ABC - World News

ABC News(LONDON) -- The family of Harry Dunn, a British teenager who was killed when the wife of an American diplomat crashed into his motorcycle in August , said they learned about the woman's written apology through media reports on Monday and claimed she has yet to contact them directly.

"She's had seven weeks now to try to contact us in any way possible and we've had nothing up until we got advice and reached out to a family friend who's an ex lawyer," Dunn's mother, Charlotte Charles, told ABC News on Monday. "I think she needs to just face what she's done. We're a normal family and we're not out for revenge."

Charles and Dunn's father, Tim Dunn, traveled to the U.S. this week in an effort get justice for their son.

Harry Dunn, 19, was riding his motorcycle along a roadway in the village of Croughton, England, on the night of Aug. 27, when a car traveling in the opposite direction on the wrong side of the road hit him head-on, killing him.

Anne Sacoolas, 42, who is married to an American diplomat, admitted that she was responsible for the crash, but fled the U.K. to the U.S. after apparently claiming diplomatic immunity, which protects diplomats and their family members from prosecution or lawsuits under the host nation's laws.

She issued a statement through her lawyer, apologizing and saying she was "devastated by this tragic accident." But the teen's parents said the apology fell short.

"It's not strong enough," Charles said. "We have not actually been produced with the statement. But it's still only in black and white, isn't it? It's not her voice, it's not her coming to us and saying, 'I'm really sorry.'"

"We know she's going to be devastated, we know her children are going to be traumatized, but she still has her children and she's taken one of ours," she added.

Tim Dunn said he would have considered accepting her apology if it came "maybe a week after the accident or a few days afterwards."

"Now, because she said the statement we feel like it's only because we've done what we have done. So, it sort of forced her to say the statement," Tim Dunn told ABC News.

Sacoolas left England about three weeks after the accident even though she allegedly told U.K. authorities that she would cooperate with the ongoing investigation. Her attorney, Amy Jeffress, said her client wants to meet with the family to apologize and take responsibility. Dunn's parents told ABC News that they would only meet with her if she returned to the U.K. to face the consequences of her actions.

Police intended to arrest and formally interview Sacoolas, and they are "now exploring all opportunities through diplomatic channels to ensure that the investigation continues to progress," according to Northamptonshire Police Superintendent Sarah Johnson.

"Our investigation into the death of Harry Dunn continues at pace," Johnson said in a statement Sunday. "Northamptonshire Police remains absolutely committed to getting Harry and his family justice and we are doing everything on our side to ensure that a full and thorough investigation, with the assistance of all parties involved, takes place, in order for this to be achieved."

In a recent letter to the parents, obtained by ABC News, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab explained that immunity "is no longer relevant" because Sacoolas has returned home to the United States. Raab said he and his staff have been "in constant discussions" with the U.S. government and Embassy officials since the deadly traffic accident occurred over the summer.

"We have pressed strongly for a waiver of immunity, so that justice can be done in Harry's case," the British foreign secretary wrote. "Whilst the U.S. government has steadfastly declined to give that waiver, that is not the end of the matter."

The family, who described their son as "loving" and a "free spirit," who would always stand up for what he believed in, said they were heartbroken beyond measure when they discovered that Sacoolas left the country.

"When she left the country, it made it feel like we lost him again, so we haven't really started to grieve anyway," Tim Dunn said. "I'm not ready to grieve yet. I need to get the justice for Harry and then maybe I can go and cry my heart out."

"It was devastating. It was awful. It was like losing Harry again ... it hurt that much," Tim Dunn said.

The family said they plan to spend their time in the U.S. meeting with journalists and politicians in New York City and Washington, D.C., in an effort to "reach out for support from all Americans and to ask them to put pressure on the U.S. administration to do the right thing."

"Our boy was just so heartfelt and he just stood up for his rights. We know we can't let him down and we can't let his twin brother down," the teen's mother said. "Any closure that we can get would help, but the main closure for us would be her getting on that plane, coming back to the U.K. to meet us and present herself to the police."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



KeithBinns/iStock(LONDON) -- Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, arrived in Pakistan Monday for the start of their five-day official royal tour.

Kate stepped off the plane in Islamabad in an aqua blue shalwar kameez, a traditional style of dress for Pakistani women that features a flowing tunic top over pants.

The outfit was designed by Catherine Walker, one of the royal family's go-to designers who was also a favorite of Prince William's mother, the late Princess Diana.

William and Kate's trip is expected to draw many comparisons to a solo trip Diana made to Pakistan in May 1997, just months before her death.

On Thursday, William and Kate are scheduled to visit the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, which Princess Diana also visited on her trip.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's five-day trip will focus on "showcasing Pakistan as it is today – a dynamic, aspirational and forward-looking nation," according to Kensington Palace. They are visiting the country at the request of the U.K.'s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Like Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, did on their recent tour of South Africa, William and Kate will focus on meeting with and spotlighting young people in Pakistan.

"Access to quality education, particularly to girls and young women, is one of the UK’s top priorities in Pakistan," Kensington Palace said in a statement. "The Duke and Duchess are looking forward to spending time meeting young Pakistanis, and hearing more about their aspirations for the future."

As William and Kate visit with organizations and people in Pakistan, they will be trailed by a very heavy security presence. More than 1,000 police have been deployed in Pakistan to help protect the duke and duchess.

Kensington Palace called the five-day tour the "most complex tour undertaken by The Duke and Duchess to date, given the logistical and security considerations.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



feradz/iStock(MADRID) -- Catalunya took to the streets of Barcelona on Monday after nine separatist leaders were sentenced to between nine and 13 years in prison by the Supreme Court of Madrid. The highest court's stiff decision came after a lengthy trial related to the region's October 2017 "unconstitutional independence referendum" -- a vote that led Catalonia to declare its independence from Spain.

