spokesperson said that although this happened near where the Tour de France was going to happen, there was nothing to indicate that it was linked to terrorism.Authorities speculate that it was a minor road accident where the person was trying to escape from police.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 

James Foley Execution Video Took White House By Surprise


ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House had no warning that ISIS had murdered American journalist James Foley before a video showing the brutal execution appeared online, to the horror of Obama officials, according to a top White House counter-terrorism official."I was sitting in my office on the ground floor of the West Wing... I was actually on the phone with [Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications] Ben Rhodes, who was traveling with the President... when one of my staff came in to say that this video had appeared," said Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism Lisa Monaco. "We didn't have advanced warning of it."Monaco said she was "sick to her stomach" as she watched the video, describing it to Rhodes so that Rhodes could tell Obama."It was a horrific thing to see," she told the audience at the Aspen Security Forum. "It was gut-wrenching and horrible and the videos that came after it were equally so."After her talk, Monaco told ABC News that until the video appeared, the White House was unaware Foley had been killed, much less that he had been the subject of a highly-produced and edited ISIS video."At the time, we had very little insight into what was going on in Syria," Monaco told ABC News, which she blamed on the lack of U.S. "presence" in Syria or that of willing intelligence partners. She said every effort has been made to improve U.S. intelligence capabilities there.James Foley was beheaded by a black-masked figure in a video released online in August 2014. Several execution videos followed in the next weeks, showing the murders of American, British and Japanese journalists and aid workers."It [the Foley video] galvanized us even more to take a hard look" at what the U.S. government "could do better" in hostage situations, Monaco said.The U.S. military launched a complex special operations mission deep into Syria to rescue American and Western hostages a month before the Foley video appeared, but U.S. officials said the hostages had moved before the American commandos got there.During the Aspen talk, Monaco also addressed allegations by the families of American hostages, as reported by ABC News, that they felt threatened by U.S. officials when it came to potentially paying ransoms to the terror group for their loved ones' safe return. President Obama announced in June he was "updating" the hostage policy: While the U.S. would not make concessions to hostage-takers, no one will threaten families over ransom.On Saturday, Monaco said, "No family should ever be threatened with prosecution."After the death of an another American hostage, Kayla Mueller, in February, ISIS is not believed to hold any additional American hostages.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Turkish Fighter Jets Hit Islamic State Targets in Syria


webking/iStock/ThinkStock(ISTANBUL) -- Turkish officials say they have arrested more than 600 terror suspects throughout the country.The arrests come as fighter jets hit Islamic State targets inside Syria for the second day.Warplanes also hit a camp for Kurdish militants in northern Iraq.The strike is the first in northern Iraq since a peace deal was struck in 2013 between the Turkish government and the rebel Kurdistan Worker's Party.Tension betweent he Kurds and the Turkish government has mounted since a recent bombing in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast killed 32 people. The Islamic State was blamed for the bombing.Kurdish groups say Turkish officials haven't done enough to combat the extremist group.After the bombing, a cross-border gun battle ensued between Turkish forces and the Islamic State, which left one soldier dead.The increase in violence comes as the US and Turkey have reached an agreement that allows American warplanes and drones to operate out of Turkish airbases.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Canadian Doctor Under Fire for Texting Inappropriate Picture of Patient


fotoedu/iStock/ThinkStock(TORONTO) -- A Canadian doctor is being punished for texting a naked picture of an unconscious patient.Victoria urologist Dr. John Kinahan admits to snapping a photo of an obese patient's catheter site and sending it to a friend with a joke. That friend then forwarded it to ther people, one of whom reported the incident to authorities.Dr. Heidi Oetter of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia, the provincial body taht regulates doctors says, "With the finding of unprofessional conduct, the physician is subject to a suspension."Kinahan will also ahve to a pay a $20,000 dollar fine and take retraining on ethics.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

