6:00pm - 6:00pm
banner banner banner banner banner banner
Infinite Menus, Copyright 2006, OpenCube Inc. All Rights Reserved. Friday, April 29, 2016
World
Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Puerto Rico is facing its biggest debt deadline yet on May 1, but Congress, which experts say is the territory's only hope, likely won't be doing anything about it.

“Congress holds keys to solving the situation," economist Aleksandar Tomic told ABC News about the territory's $73 billion debt crisis.

On May 1, a $422 million payment is due to Puerto Rico's Government Development Bank, its biggest yet. Its upcoming deadline of $2 billion looms even more ominously. There is one immediate way that Congress could help, Tomic said, which is re-instating Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection afforded to mainland municipalities. That provision was stripped of Puerto Rico by Congress in 1984 and there is no real reason Congress could not re-instate it, according to Tomic.

"This would allow Puerto Rico to try and engage debt holders in restructuring efforts that might help avoid the dire economic consequences of full bankruptcy," said Tomic, Boston College's Woods College of Advancing Studies program director of Master of Science in Applied Economics.

In June, the territory's governor declared that it could not pay its debts. Since then, there's been little done to help the territory's debt crisis, thought 3.5 million American citizens reside there. The unemployment rate in Puerto Rico is 11.8 percent, while its population has shrunk by more than 5 percent in the last decade. Meanwhile, the cost of living has skyrocketed as per capita income is as low $19,000 per year.

The Puerto Rican debt is small enough that any default will not, in and of itself, create a significant economic event on the mainland, nor in the world financial system, Tomic said.

"However, it will be catastrophic for Puerto Rico, as island government might not be able to provide even the basic services," Tomic said. "The exodus of businesses and populations will continue, and the territory will fall deeper into a downward spiral of missing debt payments, shrinking economy, and exodus of an able-bodied and employable population."

On Tuesday, Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Congress won't be acting to push legislation to help Puerto Rico in time for the May 1 deadline.

“Congress can, of course, bail out Puerto Rico, and for all the political grandstanding currently taking place, this option might become viable if the plight of Puerto Rico's population gains enough media attention," Tomic said.

Beside Congress' inaction, Puerto Rico also faces legal battles between the bondholders and the territory's government, "but these are par for the course in any bankruptcy situation," Tomic said.

McCarthy has said he isn't in favor of a bailout.

A draft bill has been stuck with the House Natural Resources Committee, which would have put into place a restructuring of Puerto Rico's $70 billion debt had the scheduled committee action taken place on April 14.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- At least three children and six medical staff were among the 27 killed after overnight airstrikes hit a hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders in the Syrian city of Aleppo, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The city's last pediatrician was among the dead, the group said.

The airstrikes in Aleppo are part of a new wave of aerial bombings being conducted by the Syrian government in rebel-held areas, with more than 60 people now dead in less than 24 hours. The Syrian military said it did not target the hospital, but the building was destroyed by at least one strike, according to hospital staff on the ground with the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders, also known by its French acronym, MSF.

"What we lost yesterday [Wednesday] cannot be replaced. Just the thought that there is no longer any pediatrician in Aleppo gives me a big fear," said Noor al-Khatib, a resident of Aleppo and a member of the Syrian Network for Human Rights, who uses a pseudonym out of fear of government harassment. "It’s hard to describe how I feel. It’s a real disaster that will lead to more people dying of diseases, especially children and elderly people."

Violence is escalating in Aleppo and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said the city is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster.

Karim al-Saleh, al-Khatib's husband who is a doctor in Aleppo, said that people are dying because of lack of medical resources and that he fears it will only get worse after the attack.

"Diseases like pneumonia are already hard to treat because we don’t have the right medicine and have to find temporary solutions," he told ABC News. "It’s already a really bad situation and we will see many more deaths now."

An estimated 250,000 people have stayed in Aleppo amidst an ongoing civil war, which has torn the country apart since 2011, while millions have fled Syria.

The increased violence has undermined United Nations-led peace talks in recent weeks.

"Wherever you are, you hear explosions of mortars, shelling and planes flying over," Valter Gros, of the ICRC, said in the statement. "There is no neighborhood of the city that hasn’t been hit. People are living on the edge. Everyone here fears for their lives and nobody knows what is coming next."

