Headlines » World http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines The latest Headlines, news and blog posts from ABC News contributors and bloggers. Mon, 22 Sep 2014 18:34:20 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 American Fighting With Ukraine Rebels Urges Others to Join Him http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/american-fighting-with-ukraine-rebels-urges-others-to-join-him/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/american-fighting-with-ukraine-rebels-urges-others-to-join-him/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 13:44:52 +0000 Kirit Radia http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=525186 MOSCOW – With his face covered by a camouflage balaclava and a Midwestern aw-shucks tinge to his voice, Hunter from Illinois called on other Westerners to join him in fighting alongside Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine.

The man who claims to be, and sounds like, an American appeared on a three minute video released on YouTube by a media outlet associated with the Vostok Battalion, one of the main separatist groups fighting against Ukrainian troops.

“I arrived here to help, help New Russia, Novorossiya, become an independent state,” he said in response to a question by someone behind the camera. Novorossiya is the tsar-era name for the region favored by the separatists.

Hunter, who did not provide his last name in the video, said he joined the Vostok Battalion in the city of Donetsk “about a month” ago. It appears that he does not yet speak Russian, as the questions were translated for him and he responded in English.

He urged other Westerners to join him.

“People with U.S. military experience would be very valuable here,” he said.

Asked for his views on the conflict, Hunter admitted his knowledge of the situation is “limited,” but blamed the Ukrainian government for ignoring the will of the people.

“It seems to be a very simple, straightforward situation and the Kiev junta does not necessarily, I believe, reflect, they don’t, they don’t consider the popular opinion of the people of Donbass,” he said, referring the common name of the region.

He suggested, as a solution, that Ukrainian authorities cede the territory in the east.

“It’d be better for everybody if they’d just come to a peaceful resolution. Give a reasonable amount of territory to the new state of Novorussia and, you know, make a peaceful, peaceful arrangement,” he said.

There had been at least one other American fighting in Ukraine, but on the other side of the conflict.

Mark Paslawsky, a Ukrainian-American U.S. Army veteran from New Jersey, was fighting for a pro-Ukrainian militia under the non de guerre “Franko.” He was killed in battle in late August.

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From War-Torn Sudan to the US, Lost Boys ‘Inspire Us’ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/from-war-torn-sudan-to-the-us-lost-boys-inspire-us/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/from-war-torn-sudan-to-the-us-lost-boys-inspire-us/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:10:03 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=525167 By Sasha Chanoff

When I first met the Lost Boys and Girls, orphaned refugee children from the Sudanese government’s genocidal attacks on its southern people, I didn’t imagine that they would one day become some of the most inspiring U.S. citizens in our country. Yet they have.

Their resettlement story is captured poignantly in the upcoming film “The Good Lie” starring Reese Witherspoon.

RELATED: New Movie Sheds Light on Lives of Lost Boys in the US

I know the story intimately. I first flew to Kakuma camp in northwestern Kenya in 1999 to teach cultural orientation classes when 3,600 Lost Boys and Girls were given a chance to resettle to America.  They didn’t have any idea what to expect: How to turn on a light, or shop in a supermarket, or what winter could be like.  To give them a sense of how cold it could be in the Midwest, I asked them to pass around a large chunk of ice, an idea that has been adapted as a scene in the movie.

Sitting in the dust and the heat under the acacia trees they would tell stories about surviving lion and crocodile attacks, dodging bullets and soldiers, hiding from bombers and watching their brothers, sisters and friends die of starvation and disease.

RELATED: How to Help the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan

Education Is My Mother and My Father

Without parents to help them move forward, they needed to find another way. Education was the answer. In Kakuma camp, they often said, “Education is my mother and my father.”

One young woman in my class said to me, “Sasha, girls have little access to education. We are often sold into marriage for a bride-price as teenagers. What opportunities for education do girls have in America?”

When she and the others started arriving on the East Coast and around the country, families and communities opened their arms and homes to these orphans. They went on to college, to graduate school. One became a doctor; others, teachers and social workers. A number of them have joined our armed forces. Across our country they are working, studying and building families. They’ve all become U.S. citizens now, and they’ve changed our lives.

Reliving a Crisis

Tragically, however, their refugee story is repeating itself in South Sudan, where war has started again. More than half a million people have fled to neighboring countries and tens of thousands are arriving in Kakuma camp, again. Millions are displaced inside South Sudan, almost a third of the entire country, and among them are many at risk of starvation.

For the Lost Boys and Girls, it’s like they are reliving a nightmare, and some are going back to South Sudan to do anything they can to help.

One of the stars of “The Good Lie,” Ger Duany, just returned from the sprawling Kakuma Camp in Kenya, where he met with his mother and other members of his family,  reunited for the first time in 18 years. He also traveled to a camp in Gambella on the border of Ethiopia, where he found several of his sisters and brothers, living with their young children in flooded conditions as hundreds of new refugees arrive every day.

Ger and other actors and producers of  “The Good Lie” are hoping the film can help raise money and awareness about the crisis. The producers have created The Good Lie Fund, which has already raised nearly $400,000, to support the newest refugees fleeing to and living in the Kakuma camp.