CIA Confident It Would Catch Iran Cheating on Nuclear Deal


Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The number two man at the CIA said Friday he has a "high degree of confidence" that if Iran cheats on the newly-signed, controversial nuclear deal, the U.S. intelligence community would catch them in the act."Our assessment of the provisions that are in the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) that provide the real-time, persistent access to the cleared sites, as well as a mechanism for getting scheduled access to suspicious sites, combined with other capabilities and information that we have available to us, gives us a reasonably high degree of confidence that we would be able to detect Iran if it were trying to deviate from the requirements that they've signed up to in the JCPOA," David Cohen, Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency said at the Aspen Security Forum. "So I think our assessment is that the JCPOA gives us a good ability to detect Iranian deviation from the limitations on enrichment and the other specific elements in the JCPOA."When referring to access to Iranian sites, Cohen was presumably referring to the access provided to International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors, as stipulated in the agreement, not access by the CIA.Robert Cardillo, head of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, said that from the perspective of his agency, he agreed with Cohen."From the physical nature of that which they need to adhere to to remain complaint, I think we've got a very good capability to do that, of course with the IAEA's [International Atomic Energy Agency's] assistance," he said at the panel, which was moderated by ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross.The possibility Iran may try to cheat on the nuclear agreement -- one of the arguments made by critics against the deal -- has been in the mind of Obama and his top officials for months ahead of the signing of the deal."The second argument I hear is that no deal is worth the paper it’s written on, because Iran will simply cheat. And it’s true that Iran could try to cheat, whether there’s a deal or not. Now they didn’t cheat under the interim deal... as many were certain they would. But they certainly have in the past and it would not surprise anyone if they tried again," Vice President Joe Biden said in April. "However, if they did try to cheat, under a deal that we're talking about, they would be far more likely to be caught. Because as this deal goes forward, we’ll also put in place the toughest transparency and verification requirements, which represent the best possible check against a secret path to the bomb."U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City on Friday that if Congress backs out of the deal, "we go right back to where we were, and we are gonna head to conflict.""I fear that what could happen is that if Congress were to overturn it," Kerry said, "our friends in Israel could actually wind up being more isolated, and more blamed. We would lose Europe and China and Russia with respect to whatever military action we might have to take."The Iranian nuclear deal was endorsed by the United Nations this week and is currently under review by the U.S. Congress, where it could face stiff opposition from some Republican lawmakers who were long critical of the deal.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US Preparing for Release of Convicted Spy


Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Department of Justice is preparing for a convicted spy to receive parole later this year after 30 years in prison.Jonathan Pollard, arrested in 1985 and convicted of espionage for conspiring to deliver U.S. national defense information to Israel, could be released on parole in November. According to laws in place at the time of Pollard's conviction, and which remain applicable to him, individuals sentenced to life in prison are eligible for mandatory parole after 30 years, unless the Parole Commission "determines that he has serious or frequently violated institution rules or that there is a reasonable probability that he will commit any Federal, State, or local crime."The DOJ said Friday that it "has always and continues to maintain that Jonathan Pollard should serve his full sentence for the serious crimes he committed." A U.S. official told ABC News that Pollard's release was in no way tied to the Iran nuclear deal.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

New Horizons Catches Dark Side of Pluto


Backlit by the sun, Pluto’s atmosphere rings its silhouette like a luminous halo in this image taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft around midnight EDT on July 15. This global portrait of the atmosphere was captured when the spacecraft was about 1.25 million miles (2 million kilometers) from Pluto and shows structures as small as 12 miles across. The image, delivered to Earth on July 23, is displayed with north at the top of the frame. Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI(NEW YORK) -- New Horizons continues to yield a bounty of discoveries, with NASA on Friday showing stunning new photos, including haze and flowing ice on Pluto.Taken seven hours after New Horizons made its closest pass by Pluto, an image released on Friday shows the dwarf planet shrouded in darkness and surrounded by a band of light. Most curious to scientists were the layers of haze which appeared higher than expected from Pluto's surface."You can only get this image from going to Pluto and crossing to the dark side and looking back," New Horizons' principal investigator Alan Stern said at a news conference on Friday. "Emotionally, it also represents a huge scientific discovery."Initial analysis shows two layers of atmospheric haze located 30 and 50 miles above Pluto's surface, upending scientists' previous belief that temperatures would be too warm for hazes to form that high above Pluto's surface."The hazes detected in this image are a key element in creating the complex hydrocarbon compounds that give Pluto’s surface its reddish hue," New Horizons co-investigator Michael Summers said. The creation of the haze is believed to follow this model: Methane gas is broken down by ultraviolet sunlight, creating a buildup of more hydrocarbon gases. Those gases are then believed to fall to the lower parts of the atmosphere where they cool and condense as ice particles, creating the spectacular haze New Horizons caught on camera.Inside the Tombaugh region, the name NASA has given Pluto's heart-shaped feature, New Horizons found evidence of flowing ices moving across Sputnik Planum, a relatively young geological area in the western part of the heart.NASA expects to learn even more about Pluto over the next 16 months as it sends its trove of data back to Earth. Stern said just five percent of the data has been transmitted to Earth so far."We are only scratching the surface," Stern said.ABC US News | World NewsCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.