President Obama announced this week the deployment of 250 more U.S. troops to Syria, saying it's an effort to keep up momentum in the campaign against ISIS.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- SpaceX wants to send an unmanned mission to Mars by 2018 -- a feat that could give NASA insights about a future crewed mission to the Red Planet.

The privately held space company announced on Wednesday it plans to send one of its Dragon 2 spacecraft on a test flight to the Red Planet, where it could yield valuable information about landing large payloads on the surface.

NASA will offer SpaceX technical support, including access to the Deep Space Network, in exchange for data on Martian entry, descent and landing, according to a blog post from Deputy Administrator Dava Newman. SpaceX will fund the mission.

"Sending astronauts to Mars, which will be one of the greatest feats of human innovation in the history of civilization, carries with it many, many puzzles to piece together," Newman wrote.

The ability to slow down a spacecraft after it has been traveling at a high velocity is required for a long-haul mission -- and the data NASA receives from SpaceX could be crucial about informing a future mission to the Red Planet. NASA showed off the heat shield technology it may use on Mars earlier this year, which will help protect a spacecraft from the heat of atmospheric entry and provide a softer landing.

While a mission to Mars isn't being targeted until the 2030s, NASA said with today's technology it would take about eight months to travel to the Red Planet. SpaceX plans to launch its Dragon 2 on the back of a Falcon Heavy rocket, which is so powerful it can blast off carrying a payload as heavy as a commercial jetliner packed with hundreds of passengers, luggage and fuel.

SpaceX CEO and Lead Designer Elon Musk tweeted that although his Dragon 2 spacecraft is designed to land anywhere in the solar system, it would be a less-than-ideal vessel for the journey to Mars since it offers about as much space as an SUV.

While space aficionados will have to wait for more details on the Mars launch plans, the company is set for another rocket launch and landing attempt next month.

The company's next satellite launch is scheduled for May 3, a company representative told ABC News Thursday. While SpaceX will once again try to land its Falcon 9 booster at sea after sending the payload into orbit, the particular rocket used in this launch won't be the one SpaceX landed on a ship during the historic April 8 mission.

That rocket is undergoing testing and once it's certified for re-use, could fly again as early as June, according to Musk.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two people thought to be missing in Jamaica after disembarking a cruise ship have been found alive and are trying to find their way back to the U.S.

Authorities in Jamaica were searching for an American couple, Hayden Gerson, 33, and Alisha Frank, 32, who were last seen by cruise staff on Tuesday morning after arriving in Trelawny via the Falmouth cruise port. But it turned out that the pair just missed the ship as it left Jamaica.

Gerson's mother, Margot, told ABC News that she recently spoke to him, and that he and Frank are safe and plan to return to San Diego, adding that they're embarrassed that they missed the cruise.

The couple disembarked the cruise around 9:26 a.m. Tuesday, purportedly intending to make a trip to Montego Bay, according to the Jamaican Constabulary Force.

Police confirmed to ABC News the couple was on board the Royal Caribbean ship Oasis of the Seas. Royal Caribbean told ABC News that the couple asked to disembark the ship and was escorted to immigration.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Ed Balls. The name may not mean a lot to an American audience but over the pond, it is a name celebrated every year in 140 characters or fewer -- 133 fewer to be precise.

Every year, British Twitter users celebrate April 28 as the unofficial holiday of "Ed Balls Day."

It all started five years ago. Ed Balls, who was the finance chief for the opposition Labour Party at the time, tweeted out his own name: Ed Balls. It was his first tweet, and one that immediate sparked a meme.

Ed Balls

— Ed Balls (@edballs) April 28, 2011

The post has so far been retweeted more than 70,000 times and has received more than 37,000 likes. The story behind the famous tweet is that Balls’ aides had encouraged him to search for his own name on Twitter to see what people were writing about him. When he tried to follow their advice, he accidentally tweeted out his name instead of searching for it.

Since then, the Twitter fail has been celebrated every year. On Thursday, Google said that interest in Ed Balls increased more than 2,500 percent.

The hashtag #EdBallsDay has been trending on Twitter in the U.K. and people have tweeted out thousands of jokes about the five-year old mistake.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(AUGSBURG, Germany) -- A city in Germany has installed special traffic lights for smartphone users.

LED lights have been embedded in the sidewalks at two locations in the city of Augsburg as a test that could be expanded elsewhere depending on results.

"Societies have changed, people look downwards now," Michael Nessler, spokesman for the city's public transport company told ABC News.

