Headlines » Nation http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines The latest Headlines, news and blog posts from ABC News contributors and bloggers. Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:49:53 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Tiny Oxygen Masks Credited With Big Hamster Rescue http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/tiny-oxygen-masks-credited-with-big-hamster-rescue/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/tiny-oxygen-masks-credited-with-big-hamster-rescue/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 17:22:51 +0000 Matthew Foster http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=525432

Firefighters are often typecast as the heroic rescuers of cats in trees, but one unit in Washington state put its “Pet Emergency Pocket Guide” to much smaller use.

Lacey, Washington, first responders arrived on scene Friday to discover five hamsters threatened by a mobile home fire.

They quickly extinguished the flames but spotted the pets inside, according to ABC affiliate KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Using their pocket guide and specially designed animal first aid equipment, crews treated the family of hamsters with oxygen masks. The Lacey Fire Department put photos of the rescue on their Twitter page shortly after the incident.


ht fire dept saves hamsters 05 mt 140929 16x9 608 Tiny Oxygen Masks Credited With Big Hamster Rescue

                              (Photo Credit: @LaceyFireDist3/Twitter) 

The two adult hamsters were named “Oreo” and “Madonna,” according to the fire department’s Twitter page. The other three were babies.

The fire department has not responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

Twitter users were delighted to see the rescue, with one tweeting, “Thank you for rescuing & providing emergency treatment for animals injured in fires. You rock!”

The fire department also tweeted, citing clothes in a dryer as the preliminary cause of the fire. Officials also shared the sad news that one of the baby hamsters didn’t survive.

ht fire dept saves hamsters 01 mt 140929 16x9 608 Tiny Oxygen Masks Credited With Big Hamster Rescue

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WW2 Vet Thanks Those Who Saved Him 70 Years Ago http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/ww2-vet-thanks-those-who-saved-him-70-years-ago/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/ww2-vet-thanks-those-who-saved-him-70-years-ago/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 21:14:48 +0000 Kirit Radia http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=525397 HT leroy williamson red army moscow jt 140928 16x9 608 WW2 Vet Thanks Those Who Saved Him 70 Years Ago

(Credit: Stefan Mizha/U.S. Embassy Moscow)

MOSCOW — There was a moment, shortly after he was liberated from a Nazi prisoner of war camp by Soviet soldiers, that remains etched in Leroy Williamson’s mind.

The Texan came across a group of Russians singing and dancing for joy. They soon brought over a pair of cows for them to eat, his first taste of fresh meat in over a year. They also brought in a donut machine, Williamson recalled with a smile.

This week, nearly 70 years later, Williamson traveled here to salute the Russian soldiers who fought to save him.

“I’m here is to just say thank you to the veterans,” he said. He was pleasantly surprised to find that the gratitude is mutual.

Easing into an armchair, Williamson smiled and recounted the Russian general who invited him to lunch the day before, the aging Soviet war veterans who embraced him, and the Kremlin honor guard that escorted his visit to lay a wreath at Moscow’s memorial to the Great Patriotic War, as World War Two is called in Russia. Ordinary Russians have welcomed him with open arms once they find out his story.

“It’s been wonderful,” he gushed. “I am so pleased with the attitude of the people here.”

He had planned to meet with a surviving member of the Red Army’s 44th Infantry Division, which liberated his camp, but the night before that man fell sick and had to be hospitalized.

Instead, Williamson was able to present a Purple Heart, awarded to those injured in battle, to a Soviet soldier who fought alongside American troops during the war. The man was overcome with emotion.

“He really gave me the bear hug,” he chuckled.

At 93 years strong, Leroy Williamson retains an easy laugh and firm handshake. His voice only dips as he recalls his time in the Nazi camp.

Williamson did not even speak about his time as a prisoner of war until just a few years ago. Now he casually mentions daring anecdotes about smuggled radios and digging escape tunnels in passing as if talking about the weather.

During a bombing mission over Germany in April 1944, Williamson, then a 23-year-old 2nd lieutenant, was shot down. His memory of the day is as clear today as ever, yet he hesitates to describe what that it was like.