The separatist leaders were found guilty of sedition, disobedience or misuse of public funds. The prosecution had asked for a charge brutal rebellion, which would have carried a sentence up to 25 years in prison, but the seven judges ruled against it.

The four-month trial involved a staggering 422 witnesses and returned Spain to the unusual weeks of October 2017, when Catalunya almost touched a longtime dream of independence. The vote led Spain into its deepest political crisis since the dark years of the Francisco Franco dictatorship in the 1970s.

Among the separatist leaders convicted were former Foreign Minister Raul Romeva, Labor Minister Dolors Bassa and Carme Forcadell, who was speaker of the Catalan Parliament at the time. Forcadell, 64, will serve 11 1/2 years in prison.

Separatist sympathizers called for massive protests following Monday's ruling, attempting to block traffic on major highways and crowded Barcelona's main airport. At El Pratt,110 flights were canceled, according to the Mosos Police. According to authorities, there were 78 people hurt in the massive protests, which brought out riot police and ended with tear gas fired into the crowds.

"I am shocked and mad," said Olivier Pujol, one of the protesters who hit the streets of Barcelona after hearing the judges' decision.

Not far from the famous Ramblas in the capital of Spain's richest region, Pujol told ABC News that despite not being a separatist militant he just wants to have the right to vote.

"These prisoners did not do anything else than asking Spain to respect our right for democracy," he said. "The right to choose."

More than 2 million Catalans voted in October 2017 for Catalunya to become an independent state in the form of a republic, according to the Catalan government. The referendum was unauthorized and took place despite Madrid's opposition, and then lack of recognition.

Adria Alsina Leal, former national secretary of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), confided to ABC News while marching in Monday's protests that the Spanish state decision was an additional humiliation.

"This is heartbreaking moment for pro- and non-separatist supporters who feel attacked by a state which is supposed to protect us and our ideas, and not to destroy our political landscape," Leal said.

The Spanish Justice Ministry defines sedition as allowing public disorder in order to subvert the law.

Indeed, after a few weeks of resistance, Carles Puidgemont,former President of Catalunya region who is currently in exile in Belgium, did read out loud the independence declaration inside the Catalan Parliament after 70 votesin favor, 10 against and 2 blank which made Madrid furious.

Mariano Rajoy, conservative prime minister of Spain at the time of the vote in 2017, suspended the regional power of Catalunya and dissolved the assembly.

After the court made the decision, former Vice President Oriol Junqueras said in a tweet that Catalan independence was closer than ever and said his party will come back stronger, more convinced and firm than ever.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Oleksii Liskonih/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- For over four years, the U.S. armed and fought with Syrian Kurdish forces who served as America's foot soldiers against the Islamic State terror group. But with President Donald Trump pulling American troops out of Syria, those Kurdish forces announced on Sunday that they have a new partner: Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

Alliances in Syria have evolved throughout the country's eight-and-a-half year-old war, but the withdrawal of U.S. forces and the Kurdish alignment with Assad is one of the most dramatic changes that heralds a new chapter in what has already been an unending, horrific conflict.

It gives Assad -- the strongman president who tried to put down an initial rebellion in 2011 with brutal force and has bombed, gassed, tortured, and jailed his own people in the ensuing civil war -- effective control over Kurdish-held territory in the northeast.

That leaves just one pocket of opposition-held territory in the country's northwest, which Assad has moved in recent months to conquer militarily, with air power from his sponsor Russia. But Turkey has troops stationed there as it backs opposition groups, including some with ties to al-Qaeda and other Islamist terrorist groups -- setting up a showdown of Turkish and opposition forces against Syrian and now Kurdish forces.

Here's a look at the key players involved in Syria in what started as a civil war and has mutated into a regional proxy conflict.

Which Kurds?


The Kurds are an ethnic group that have historically inhabited the highlands of Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Iran and Armenia, united across borders by culture and language. They practice different religions, but the majority are Sunni Muslims. They never have had their own country, with each of those nations struggling, to varying degrees, against Kurdish independence movements.

In Turkey, one of those independence movements -- the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK -- is designated a terrorist organization, including by the U.S. since 1997. For decades, Turkey has sought to squash the PKK and experienced PKK terror attacks, which the U.S. has supported its NATO ally against.

But across Turkey's southern border in Syria, the U.S. partnered with Syrian Kurdish forces to fight ISIS. The People's Protection Units, or YPG, were the main fighting forces in the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, which served as the foot soldiers for the U.S. and its global coalition to defeat ISIS. It was a partnership that always angered Turkey, who makes no distinction between the PKK and YPG. But U.S. officials said it was the only option because the U.S. and other countries were unwilling to send troops in and Turkey was unwilling or unable to effectively fight ISIS.

The departing Americans

The U.S. had up to 2,500 troops on the ground in Syria, which were so closely partnering with SDF troops, that the Kurds directly called in U.S. air strikes as they fought block by block to retake cities and towns from ISIS. They lost approximately 11,000 fighters -- male and female -- in that offensive. In the months since the ISIS "caliphate" fell, the U.S. continued to work with the SDF to stabilize liberated areas and eliminate remaining ISIS cells.

But last December, after a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump ordered all U.S. forces out of Syria. That sudden decision led to the resignation of his Defense Secretary James Mattis and special envoy for ISIS Brett McGurk, although eventually it was slowed down as U.S. officials said they wanted to ensure it was a safe and deliberate process.

There are approximately 1,000 American troops in the country now, but nearly all of them will be departing Syria soon, according to the Pentagon. Their departure, announced after another Trump-Erdogan call on Oct. 6, has allowed Turkish forces and their opposition allies to move in against the Kurdish fighters.