The fund also aims to draw attention to the Lost Boys and Girls here in the United States, the work they are doing and the successful organizations they have created.

The American Dream

Ultimately, this is one of the great immigrant stories in our country’s history. Not because of what we have done for them, but because of what they have done for us. They inspire us. They humble us. They refresh our spirits.  And they show us, that against all odds and in the face of impossible hardship and horror, the human spirit is made up of unbreakable matter.

If there’s a lesson in the Lost Boys and Girls’ story, it’s that by unlocking their potential, we improve our country and ourselves.

Sasha Chanoff is the founder of RefugePoint, a nonprofit organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that provides support for the world’s most vulnerable refugees.

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First iPhone 6s in Moscow Cost Up to 90,000 Rubles ($2,300) http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/first-iphone-6s-in-moscow-cost-up-to-90000-rubles-2300/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/first-iphone-6s-in-moscow-cost-up-to-90000-rubles-2300/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:55:56 +0000 Kirit Radia http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=525152 MOSCOW – As hundreds line up around the world for the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, gray market importers in Russia are starting to fly them in and re-sell them at a massive profit.

In Moscow, home to three Bentley showrooms but zero Apple stores, there is no shortage of people willing to pay top dollar to have the latest phone even just a few days before everyone else. Internet stores are offering the new phones at a substantial markup, but those who want to receive them before next week will have to pay even more.

Among several vendors contacted by ABC News, most that said they would have the phones by Friday night priced the basic 16 GB version of the iPhone 6 at around 60,000 rubles, or roughly $1,550. (The prices quoted on their websites are for delivery next week.) That’s more than double the cost in the United States, where an unlocked, contract free iPhone 6 starts at $649.

One store priced the basic iPhone 6 model at 89,990 rubles, or over $2,300. Across the board, iPhone 6 Plus prices were about 10,000 rubles, or over $250, more than the smaller phone.

“They’re very expensive right now,” a salesperson at applelifestyle.ru said, advising callers to wait until next Tuesday or Wednesday when the price will drop roughly in half.

The stores said they’re seeing just as much demand, if not more, for this year’s new iPhones compared to previous years. One vendor said he had a long waitlist and could not say when they would be available. Most of the shops said they were seeing more demand for the iPhone 6 Plus compared to the iPhone 6, despite the higher price.

In previous years the price in rubles for the newest model iPhone was nearly the same, though Russia’s currency has taken a dive since then, driving down the price in dollars.

The vendors said their phones were arriving mainly from Europe and the United States. The first batches are expected to arrive Friday night and Saturday morning. Some sellers declined to say whether they had paid customs duties to import them. Others insisted they were legit and offered one year warranties.

An authorized Apple retailer in Russia said they did not expect to receive the new iPhones until next Friday. Even then they’ll offer the basic iPhone 6 model for 31,990 rubles, or over $830.

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How to Help: The Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/how-to-help-the-lost-boys-and-girls-of-sudan/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/how-to-help-the-lost-boys-and-girls-of-sudan/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 20:57:54 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=525127 ht reese witherspoon lost boys mt 140918 16x9 608 How to Help: The Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan

                     (Photo Credit: Dan Ax/Warner Brothers)

The film “The Good Lie,” which stars Reese Witherspoon, focuses on the so-called Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan and how their lives changed once they were resettled in the United States.

The Warner Bros. movie, expected to be released next month, also includes several former Lost Boys.

The producers of the movie launched The Good Lie Fund to help support the humanitarian and educational needs of the Lost Boys and Girls, who have been uprooted and orphaned by the Sudanese Civil War that began in 1983.

Click here for more information on the The Good Lie Fund.

The fund’s initial focus will be the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, which was created to meet the first wave of survivors of the conflict – the majority of them children, alone and on foot – and which houses thousands of refugees fleeing from continuing violence and unrest.

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How You Can Help: Syrian Refugee Children http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/how-you-can-help-syrian-refugee-children/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/09/how-you-can-help-syrian-refugee-children/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 21:52:15 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=524779 ABC girls getting ready to pick potatoes kab 140902 How You Can Help: Syrian Refugee Children

Christine Romo/ABC News

There are nearly 600,000 Syrian child refugees in Lebanon and according to UNICEF, 300,000 of them are not in school.

Click here to read the full story and see images and video.

Instead many of these children work to support their families. They can be found everywhere, from agricultural fields to urban streets, selling everything from chewing gum to flowers and tissues.

These children, some as young as 7, and their families fled the conflict in Syria.

Many of the children are from middle class families and were in school in Syria but now must work to survive.

They wake up at 6 a.m., board a truck and head to the fields to spend hours doing back-breaking work.

UNICEF and Beyond Association work together to give the kids some schooling after their fieldwork and before they return to tents and their families.

Below is information on how to help:

UNICEF:

To donate on the web: www.unicefusa.org/syria

To donate by text: Text SYRIA to 864233 to donate $10.