“When you can say you’ve survived that’s the good part,” he said before a long pause. “Naturally, the people (on the ground) didn’t look at us very kindly.”

Williamson spent several days in interrogation before being transferred to a prisoner of war camp on the Baltic Sea. During the winter, a cold wind roared off the water, just a few blocks away. At night, Allied bombs landed nearby.

He would remain there for 14 grueling months until May 1, 1945, just a week before Allied victory was declared, when Soviet troops pushed from the east “like gangbusters” and liberated his camp.

“They not only liberated us from prison camp, they did so many other good things for us,” he said.

Those were heady times. The Americans and the Soviets had both fought against Nazi Germany and Williamson recalled the outpouring of support from the Soviets after President Franklin Roosevelt died.

That camaraderie, of course, would not last.

As the Cold War set in, Williamson would soon find himself on the other side of the Soviets as he flew supply runs as part of the Berlin Airlift when the city was cut off from West Germany. Soviet fighter jets would scramble to meet them.

“A Russian MIG would come, drop its flaps and wheels, stay with us a few minutes,” he recalled. “I’d give a salute back and that was it.”

Williamson was reticent when asked about the latest tensions between the United States and Russia, but offered a stern warning from a man who has witnessed the best and worst of US-Russian relations.

“We have to get along,” he insisted. “We don’t need a patriotic war or a World War 3.”

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Surveillance Video Captures Violent Carjacking at Miami Hotel http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/surveillance-video-captures-violent-carjacking-at-miami-hotel/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/surveillance-video-captures-violent-carjacking-at-miami-hotel/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 21:39:20 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=525375

New surveillance video shows the moment a carjacking suspect got behind the wheel of a car and crashed through vehicles and people at a Miami hotel before racing away.

Police allege that Alberto Ruiz, 50, calmly slid into the driver’s seat of a brand-new Lexus sport utility vehicle around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the luxury JW Marriott Marquis hotel as the car’s owner got out.

He then allegedly backed into two valets who were unloading the vehicle’s trunk.

After plowing forward and getting stuck between two vehicles, police said, Ruiz again backed up into several valets and pedestrians as they tried to talk to him and remove him from the car.

Several valets were sandwiched between the SUV and another parked car, police said.

He eventually was able to speed off, police said, leaving seven people injured and four vehicles damaged. One valet suffered serious injuries and needed to be hospitalized.

Police later located Ruiz, whom they called a career criminal, at a motel and he was arrested.

He is charged with carjacking and attempted murder in addition to other charges.

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How to Help Slender Man Survivor and Her Family http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/how-to-help-slender-man-survivor-and-her-family/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/how-to-help-slender-man-survivor-and-her-family/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 21:01:47 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=525377

Following our ABC News “20/20″ program, “Out of the Woods,” which features the story of the Slender Man stabbing survivor and her family, we wanted to share with our viewers information on the family’s fund, “Hearts for Healing.”

“As this family continues to heal, one of the greatest challenges are the mounting medical bills,” said family spokesman Stephen Lyons of law firm Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C.. “The Leutners thank ’20/20′ for the manner in which they shared our story and our challenges.”

Click HERE for the “Hearts for Healing” fund, and to learn more about how our viewers can help support the family.

If you would like to send the family a homemade purple heart, they can be sent to:
Hearts for Healing
P.O. BOX 407
Waukesha, WI 53187-0407

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See the Terrifying Moment a Woman Evades Rooftop Intruder http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/see-the-terrifying-moment-a-woman-evades-an-alleged-intruder-on-the-roof/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/see-the-terrifying-moment-a-woman-evades-an-alleged-intruder-on-the-roof/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 23:03:26 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=525340
It was a terrifying scene right out of a movie for a woman in Venice, California, recently.

Melora Rivera, wearing only a flannel shirt and clutching her cellphone, was photographed by a passerby Wednesday morning as she crouched on her roof with  alleged intruder Christian Hicks hovering above her.

Authorities said today that Hicks, 29, was homeless. He allegedly broke into Rivera’s home while she was in bed.

“He came out to the roof and was on the other side of the roof while she’s trying to tell police, ‘There’s an intruder in my house,’” a neighbor told KTLA -TV.