Turkey and its rebel allies

That offensive began last week, prompting international condemnation and U.S. sanctions. Turkey has conducted air and artillery strikes against Syrian Kurdish forces as its proxy forces have moved into Kurdish-held territory.

The main fighting force there is the National Army, formerly known as the Free Syrian Army -- a rebel force of Syrian military defectors and ordinary citizens who were armed and trained by the U.S. until Trump came to office and ended the program. They have pushed back into one last pocket in Syria's northwest, where they are boosted by Turkish troops.

But other groups under this opposition umbrella have ties to al-Qaeda, the most powerful of which is Hayat Tahrir al Sham, or HTS, the latest incarnation of the al-Nusra Front, which was al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate.

The Kurds' new ally, Assad

These rebel groups have been Assad's primary target as he moves to retake the last territory out of his control, the Idlib province. In recent months, his troops and allies -- Iran and Hezbollah, the Lebanese paramilitary organization -- have skirmished with rebels there as Russian air strikes bombed cities, including hitting civilian targets. A Turkish convoy was hit in an August air strike, heightening tensions.

After the U.S. withdrew its troops, Kurdish forces reached an agreement with Assad on Sunday. Government troops were already moving into Kurdish-controlled territory for the first time in years. That could block Turkish forces from moving further south into Kurdish-controlled terrain, or set up more direct clashes between two militaries.

Trump said in a tweet on Monday that the U.S. considers Assad "our enemy," and there are extensive sanctions against his regime, Iran and Russia for supporting it, and those that do business with it. But it's unclear if the Kurds will be sanctioned for partnering with him now too. The State Department has not responded to questions about that.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



LewisTsePuiLung/iStock(HONG KONG) -- President Xi Jinping said that those seeking to divide China would be “smashed to pieces” in comments reported by state media Sunday, as protesters gathered for US-themed protests after weekend rallies descended into violence over the weekend.

In the first visit to Nepal by a Chinese president in 23 years, Xi said that “those who engage in separatist activities in any part of China will be smashed into pieces” during a meeting with the Nepalese prime minister K.P. Sharma, according to the state-owned newspaper China Daily, adding that “external support for separatists will be seen by the Chinese people as delusional.”

Although the comments were not made directly in connection with the Hong Kong protests, they followed a weekend of violence in which a bomb exploded and a police officer was stabbed during overnight clashes between protesters and police.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Tang-Ping-keung, warned that “violence against police has reached a life-threatening level” in a press conference Monday.

But the protests continued with an event held in Central Hong Kong in support of the U.S. Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which is pending the approval of Congress. The act, which is believed to have broad bipartisan support, will require the State Department to report annually as to whether Hong Kong is sufficiently autonomous, and assess annually whether “China has eroded Hong Kong's civil liberties and rule of law.” Hong Kong's special status under U.S. law would be contingent on these annual reports. Other provisions of the act would impose a visa ban on anyone found torturing protesters, and allow protesters to still be able to obtain visas for travel to the U.S. even if they have police records from nonviolent protesting.

There is also further legislation pending which could impose export restrictions of certain American products such as tear gas. Senator Rick Scott requested a meeting with the company NonLethal Technologies Inc, after a report by Reuters found that the company had supplied tear gas to Hong Kong police.

A US company is providing tear gas used against pro-democracy fighters in #HongKong.

This week I requested a meeting with the leadership of NonLethal Technologies Inc. As a freedom-loving country we should be supporting freedom around the globe, not hindering it. https://t.co/Z3XaXdDdGP

— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) October 12, 2019

The Hong Kong government today expressed their regret over to proposed bill, saying that foreign legislatures should not interfere in Hong Kong's affairs.

"Since the return to the Motherland, the HKSAR has been exercising 'Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong' and a high degree of autonomy in strict accordance with the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China," a spokesperson for the government said in a statement. "The 'one country, two systems' principle has been fully and successfully implemented. Human rights and freedoms in Hong Kong are fully protected by the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and other legislation. The HKSAR Government attaches great importance to them and is determined to safeguard them."

Footage from the rally shows thousands of protesters, many waving American flags. One speaker asked the crowd “Do we want the help of the U.S.?” The response, an energetic “Yes!” The protest Monday evening received a “Letter of No Objection” from the Hong Kong Police in the increasingly restless economic island hub.

The Republican Senator Josh Hawley spent Sunday evening watching the protestors in Hong Kong, and released a video on social media directly addressed to the protesters expressing solidarity with the movement.

“Sometimes the fate of one city defines the challenge of a whole generation,” he said. “50 years ago it was Berlin, today it is Hong Kong ... The free people of the world are standing with you so that we can all say that we’re Hong Kongers' now.”

My message for the Hong Kong Human Rights & Democracy Act protest today pic.twitter.com/R90KeObggJ

— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 14, 2019

Senator Ted Cruz was also been in Hong Kong over the weekend, but a scheduled meeting with the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong legislature Carrie Lam was cancelled at the last minute. Cruz criticized the NBA last week for apologizing to Chinese officials after the Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of the Hong Kong protesters.

The protest movement began in early June in response to a proposed extradition bill that would have allowed suspected criminals in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China for trial. Since then, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets every weekend.

Lam has since withdrawn the controversial bill, but widespread unrest has continued as demonstrators broadened their demands. Among their demands are a call for an independent inquiry into allegations of police brutality.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Oleksii Liskonih/iStock(LONDON) --  An American diplomat's wife who was involved in a crash that killed a teenager in the United Kingdom is no longer covered by diplomatic immunity, according to British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

In a recent letter to the parents of 19-year-old Harry Dunn, obtained by ABC News, Raab explained that immunity "is no longer relevant" because the diplomat's wife, 42-year-old Anne Sacoolas, has returned home to the United States. Raab said he and his staff have been "in constant discussions" with the U.S. government and embassy officials since the deadly traffic accident occurred over the summer.