People should keep looking at normal traffic lights, Nessler said, but after a fatal accident involving an oblivious teenager last year, the company decided to explore solutions.

"There have been mixed feelings,” Nessler said. “Many people are saying it's a great idea and others believe smartphone users should be responsible.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Lightning struck at least two planes Wednesday night as they approached London's Heathrow Airport.

British Airways flight BA857, departing from Prague, and Icelandair flight 454 from Reykjavik were both hit by lightning on their way to London.

"There was a very loud noise and a really bright light," Catherine Mayer, a passenger on the Icelandair flight, told ABC News.

Mayer, founder of the British Women’s Equality Party, was on her way to London to vote for her own party for the first time, on May 5. When the plane dropped through the clouds, the aircraft flew into a storm and the lightning struck.

"I thought: ‘I can’t die. I have to vote,’" Mayer said.

After the plane landed safely at about 8 p.m., the pilot said, "You may have noticed a lightning strike," according to Mayer, adding that everyone started laughing.

"It happened so close to the point of landing that we didn’t have much time to worry about it," she said. "When we landed, everyone went, ‘Oh, my God, we just survived a lightning strike.’"

An Icelandair spokesman confirmed the incident, saying the aircraft was inspected after landing for safety reasons. "The lightning strike did not cause damage to the aircraft and the aircraft was returned to service after that inspection," he told ABC News.

As for the plane from Prague, "The flight landed safely, and underwent an inspection before it returned to service," a British Airways spokesman told ABC News of the flight that landed less than 90 minutes after the other. "Lightning strikes are fairly common, and aircrafts are designed to cope with them."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

File photo. iStock/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) — Russia launched its first rocket Thursday from a huge new spaceport it has been building in the country’s far east, overcoming jitters it might not proceed after a glitch Wednesday delayed the launch even as President Vladimir Putin watched.

The Soyuz rocket took off early Friday morning local time from the new launch site in the Amur region, close to the Chinese border, carrying three observation satellites, Russian state television said. All three satellites reached their correct orbit destinations, according to the report. The day before, the launch had been halted less than two minutes before liftoff, under the eyes of Putin, who had flown 5,600 miles to be present at what Russian media and officials had been touting as a major event for the country.

The rocket’s automated control system automatically interrupted the launch, the head of Russia’s space corporation, Roscosmos, told the TASS news agency, citing a fault in the craft’s cabling. A whirl of justifications and fretting about the bug followed, including speculation that Putin was furious after he publicly reprimanded the head of Russia’s space program and criticized the country’s space industry for “slovenliness.”

Thursday, however, Putin, who stayed on an extra day at the site, congratulated workers on the successful launch, saying it was something to be proud of.

"The main thing is that this launch pad is now working,” Putin told the spaceport workers, TASS reported. “In principle, we could have held the launch yesterday, but the equipment overdid its job and stopped the launch. This is a normal thing."

The successful launch inaugurates the Vostochnii spaceport that has become a Kremlin flagship project and gives Russia its first domestic civilian launch facility since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Russia leases the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan, a famed Soviet-era facility from where many U.S. astronauts have taken off.

Although Russia’s lease of Baikonur runs until 2050, Moscow has determined it needs a launch-site on its own territory.

The new spaceport is a huge project, planned to stretch 430 square miles and eventually to include housing for up to 30,000 people. The costs are similarly large, totaling around $2.7 billion. But since construction began in 2012, the site has been plagued by corruption scandals and delays. Putin last year dispatched a close apparatchik to get construction back on track.

But the scrubbed launch on Wednesday was an uneasy reminder for Russia’s space industry of continuing troubles: Multiple Russian cargo rockets have exploded on takeoff in recent years, leading to criticism the sector is in crisis. Following its Soviet heyday, Russia’s space program has suffered from resource cuts and a brain drain.

NASA relies on Russian craft, launching from Baikonur, to get its astronauts into space, following the retirement of the space shuttle. U.S. astronauts already train at facilities in Russia and it is possible they might one day take off from the new spaceport.

But growing tensions with Russia, following the Ukraine crisis and aggressive rhetoric from Moscow, have led U.S. officials to begin searching for alternative routes for getting U.S. astronauts into space.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Air Force signed an $83 million contract for the private space-firm, Space X, to launch a GPS satellite, the first competitive tender for space launches by the military in a decade, Reuters reported.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

File photo. iStock/Thinkstock(CEREDIGION, Wales) — Pero, a real-life “Homeward Bound” dog, traveled over 240 miles from a farmhouse in Cumbria, England, only to return to his old home in Ceredigion, Wales, his latest owners say.