Rivera reportedly told police that a passerby had taken her picture as she crawled out of her attic window, 20 feet above the ground. The images were then posted to social media.

Rivera was able to call 911 from the roof. Minutes later, when the authorities arrived, police talked Hicks off the roof while firefighters helped Rivera down.

Hicks was reportedly behind bars today on $50,000 bail on burglary charges.


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Six Hollywood Companies Granted Private Drone Fleets by FAA http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/six-hollywood-companies-granted-private-drone-fleets-by-faa/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/six-hollywood-companies-granted-private-drone-fleets-by-faa/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 21:21:36 +0000 Matthew Larotonda http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=525326 The next sweeping vista seen in a Hollywood blockbuster movie may have been filmed by a robot.

The Federal Aviation Administration granted waivers today to six film and television production companies to use their own unmanned aircraft over existing federal restrictions. The firms will need to keep their drones confined to movie sets and below a specific altitude, but it is the first time private companies have been allowed to use drones in populated areas.

It is a move likely to foreshadow an expanding role for businesses eager to make use of unmanned vehicles in American skies.

The companies will have to keep their aircraft under 55 pounds, within line of sight at all times, and at least 100 feet from people who are not part of the production. They will also be required fly no faster than 57 mph and no higher than 400 feet to avoid collisions with manned aircraft. In their petitions to the FAA, each company said the craft would be flown by certified pilots.

Those pilots will not be allowed to operate their aircraft at night, though the FAA said it would be open to redacting that rule if the companies implemented further safety precautions.

Tight federal guidelines had previously restricted most civilian drone use to non-commercial entities, such as model plane hobbyists and academic research, as long as they were kept to similar restrictions and at least five miles from an airport. Previously only two other companies had been granted exceptions to those rules: both delivery services in remote regions of Alaska.

In 2012 Congress dictated the FAA to relax the rules to gradually allow commercial flights of any size over the United States. But some aviation safety groups and pilots associations have expressed concern about whether Hollywood could adequately protect urban areas from accidents.

The National Airline Pilots Association said today they were “encouraged that the FAA is moving cautiously and requiring controls for these [remotely piloted aircraft] operations.”

The six production houses are Astraeus Aerial, Aerial MOB, HeliVideo Productions, Pictorvision, RC Pro Productions Consulting/Vortex Aerial, and Snaproll Media.

A petition from a seventh company, Flying-Cam, is still under review. Flying-Cam had previously used drone aircraft overseas to film scenes in the 2012 James Bond movie, “Skyfall.”

The announcement comes one day before the DHL delivery company is set to begin the first ever drone courier service to residents of a remote island off the coast of Germany. The company says it is the first time unmanned commercial flights have been allowed a regular route in Europe.

Meanwhile, Internet shopping giant Amazon has been lobbying for a drone delivery fleet to take off in the United States. That company is among over 30 others still seeking waivers from the FAA — including uses in agriculture and oil production.

ABC News’ Richard Davies contributed to this report.


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Jeep Owner Gets Last Laugh on Corvette Driver’s Greedy Parking Job http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/jeep-owner-gets-last-laugh-on-corvette-drivers-greedy-parking-job/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/jeep-owner-gets-last-laugh-on-corvette-drivers-greedy-parking-job/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 22:03:37 +0000 Alyssa Newcomb http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=525278

Nice parking job, pal.

A New Jersey man got the last laugh on a Corvette driver who greedily took up two parking spots outside a Red Robin restaurant. 

Instead of parking in the back of the crowded parking lot, Kyle DeMattia, 20, pulled his mud-covered Jeep partially onto the sidewalk, with the other part of his vehicle sharing a space with the sports car. 

“The parking lot was packed except for a few spaces at the back and I could see people parking and walking by it in just plain annoyance,” DeMattia told NJ Advance Media.

DeMattia scored a spot by the window and videotaped the Corvette driver’s reaction, which has since garnered more than 1 million views on YouTube.

After the Corvette owner left, DeMattia said he was happy to move his Jeep and park it the way parking spaces are meant to be used.