"We have pressed strongly for a waiver of immunity, so that justice can be done in Harry's case," the British foreign secretary wrote. "Whilst the U.S. government has steadfastly declined to give that waiver, that is not the end of the matter."

"The question remains when such immunity comes to an end, regardless of any waiver. We have looked at this very carefully, as I wanted to be confident in the position before conveying it to you," Raab continued. "The U.K. government's position is that immunity, and therefore any question of waiver, is no longer relevant in Mrs. Sacoolas' case, because she has returned home. The U.S. have now informed us that they too consider that immunity is no longer pertinent."

Dunn was riding his motorcycle along a roadway in the village of Croughton, England, on the night of Aug. 27, when a car traveling in the opposite direction on the wrong side of the road hit him head-on. The teen was taken to a hospital in the nearby city of Oxford, where he died soon after, according to Northamptonshire Police.

The crash occurred less than a mile down the road from Royal Air Force Croughton, commonly known as RAF Croughton, which is a British military station that houses an intelligence-gathering base operated by the United States Air Force. Sacoolas, whose husband is a U.S. diplomat assigned to the United Kingdom, is believed to have been the one driving the car.

Northamptonshire Police are treating Sacoolas as a suspect in the fatal crash investigation, although they have not officially named her.

Sacoolas fled the United Kingdom after apparently claiming diplomatic immunity, which protects diplomats and their family members from prosecution or lawsuits under the host nation's laws.

Northamptonshire Police superintendent Sarah Johnson said the woman left the country after allegedly telling investigators she had no plans to do so in the near future. Police intended to arrest and formally interview her, and they are "now exploring all opportunities through diplomatic channels to ensure that the investigation continues to progress," according to Johnson.

“Our investigation into the death of Harry Dunn continues at pace," Johnson said in a statement Sunday. "Northamptonshire Police remains absolutely committed to getting Harry and his family justice and we are doing everything on our side to ensure that a full and thorough investigation, with the assistance of all parties involved, takes place, in order for this to be achieved."

Sacoolas' lawyer, Amy Jeffress, said her client has "fully cooperated" with police and wants to meet with Dunn's parents to apologize.

"Anne is devastated by this tragic accident," Jeffress told ABC News in a statement Saturday. "No loss compares to the death of a child and Anne extends her deepest sympathy to Harry Dunn’s family."

"The media reporting has been inaccurate in many respects," she continued. "To begin with, Anne fully cooperated with the police and the investigation. She spoke with authorities at the scene of the accident and met with the Northampton police at her home the following day. She will continue to cooperate with the investigation. Anne would like to meet with Mr. Dunn’s parents so that she can express her deepest sympathies and apologies for this tragic accident. We have been in contact with the family’s attorneys and look forward to hearing from them."

In a sit-down interview with ABC News in London last week, Dunn's parents said they were "shocked" to learn that Sacoolas had left the country after the accident.

"It's hard to understand, for me personally, how anybody could -- even though being an accident -- actually kill somebody, but then up and leave and just walk away from it," said Dunn's father, Tim Dunn.

The family has urged Sacoolas to return.

"Just face up to what you've done," Dunn's mother, Charlotte Charles, said tearfully. "I can't see how you can move on with your family and your life, without facing the family that you've destroyed."

Dunn's parents have traveled to the United States this week to continue seeking justice for their late son. They are meeting with journalists and politicians in New York City and Washington, D.C. "as they reach out for support from all Americans and to ask them to put pressure on the U.S. administration to do the right thing," according to a press release from a family spokesperson.

"Harry's family will simply not leave matters where they are and will do whatever it takes," the spokesperson said, "including taking legal action if necessary."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



MicroStockHub/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The Nobel prize in economics has been awarded to three economists "for their experimntal approach to alleviating global poverty."

Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer were announced as the winners on Monday morning.

Banerjee and Duflo work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Kremer works at Harvard University. Duflo is only the second woman to win the prize after Elinor Ostrom won it in 2009.

The prize is officially known as the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel although. The award, however, was not created by the prize founder but is considered to be a part of the Nobel stable of awards.

The winners will receive a 9 million-kronor ($918,000) cash award, a gold medal and a diploma.

All but the winner of the Peace Prize will receive their awards in Stockholm on Dec. 10 -- the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896.

Six Nobel prizes were awarded last week in the fields of medicine, physics and chemistry plus two literature awards as well as the Nobel Peace Prize which was won by Abiy Ahmed, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, for his work on ending Ethiopia's long-running conflict with Eritrea.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Somaye Malekian/ABC News(TEHRAN, Iran) -- They waved flags. They painted their faces with stripes of green, white and red. They celebrated with blowhorns.

For the first time in four decades, women were allowed to pack into Tehran’s Azadi stadium on Thursday to cheer along with male fans as Iran's national soccer team played a World Cup qualifier against Cambodia.

“It is truly exciting! Enjoying one of my basic rights for the first time,” Zahra Ahooei, 30, told ABC News as she made her way to the stadium, in between cheerfully sending bursts of air into her horn painted the colors of the Iranian flag. She wore the white team jersey and a matching hat that her husband had given her as a gift.

FIFA, the international governing body, has long obliged the Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran, FFIRI, which excludes women from buying match tickets. But after a 30-year-old woman named Sahar Khodayari set herself on fire and died in protest last month following her arrest for trying to enter Azadi Stadium earlier this year, FIFA changed its position.

“Women need to be allowed to enter football matches freely,” FIFA said in a statement at the time, addressing FFIRI.