Alan and Shan James, who live on a Welsh farm with about 3,000 sheep and a few sheepdogs, had recently given their 4-year-old pup to an English farmer “who was in need of a sheepdog to work with a motorbike and a smaller flock of sheep,” Shan James said.

The Jameses thought it would be a good opportunity for Pero to show what he could do and put his skills to use, given that he was good at doing similar work on their farm.

But Pero had a different plan.

Pero’s new owner notified the Jameses that he escaped on April 8 when the farmer took him out on the farm. Pero ran across the field and never came back, James said.

The farmer also told her that Pero wasn’t working out well.

Initially, they thought he would return to his new home in Cumbria, but instead he ended up back at the Jameses’ farm 12 days and 240 miles later.

James said that after her husband came in for supper last Wednesday evening, he went back outside and discovered Pero waiting for him.

She described Pero as “being very happy and excited to see him. He was turning circles and jumping up and down.”

Pero had lost a bit of weight and had a limp but, overall, he was in good condition. “He’s a strong dog that survived quite well,” James said.

When asked whether they planned to send him off again, she said, “he can happily stay.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wants to send an unmanned mission to Mars by 2018.

The privately held space company announced Wednesday it plans to send one of its Dragon spacecraft on a test flight to the Red Planet, where it could yield valuable information about landing large payloads on the surface. The findings could help Musk one day fulfill his goal of colonizing Mars.

NASA has estimated a trip to Mars could take eight months via rocket. Musk tweeted that although his Dragon 2 rocket is designed to land anywhere in the solar system, it would be a less-than-ideal vessel for the journey to Mars since it offers about as much space as an SUV.

But wouldn't recommend transporting astronauts beyond Earth-moon region. Wouldn't be fun for longer journeys. Internal volume ~size of SUV.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 27, 2016

Last year, SpaceX showed off an animation of its Falcon Heavy rocket, which is so powerful it can blast off carrying a payload as heavy as a commercial jetliner packed with hundreds of passengers, luggage and fuel.

While space aficionados will have to wait for more details on the Mars launch plans, the company is set for another rocket launch and landing attempt next month.

The company's next satellite launch is scheduled for May 3, a company representative told ABC News Wednesday. While SpaceX will once again try to land its Falcon 9 booster at sea after sending the payload into orbit, the particular rocket used in this launch won't be the one SpaceX landed on a ship during the historic April 8 mission.

That rocket is undergoing testing and once it's certified for re-use, could fly again as early as June, according to Musk.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A lamb born without fleece on an English farm has been adorned with a man-made coat to keep him warm.

The wool-less lamb, which looks nothing like a typical sheep, was abandoned by its mother and is now being raised by farm owner Sally-Ann Fisher.

"He looks like a kangaroo," Fisher told BBC News, hence his name Skippy - the main character from an Australian TV series "Skippy the Bush Kangaroo."

Fisher thinks Skippy also looks like a "freak of nature" whose hand-made wool has become the talk of the town.

"We've made a little jacket for him to wear out of an old jumper to keep him warm at night," Fisher said.

Experts in the sheep industry say the condition is extremely rare.

"I've never heard or seen anything like this before," Peter Orwick, executive director of the American Sheep Industry Association, told ABC News.

Despite his setback, Skippy is skipping along just fine.

"He's just unlucky, but he's doing great," Fisher said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

NASA(NEW YORK) -- NASA's Cassini space probe is preparing for its swan song before its programmed crash into Saturn next year.

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.

The final act is being referred to as the "grand finale" and is expected to bring the closest look ever at Saturn up until minutes before its fatal impact.

While the end is near, Cassini still has work to do. Later this year, the probe will fly above Saturn's north pole and will probe the plume created by active geysers on Enceladus, Saturn's sixth-largest moon but one of the most intriguing due to its global ocean and internal heat, making it a potential place where life could exist. It will also perform 12 flybys of Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

Cassini's wild final act will then commence as it maneuvers between Saturn's rings 22 times, getting its closest look yet at the planet until taking a fatal plunge through Saturn's atmosphere, collecting data of its final minutes in space.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A distraught mother looked on in horror as a cruise ship left her behind, sailing from its dock in the Bahamas with her children on board.