HT corvette parked mar 140924 16x9 608 Jeep Owner Gets Last Laugh on Corvette Drivers Greedy Parking Job

(Courtesy of Kyle DeMattia)

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UN Cheat Sheet: 4 Things To Watch This Week http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/un-session-isis-ebola-rookies-and-no-shows/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/un-session-isis-ebola-rookies-and-no-shows/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 14:59:31 +0000 Molly Hunter http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=525195 NEW YORK — Every Manhattanite dreads this week.

Motorcades block the streets and presidential suites at the city’s swankiest hotels are booked solid. By the looks of it, NYPD occupies every street corner around the U.N.’s East River location, diplomatic security fills in the gaps and government aides travel in swarms.

The 69th United Nations General Assembly kicks off this week and given the state of our planet, a meeting of the world’s leaders comes not a moment too soon.

“The world is facing multiple crises,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told reporters.

“Each has its own dynamics, and requires its own approach. But all have featured atrocious attacks on civilians, including children. All have dangerous sectarian, ethnic or tribal dimensions. And many have seen sharp divisions within the international community itself over the response.”

A chaotic week awaits and with the U.S. ramping up its campaign against ISIS, the world’s largest Ebola outbreak in history spreading, and the war between Ukraine and Russia unflinching, here’s what you need to know about U.N. week.

1. On The Agenda:

Syria was at the top of last year’s agenda and this year, it’s all about ISIS. The growing threat of the Sunni Islamic State group will dominate the floor during the general debate. And behind closed doors President Obama hopes to recruit more allies to join the roster of the U.S.-led coalition. For the first time since 2009, Obama will chair a session on ISIS Wednesday afternoon, urging the Security Council to pass a resolution aimed at cracking down on foreign fighters headed for Syria and Iraq.

“Together, we will address the horrendous violence in Syria and Iraq, where conflict and governance failures have provided a breeding ground for extremist groups,” said the secretary general. “I welcome the growing international consensus to act against this serious threat to global and regional peace and security,” he added.

Following Sunday’s massive People’s Climate March through the streets of New York, some 140 leaders will take part in Tuesday’s Climate Summit, gearing up for another global discussion in Paris next year.

Even the Secretary General hit the streets on Sunday, along with an estimated 400,000 activists, according to the event’s organizers.

The Ebola outbreak has now killed more than 2,700 people according to the World Health Organization. With nearly 5,762 cases across five West African nations, it is the largest Ebola outbreak in history.

The problem demands a global response. America’s U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power said last week, “the United Nations was built for global challenges like this.”

The director-general of the WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan, described the outbreak as “the greatest peacetime challenge that the United Nations and its agencies have ever faced.”

High level meetings are slated for Thursday, just a week after the Security Council declared Ebola a “threat to international peace and security.”

2. The No Shows:

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will skip this year (again!) and the country’s permanent representative to the U.N., Bashar Ja’afari will keep the seat warm. As the three and a half year Syrian civil war rages, the head of the U.N. commission told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva last week “the Syrian government remains responsible for the majority of the civilian casualties, killing and maiming scores of civilians daily.”

But newcomer Hadi al-Bahra, the president of the Syrian Opposition Coalition, is in town and spoke with ABC News’ Bob Woodruff on Sunday.

On peace in Syria, al-Bahra told Woodruff on This Week, “If it’s done correctly, it could be done within two to three years at max.”

Though invited, Russian President Putin is blowing off the whole affair. As a member of the U.N. Security Council, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will vote this week on behalf of the Kremlin.

And for the first time in 15 years, North Korea is sending a foreign minister, Ri Su-yong, reports South Korean daily Joongang Daily. According to the paper. This is only the third time the country has sent a representative since the Hermit Kingdom joined the United Nations.

3. The Rookies

A few notable rookies will make their debut at the General Assembly, including Ukraine’s new President Petro Poroshenko and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is Modi’s first trip stateside after he was denied a visa back in 2005 for his failure to stop violent religious riots in 2002.

Former military strongman, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, will represent his country for the first time since taking office in June. Ahead of his visit, el-Sissi told the Associated Press: “We are completely committed to giving support” to the fight against ISIS. “We will do whatever is required.”