Inside the stadium, women didn’t miss the chance to shout their demands, besides jubilation.

Some women shouted “Seats are spared, no space for women!" and "The Blue Girl, you are missed!” But the demonstrations were quickly quieted by policewomen who patrolled the stadium.

“Sahar will be greatly missed today," Zahra said. "I am sure everyone will think about her here.”

Another woman, a 25-year-old teacher named Hedyeh, came to the stadium with her friend, Matina, who is also 25. (The women asked that their last names not be disclosed for their security.) Hedyeh said she was disappointed that so many women were stuck outside the stadium while so many seats were empty.

In the days leading up to the match, some officials in President Hassan Rouhani’s administration tried to claim credit for the historic moment.

“The entry of women into the stadium is the result of internal efforts, not external pressure,” Ali Rabiei, spokesman of the government tweeted on Monday, a claim that was followed up on Thursday with the spokesman saying he has mediated for letting some women who did not have tickets to enter the stadiums, as PANA reported on Thursday.

But Iranians quickly rebutted the claims.

“If women are in the stadium today, it is the result of the #BlueGirl’s death. It's not the government's pursuit of women's demands,” Mojgan Jamshidi, a journalist responded to Rabiei’s tweet on Tuesday.

Some women are worried about obstacles that might not let their attendance at the stadiums turn to a routine. For example, Kayhan, a conservative daily affiliated to hardliners, described women who attended the stadium in a front-page headline as “victims of freedom,” on Saturday. A literature which shows hardliners will keep fighting against giving more freedom to women in this regard. However, women hope this time FIFA along public demands can keep the window open.

After the match, which Iran won handily, FIFA issued another statement and called the day a "very positive step forward."

“There can be no stopping or turning back now,” the statement said.

“History teaches us that progress comes in stages and this is just the beginning of a journey,” the statement added.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



iStock(HONG KONG) -- Residents of Hong Kong have convened on the streets in masses for months, demonstrating against Beijing's dominance in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory they call home -- what sets these uprisings apart from pro-democracy movements in the past, however, is that millions of citizens are armed with a stockpile of tech resources.

While pro-democracy protests have flared up in Hong Kong sporadically throughout its history, this most recent bout has carried on for months, and despite not having clear leadership, it has attracted crowds well into the millions. Some demonstrators say new technology, such as encrypted apps, has fueled this new kind of leaderless protest.

Online anonymity and end-to-end encryption is the key, protesters say, as some Hong Kong residents view the technology they use as a double-edged sword that offers a way for Big Brother on the mainland to get a glimpse at their digital lives.

Citizen X, an anonymous frontline protester who asked for his name to not be revealed, told ABC News that being anonymous online is crucial, because of the "terror that is being created" by Chinese authorities.

"We do not have any kind of trust in the police force in Hong Kong now," he added. "And we do not have much trust in the judicial system of Hong Kong right now either."

"The government is using the Public Order Ordinance, which is something that is left over from the colonial era," Citizen X said. "They are very strict; they are very harsh, and they put the protester at a very disadvantaged situation."

Hong Kong's Public Order Ordinance imposes sweeping restrictions on the right to assembly with the goal of maintaining "public order."

"That’s why if we want to continue our fights, if we want to continue to protect our city, we have to remain anonymous," Citizen X said.

Craig Choy, a lawyer from Hong Kong who focuses on privacy and data protection laws, wrote a manual on how to use encrypted apps for the pro-democracy group after the Umbrella Movement in 2014. An updated version of the manual has been distributed to 2019's demonstrators.

Choy told ABC News the way people organize and congregate for protests are through Telegram and Signal, which are messaging apps that offer end-to-end encryption. Telegram is a cloud-based messaging app that boasts on its website that "messages are heavily encrypted and can self-destruct."

In the past, pro-democracy demonstrators relied on now-outdated methods of "publications on Facebook" or "writing articles in the newspapers," Choy said.

"But nowadays a lot of people are using messenger channels," he said. "They are also using other kind of technologies to collaborate, to work together, to make it easier for them to communicate and consolidate and do their call to actions."

Choy said he spent some time protesting in August and received directions and information through Telegram.

Another piece of technology heavily used by protesters is "the LIHKG forum, which is something like Reddit in the U.S.," Choy said. "A lot of people are using it to discuss political ideas; there are lots of discussions there about where they will move, what they will do next."

"People are just throwing out their own ideas. The difference is that everyone is anonymous, people will not judge you whether you are a person with a high position in society or whether you are young or rich," he said. "I think because of that a lot of young people can voice their opinion without the baggage of, 'I'm not high-ranking enough in society.'"

"It's very open," Choy said. "For example the protest in the airport, it didn't really get a lot of support, they thought it was a nuisance to visitors to Hong Kong, that's where they formulated the idea to apologize."

Choy also said Apple's Airdrop technology, which allows users to send text, pictures or information through Bluetooth, is being used to spread news to people who may otherwise not receive it through mass airdrops in public places.

"It's a very efficient way to spread information about the protests," Choy said. "It's also because the older generation they just turn on their Bluetooth without knowing it."

Political activist Glacier Kwong, 23, who has also spent time protesting on the streets in Hong Kong, said technology had played a “vital role throughout the movement.”

The online platforms that are being used to organize mean that there are "many facilitators of the movement," and citizens can "organize themselves without revealing their identity."

In addition to the organizing component, technology is a significant help on the front lines of a protest, Kwong said, where people can be updated with "instant news" about "where is safe, where is not."

Citing the 2014 Umbrella Movement, Kwong said one of the biggest issues for protesters then was that “not everyone agrees with the ‘main organizers’ and there are a lot of debates and conflicts.”