Video taken by a passenger on board the ship shows the mother after she dropped to her knees with her hands in the air, apparently screaming, "My kids are on here!" according to the narrator who filmed the incident.

"You see that right there? That is someone that has missed the boat," the narrator says. "And, apparently, she has her kids on the boat, and she’s not on there."

The ship, the Norwegian Breakaway, was sailing a seven-night cruise, beginning in New York on April 17, when it stopped in Nassau, Norwegian Cruise Line said in a statement. On Thursday, the mother did not return to the ship by the "widely communicated scheduled all aboard time of 5:30 p.m.," the company said.

Cruise staff located the woman's husband and her children on board the ship but were unable to reach her and did not know when she was returning, according to Norwegian. After the ship waited an extra 30 minutes for her, her husband agreed to disembark with their travel documents to wait for his wife while the children stayed on board with their uncle and his family for the remainder of the trip.

Norwegian offered travel and lodging assistance to the couple, they said, and made arrangements to reunite them with their family at the ship's next port.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Stocktrek Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The number of innocent people who have lost their lives to airstrikes, car bombs and suicide belts has increased dramatically over the last five years.

More than 33,000 civilians were killed or injured by explosive weapons in 2015 -- that’s a 50 percent increase in five years, according to a new report from the Action on Armed Violence, a U.K.-based organization that aims to reduce global armed violence.

When explosives are used to attack populated areas, such as towns or cities, more than 90 percent of the people who die or are injured are civilians, the study states.

“We acknowledge the right for states to protect themselves, but the use of weaponry that is both inaccurate and causes wide-area effects we believe put civilians in incredible danger,” Iain Overton, AOAV’s director of policy and investigations, told ABC News. “We call on states to refrain from using explosive weapons in populated areas.”

In Turkey, the number of civilian deaths caused by explosives increased by 7,682 percent last year alone, according to the study. The country is not only seeing a rise in civilian deaths because of the conflict between Turkey and Kurdish militants, but also because of several high-profile suicide attacks carried out by groups with links to ISIS.

Last year, 21 countries saw suicide bomb attacks, the largest number of countries ever affected by such attacks in a single year based on AOAV’s research.

Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Nigeria and Afghanistan had the highest number of civilian deaths and injuries in 2015. More than 10,000 deaths and injuries were recorded by AOAV in Syria.

“The mass diaspora of refugees we see in the gates of Europe is directly fueled by the use of explosive weapons in places like Syria and Iraq,” said Overton.

When world leaders meet for the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul next month, one of the topics on the agenda will be how to spare civilians from violent attacks.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Ark of Noah Foundation(NEW YORK) -- One Christian organization is hoping to bring a story from the Bible to life.

The group Ark of Noah hopes to set sail in a "replica" of the Ark of Noah sometime this year.

The ark, which spans five floors and can hold more than 5,000 people at once, is 95 feet wide, 410 feet long and 75 feet tall.

Dutch carpenter Johan Huibers said he began building the Ark of Noah after dreaming about an intense storm that flooded his hometown in the Netherlands.

According to Herald A.M.A. Janssen, the director of the Ark of Noah Foundation, Huibers built the ark using the measurements given in Genesis 6:15 to make the ark "as precise as possible."

"And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred 8 cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits," reads the Bible passage.

By reviewing multiple historical measurement units in the various ancient cultures, Huibers created a measurement scale to use while building his ark.

Upon completion in 2012, the ark became a multi-floor interactive exhibit, focused on the spreading of religious teachings from the bible for Christian educational purposes.

Tourists who visit the ark encounter Bible-based stories and exhibitions, attractions, a movie theater and more.

Janssen told ABC News that for its upcoming voyage, which is still in its planning stages, the foundation intends to sail the ark to multiple port cities in Brazil as well as Argentina, Uruguay and Colombia before coming to the United States.

"We are so pleased with the very warm support of the private community in Fortaleza, our first stop in Brazil after crossing the Atlantic Ocean," Janssen said. "[We also appreciate] the warm welcome of the City Hall of Rio de Janeiro ... which has extended the invitation that we are welcome to visit the beautiful port of Rio de Janeiro, next to the old city."

"The target is to reach Fortaleza in July, and reach the Paralympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro by September 7," Janssen said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Logan, Utah
Mostly Cloudy 44°F
  • 53% humidity
  • Winds at 11 mph
Full Forecast

 

LinkedUpRadio Envisionwise Web Services