The world’s newest head of state, Afghanistan’s President-elect Ashraf Ghani, will be watching from Kabul this year. After two rounds of voting and months of diplomatic wrangling, Ghani’s victory was announced last weekend and he is expected to be sworn in early next week.

4. Awkward Encounters

It’s that time again when the Iranian head of state and the American president are within feet of each other. For most of the year, more than 6,000 miles separate President Rouhani and President Obama, but this week the two leaders will both attend the General Assembly. Last year rumors swirled about a possible handshake that culminated with a quick phone call as Rouhani drove to JFK airport.

And while the two leaders are not expected to meet at the U.N., Secretary of State Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif met for more than an hour on Sunday.  Kerry noted that “this week is an opportunity to make additional progress” and stressed that “it is our intention to do so.” A State Department official said “going forward, the Secretary and Foreign Minister Zarif agreed to meet further as needed while in New York this week.”

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Calif. Man Pleads Not Guilty to Setting King Fire That Displaced 2,800 http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/calif-man-pleads-not-guilty-to-setting-king-fire-that-displaced-2800/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/calif-man-pleads-not-guilty-to-setting-king-fire-that-displaced-2800/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 23:01:04 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=525175

Late today, far from the fire lines, the man accused of causing a Northern California fire that has scorched nearly 120 square miles of land pleaded not guilty to arson.

Wayne Allen Huntsman, 37, of Pollock Pines, California, is being held on $10 million bail and stands accused of putting firefighters in extreme danger. He was arrested Wednesday.

Images: California wildfire threatens homes.

The blaze was so catastrophic that 2,800 people were driven from their homes and some remained in evacuation centers. Some even were forced to drive through the  flames to reach safety.

Investigators said they traced the point of ignition to the back of a house owned by Ralph Lorenz.

They allege Huntsman broke into the house, actually kicking in the door, and then called 911 to report the fire.

Authorities did not say how they linked Huntsman to the fire.

The King Fire, just east of Sacramento, started Saturday. Authorities told The Associated Press that it cost $5 million a day to fight the fires.

They also said today that the fire had burned down several structures and that some of those buildings were likely homes.

Huntsman’s sister Tami Criswell told the AP that she did not think he was responsible for the fires.

“He would never do anything intentionally to hurt anybody,” she said.

AP wayne allen huntsman california wildfires sk 140919 16x9 608 Calif. Man Pleads Not Guilty to Setting King Fire That Displaced 2,800

Randall Benton/The Sacramento Bee/AP Photo


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Accused ‘Swatter’ Released on $100K Bail, Faces Jail Time http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/accused-swatter-released-on-100k-bail-faces-jail-time/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/accused-swatter-released-on-100k-bail-faces-jail-time/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 21:31:51 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=525061 Matthew Tollis, who police say admitted to participating in at least six so-called “swatting” hoax calls this year, was released on $100,000 bail today after appearing in federal court.

Tollis, 21, of Wethersfield, Connecticut, is accused of calling in false emergencies that sent heavily armed cops to a school or home. He could face 15 years in prison if convicted.

Related: Inside a SWAT prank ring allegedly composed of X-Box gamers.
Related: Video captures Colorado cops swarming in ‘swatting’ prank

Tollis was arrested Sept. 3 for his alleged role in the April 3 swatting call that claimed there was a bomb at the University of Connecticut. He is charged with three counts connected to the UConn incident as well as three counts of federal conspiracy and aiding and abetting.

Authorities said Tollis was just one in an international ring of so-called “swatters” who call themselves TeAM Crucifix or Die. The pranksters disguise their phone numbers and then call 911, triggering SWAT.

An affidavit filed in federal court said that swatting was often perpetrated by X-Box gamers who occasionally hijacked people’s Twitter or Facebook accounts and then refuse to release them unless the victims make a swatting call.

According to the affidavit, one of those calls made by members of TeAM Crucifix or Die was directed at the recently reopened Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the site of  the 2012 massacre of staff and first graders.

The FBI said there are more than 400 swatting attacks a year, each costing thousands of dollars in taxpayer money. Authorities continue to search for others in the ring.

Tollis’ attorney Jeremy Weingast had no comment on Friday before Tollis was due in federal court.

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