“But this time, because technology enables us to get rid of leaders, everyone can do whatever they see fit,” she said. “And it is also harder for the government to deter people from participating.”

"Because no matter who they arrest, there are no leaders,” she added. “Hence, the others can still organize themselves.”
Online anonymity is crucial because 'retaliation on the protesters are very severe'

As Citizen X said, anonymity is vital for those who choose to protest because it can mean risking their livelihoods.

“Technology is being used against protestors for sure,” Kwong said. “It is highly suspected that Hong Kong-ers data are being collected and send to China as there are no regulations governing data transmission."

Choy added that the same tools they use could be later used to "expose the identities of some people," Choy said. "I think that it's very important because you can also see that retaliation on the protesters are very severe."

Some people "have been fired" from their jobs because their online activity was reported, Choy said. This is why many protesters are wearing masks, goggles and helmets.

Another way people protect their identity is by using code words such as meeting for a "picnic" when they congregate.

One common term is "dreamwalking," Choy said. "Whenever they go for a protest they will say, 'I am going for a dream.'"

"People are very cautious about what they are saying online now," he said. "They don't want direct evidence that can be collected by Hong Kong police online."

Kwong said she sees online anonymity as “necessary for the advancement of human rights" because it "allows individuals to exercise their freedom of speech and freedom of assembly online."
As tech is being used as a tool, companies like Apple are being dragged in the middle

Apple recently was accused by critics of bowing to pressure from China after it removed a police-tracking app, HKMap.live, from the App Store. Apple defended its decision in a statement saying it has learned that the app "has been used in ways that endanger law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong."

"The app displays police locations, and we have verified with the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau that the app has been used to target and ambush police, threaten public safety, and criminals have used it to victimize residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement," the statement added. "This app violates our guidelines and local laws, and we have removed it from the App Store."

While the app lives on in a web server and on Android devices, Choy said he believes Apple's decision will have a "chilling effect" on other app developers and companies who support Hong Kong.

"A lot of these companies nowadays are facing pressure from China," Choy said. "The technology is neutral. By itself, it's not evil or good, it's how people use it that matters."

Moreover, Choy said Apple's move to delete the app is "actually putting the protesters in a very dangerous position."

"Lots of people nowadays, they use that app to know where the police officers are, especially in Hong Kong police brutality is very serious now, and none of them wear the badges and lots of protesters are going on the street and risking their lives," he said. "Even though they are facing police brutality, they have no way to complain."

"A not very brave protester like me would need this app so that I could locate a police officer, so I could get out of this dangerous scene," Choy said.

Apple taking a stand like this will cause other app developers to "think second thoughts" about what kind of apps they make, Choy said, and if they want to stand with Hong Kong.

Citizen X said Apple's decision shows that no one is immune to China's threats.

"As we see in recent years, the Chinese rise in power in economic perspective, power in a political perspective, it is constantly exerting influence over other countries, over international community and so on," he said. "That’s why we see Apple has to succumb to the threat of the Chinese government and the Chinese authority to impose some restriction on the application on the Apple store."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



MivPiv/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The United States is deploying thousands of additional U.S. forces to Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the Iran's attack on Saudi oil facilities in September, the Pentagon announced on Friday. The deployment includes fighter squadrons, early detection aircraft, and air defense systems.

"[Defense] Secretary Esper informed Saudi Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Muhammad bin Salman this morning of the additional troop deployment to assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia," said Chief Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman in a statement on Friday. "Taken together with other deployments, this constitutes an additional 3,000 forces that have been extended or authorized within the last month."

The U.S. is sending two fighter squadrons, one air expeditionary wing, two Patriot Batteries, and one Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) to Saudi Arabia. The air expeditionary wing can be comprised of tankers, fighters, surveillance and reconnaissance, and the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), a U.S. official tells ABC News.

The U.S. aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln has been in the Gulf region since May and is expected to depart later this year. The carrier will likely to not be replaced because the USS Harry S. Truman remains in Norfolk, Virginia for unscheduled repairs to its electrical systems.

The new aircraft deployment is not meant to make up for the potential lack of a U.S. carrier in the region but is intended to back fill the squadrons of aircraft the U.S. sent to the region earlier this summer after Iran carried out a series of attacks on commercial shipping and downed an American drone. The squadrons sent during that time were not originally scheduled to be replaced.

"Since May, the Department of Defense has increased the number of forces by approximately 14,000 to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility as an investment into regional security," Hoffman said. "As we have stated, the United States does not seek conflict with the Iranian regime, but we will retain a robust military capability in the region that is ready to respond to any crisis and will defend U.S. forces and interest in the region."

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



BrianAJackson/iStock(LONDON) — A man has been arrested on suspicion of "terrorism offenses" after a man with a knife stabbed three people in a busy shopping center in Manchester, England.

The suspect, a man in his 40s, has been arrested in connection with the multiple stabbings at the Arndale Center on Friday morning. Video footage circulated on social media showed the purported suspect being arrested by police officers armed with stun guns. He was initially arrested at the scene on suspicion of "serious assault," although the incident is now suspected to be terror-related.

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson told reporters that the man had been arrested on “suspicion of terrorism offenses” but they do not believe there is a wider threat at this time, describing the incident as an “awful attack.”

@MENnewsdesk guy being held by police with a tazer outside the arndale pic.twitter.com/O8y0786CEw

— John Greenhalgh (@JohnGre07881147) October 11, 2019

“Specialist officers are continuing to respond to an incident at the Arndale shopping centre in #Manchester city centre," Greater Manchester Police said in a statement. "In these early stages we are keeping an open mind about the motivation of this terrible incident and the circumstances as we know them. Given the location of the incident and its nature officers from Counter Terrorism Police North West are leading the investigation as we determine the circumstances. A man in his 40s – who was arrested at the scene on suspicion of serious assault – remains in custody for questioning.”

In total five people were injured in the attack, with two women and a man are being treated in hospital with stab wounds. The condition of the two women being treated with "stab injuries" is described as "stable," while the man is being treated with "stab wounds," police said. A fourth woman, who was not stabbed, was treated by paramedics on the scene, and was deemed to not require hospital treatment.

Police are now appealing for footage and images of the incident on social media.

The investigation is looking into "what the man said" during the incident to determine whether the stabbings were terror-related, according to the Manchester Evening News.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed his "shock" and praised the response of the emergency services in the aftermath of the attack.

"Shocked by the incident in Manchester and my thoughts are with the injured and all those affected," he said in a tweet. "Thank you to our excellent emergency services who responded and who are now investigating what happened."

Earlier this year a police officer was among three people stabbed on New Year's Eve in Manchester, England, in what authorities investigated as a "terrorist incident." The city was also the site of a suicide bombing at at an Ariana Grande concert in 2017, which left 22 killed and 59 injured.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



NataliaCatalina/iStock(LONDON) -- Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has a message for young girls as the world celebrates International Day of the Girl.

"Every girl has potential. She has promise. She has the right to learn, the right to be heard, the right to play and to discover. The right to be exactly who she is," Meghan said in a video shared Friday on the @SussexRoyal Instagram account. "So to each one of you, keep asking questions. Keep pushing forward. Keep shining brightly. Know your worth and know that we are behind you every step of the way."

The video narrated by Meghan also includes a throwback clip of a pre-teen Meghan talking about how she took action at age 11 when she was offended by a commercial for a dishwashing liquid that said in its tagline, “Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.”

Meghan, who grew up in California, wrote a series of letters that she claims changed how women were portrayed in a commercial for dish soap.

"If you see something that you don't like or are offended by, on television or any other place, write letters and send them to the right people," the young Meghan says in the throwback clip. "And you can really make a difference for not just yourself but lots of other people."

The now Duchess of Sussex also shared in the Instagram post a quote she said in a speech in Cape Town during her recent 10-day tour of South Africa with Prince Harry: “Visualize your highest self, and show up as her.”

"To all of the young girls reading this today on International Day of the Girl, that quote is for you," the post reads.

It is no surprise that Meghan chose to speak out on a day devoted to women's empowerment. The duchess has made women a focus of her work as a royal, including supporting women-focused charities in the U.K., launching a fashion capsule collection to benefit women and spotlighting women at events both home in the U.K. and abroad.

When Meghan had the opportunity to guest-edit British Vogue's September issue this year, she used the platform to spotlight activist women like maternal rights advocate and model Christy Turlington, feminist and actress Yara Shahidi and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in an issue she named "Forces for Change."

Meghan, a self-described feminist, also advocated for women when she worked as an actress, before she wed Prince Harry.

"I am proud to be a woman and a feminist," Markle said in a 2015 speech in her role as a United Nations Women advocate for political participation and leadership.

"It isn’t enough to simply talk about equality. One must believe in it," she said in the speech. "And it isn’t enough to simply believe in it. One must work at it. Let us work at it, together, starting now."

While making a name for herself in Hollywood, Markle worked on women's rights issues with organizations including World Vision, the Myna Mahila Foundation and One Young World, in addition to the United Nations.

On International Women's Day in 2017, Markle wrote an essay on period shaming based on her experience visiting India as an ambassador for World Vision, a global Christian humanitarian organization.

"We need to push the conversation, mobilize policy making surrounding menstrual health initiatives, support organizations who foster girls' education from the ground up," she wrote in Time magazine. "And within our own homes, we need to rise above our puritanical bashfulness when it comes to talking about menstruation.”

While Meghan was dating Harry, she hinted that she had found her match in him as a feminist.

She responded to a well-wisher who told her, "It's great having a feminist in the royal family," by saying, "He's a feminist too," in an apparent reference to Harry.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



rrodrickbeiler/iStock(LONDON) -- Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which is responsible for selecting the Nobel Peace Prizes, decided to award this year's prize to Ahmed "for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea."

"The prize is also meant to recognize all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions," the committee said in a statement Friday.

Along with the notoriety, Ahmed will receive a cash award of 9 million Swedish krona, or about $915,000.

In Ethiopia, the prime minister wields the executive power; and the position of president, while it carries significant social influence, is largely a ceremonial post.

Abiy, 43, became the prime minister of Ethiopia in April 2018. He spent his first few months in office freeing thousands of the country's political prisoners, lifting media censorship and appointing women ministers to a record 50 percent of his cabinet. He also spearheaded a peace agreement to end 20 years of frozen conflict between his nation and Eritrea.

Following the 1998 war over their shared border, which claimed the lives of more than 80,000 people, Ethiopia and Eritrea became locked in a stalemate of neither peace nor war -- until last year. On July 9, 2018, Abiy flew to Eritrea's capital and embraced the country's president, Isaias Afwerki, to usher in a new era of peace and friendship. The two leaders then jointly declared an end to the hostilities as well as the resumption of trade and diplomatic ties.

"Peace does not arise from the actions of one party alone," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in its statement Friday. "When Prime Minister Abiy reached out his hand, President Afwerki grasped it, and helped to formalize the peace process between the two countries."

The committee acknowledged that "many challenges remain unsolved" in Ethiopia, Africa's second most populous country, where ongoing ethnic violence as well as conflict over land and resources have displaced millions of people. The committee said it hopes that the Nobel Peace Prize will strengthen Abiy "in his important work for peace and reconciliation."

"In Ethiopia, even if much work remains, Abiy Ahmed has initiated important reforms that give many citizens hope for a better life and a brighter future," the committee said. "No doubt some people will think this year’s prize is being awarded too early. The Norwegian Nobel Committee believes it is now that Abiy Ahmed’s efforts deserve recognition and need encouragement."

Last year's Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad "for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict."

Peace was the fifth and final prize category that Swedish inventor and scholar Alfred Nobel mentioned in his last will and testament. He left most of his fortune to be dedicated to the series of awards, the Nobel Prizes.

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded annually to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses," as described in Nobel's will.

All Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, except for the Nobel Peace Prize, which is presented in Oslo, Norway.

To date, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate is Malala Yousafzai, who was 17 years old when awarded the 2014 Peace Prize.

One person has declined the Peace Prize -- Le Duc Tho -- who was awarded the prize with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1973 for negotiating the Vietnam peace agreement.

Of the 106 individuals awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, 17 are women.

Ten years ago, former President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for what the Norwegian Nobel Committee called "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



iStock(NEW YORK) -- Egypt, as part of a larger effort to ramp up tourism, has unveiled a 3,500-year-old industrial area, a first-of-its-kind collection of artifacts, on the west bank of the Nile River in Luxor.

The discovery in the Western Valley, also known as the Valley of the Monkeys, dates to the New Kingdom's 18th Dynasty, approximately 1543–1292 B.C., the antiquities ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, who spearheaded a two-year excavation in the area, said the site includes 30 workshops where funeral furniture for royal tombs was made.

The team also discovered an oven used to produce clay products, a water storage tank, two silver rings and objects used to decorate royal coffins, Hawass said at a press conference in Luxor, according to the statement.

Hawass' team also uncovered a royal tomb that contained tools used in tomb construction.

A mission launched by Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 19th century discovered a few items at this site, which otherwise remained untapped until a new excavation in 2011. That mission was halted, and Hawass returned to the site in 2017.

Work is currently underway in the Western Valley to find the tombs of Queen Nefertiti and the wife of boy-king Tutankhamun, Hawass added.

In April, archaeologists unveiled an expansive tomb on Luxor's west bank that also dates to the 18th dynasty, believed to have belonged to a nobleman named Shedsu Djehuty.

The west bank of the Nile in Luxor also is home to the Valley of the Kings, a major site where pharaohs and nobles of the New Kingdom were buried.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



mason01/iStock(VATICAN CITY) — Pope Francis and over 200 bishops, indigenous leaders and climate change experts convened in the Vatican on Monday to discuss issues related to the Amazon rainforest region.

The gathering, called a synod, opened Monday with a festive procession that started in St. Peter’s Basilica and moved through St. Peter’s Square.

On Monday in his opening address, Pope Francis urged the bishops to pray a lot, reflect, dialogue and listen with humility -- and be open to new thinking. He warned against a "homogenizing centralism" in the church driven by ideology and urged to "approach Amazon peoples on tiptoes, respecting their history, their culture and their style of good living."

He stressed that the church’s approach was "far removed" from colonial ones "that destroy the distinctiveness of people."

"May God preserve us from the greed of new forms of colonialism," he said at the synod. "The fire set by interests that destroy, like the fire that recently devastated Amazonia, is not the fire of the Gospel."

The fire that destroys, he said "blazes up when people want to promote only their own ideas, form their own groups, wipe out differences in the attempt to make everyone and everything uniform."

Francis has made preservation of the planet a focus issue throughout his papacy and passionately argued for defending the poor and their natural environment in his 2015 encyclical letter, "Laudato Si."

On trips around the world, Francis, the first pope from South America, has drawn attention to indigenous communities and asked that they are listened to as equals instead of as minorities. He has often denounced their exploitation by governments and businesses that plunder their lands and natural resources.

The purpose of the gathering is to discuss the Amazon region’s cultural, ecological and spiritual problems and identify new ways for the Catholic Church to minister to its people. The vast area which spans nine countries -- Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname -- has approximately 34 million inhabitants, including 3 million indigenous people from nearly 400 ethnic groups who speak over 200 languages.

The Catholic Church's challenge is immense, especially since the region has a lack of priests. Some rural indigenous communities, often only accessible by boat, may see a priest just once a year.

To address this regional shortage in the more remote areas, some have raised the possibility of making married men from the local communities’ priests and strengthening women’s ministerial roles, many of whom are already doing the largest share of ministering to these communities.

The synod has sparked a great deal of controversy before its start. A conservative Catholic minority, opponents of this pope, which include a few cardinals, are against debating the proposal to allow the region’s married elders to become priests and elevating women’s ministerial roles.

There also have been accusations of heresy and apostasy from some dissenting Catholics who view this gathering as the church ‘’maneuvering to re-establish institutional primacy’’ in a once-Catholic territory that now sees the fast advancement of evangelism and Pentecostal Protestantism.

Another criticism related to this synod has been over bishops granted permission to wear clerical suits instead of cassocks in the synod hall and female experts and auditors able to sit where they wish, not just in back rows, as was the rule in previous synods.

On social media others have criticized Francis for his welcoming and greeting indigenous people who had come to the Vatican for the synod. During his opening address, the pope reacted to a negative comment made about the feathered headdress worn by an indigenous man at the opening mass.

"I was very saddened to hear, right here, a sarcastic comment about that pious man who brought the offerings with feathers on his head. Tell me, what difference is there in having feathers on your head and the three-cornered hat worn by some officials of our dicasteries?" referring to the three-pointed red birettas worn by cardinals.

The synod ends Oct. 27.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Listener Poll
IT'S FAIR SEASON TIME! WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE?
Add a Comment
(Fields are Optional)

Your email address is never published.

Find Us On Facebook