$15 can buy pencils and notebooks for an entire classroom

$4 can buy a text book for a child

$4 can buy a story book for a child

Beyond Association:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/122371180173/#_=_

Save the Children:

http://www.savethechildren.org/syria

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Poor Ebola-Weary Liberia Has Rich History: 5 Fascinating Facts http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/08/poor-ebola-weary-liberia-has-rich-history-5-fascinating-facts/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/08/poor-ebola-weary-liberia-has-rich-history-5-fascinating-facts/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 14:55:32 +0000 Calvin Lawrence Jr. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=524369 GTY liberia flag jtm 140808 16x9 608 Poor Ebola Weary Liberia Has Rich History: 5 Fascinating Facts

  (Photo Credit: Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images)

No one would mistake Liberia for a model of prosperity, but the Ebola-weary West African nation certainly has a rich history like no other: It was colonized by freed U.S. slaves.

Here are some details about its intriguing origins:

  • The sight of freed slaves so unnerved one particular group of white Americans in the early-1800s that they concocted a plan to resettle them in Africa. It worked, and the American Colonization Society, as the members called themselves, found a partial solution to their “problem” by developing a colonization project that would eventually produce the West African nation of Liberia, according to the U.S. State Department Office of the Historian.

By 1821, the U.S. Navy even helped in the search for land to accommodate what remained of the 88 free black settlers and three society members who had set sail for Sierra Leone the year before in search of territory to claim. “The Navy officer in charge, Lieutenant Robert Stockton, coerced a local ruler to sell a strip of land to the Society,” according to the State Department.

The indigenous Africans initially staged violent resistance against the colony before other U.S. colonization societies bought additional land and most of those settlements combined up to 20,000 people into a single organization that forged a rocky path toward a sovereign state, declaring its independence from the American Colonization Society in 1847, the State Department website says.

  • U.S. President James Monroe committed so many government resources to the project that Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, was named in his honor.

    GTY liberia monrovia jtm 140808 16x9 608 Poor Ebola Weary Liberia Has Rich History: 5 Fascinating Facts

             (Photo Credit: Kuni Takahashi/Getty Images) 

  • Despite helping to establish Liberia, however, the U.S government didn’t recognize the nation until 1862, “because of fears of the impact this might have on the issue of slavery in the United States,” according to the State Department.
  • Liberia’s first president, Joseph Jenkins Roberts, was born and raised in the United States, overseeing a U.S. style of government that excluded indigenous Africans from citizenship until 1904, according to About.com.

    GTY liberia president jtm 140808 16x9 608 Poor Ebola Weary Liberia Has Rich History: 5 Fascinating Facts

                 (Photo Credit: Apic/Getty Images) 

  • With an eye toward home, the founders designed the Liberian flag with red and white stripes and a blue square resembling the U.S. flag, but only one white star that “symbolizes the freedom that the ex-slaves were given and the blue square stands for the African mainland,” according to the Maps of the World website. “The eleven stripes on the flag of Liberia represent the eleven signatories of the Liberian Declaration of Independence.”
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Oscar Pistorius Filing Sets Final Court Showdown http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/08/oscar-pistorius-filing-sets-final-court-showdown/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/08/oscar-pistorius-filing-sets-final-court-showdown/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 15:14:24 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=524208 AP oscar pistorius kab 140714 16x9 608 Oscar Pistorius Filing Sets Final Court Showdown

Alon Skuy/AP Photo

By LIEZL THOM

PRETORIA, South Africa – Oscar Pistorius’ legal team filed written final arguments in his murder trial today, setting the stage for one last showdown between his lawyers and the prosecutor later this week.

Prosecutors filed their written arguments last week, arguing that the parlympian sprinter known as the Blade Runner shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp to death on Valentine’s Day last year following a loud argument.

Pistorius, 27, has insisted that he fired four times through a closed bathroom door in the overnight incident believing that an intruder was in his house and that he had not meant to kill Steenkamp.

On Thursday, prosecutor Gerrie “the Bull Terrier” Nel will deliver his arguments verbally, while defense lawyer Barry Roux will make his final submissions to Judge Thokozile Masipa and her two assessors on Friday.

The court has prohibited the publication of either side’s arguments before they are delivered at the end of this week, but Nel has already indicated he will argue that Pistorius adjusted his aim after the second bullet missed when he heard a magazine rack move inside the toilet cubicle.

Defense witness Roger Dixon disputed the police ballistics expert’s version of the sequence of shots and Steenkamp’s position when she was first hit, but admitted under cross examination that he is neither a ballistics nor a blood spatter expert.

Pistorius faces weapons charges along with a murder charge. If convicted of the most serious charge, he could be sentenced to at least 25 years in prison.

The judge is expected to indicate on Friday when she will hand down her judgment.

 

 

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Woman Takes Six Years of Selfies to Overcome Struggle with Hair-Pulling Disorder http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/07/woman-takes-six-years-of-selfies-to-overcome-struggle-with-hair-pulling-disorder/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/07/woman-takes-six-years-of-selfies-to-overcome-struggle-with-hair-pulling-disorder/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 14:57:01 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=523838  


Selfies are all the rage, but one young woman has had the tenacity to take one of herself every single day for more than six years. However, the reason she’s been so consistent is not one you’d typically expect.

Rebecca Brown, 21, of Essex, England, has taken a picture of herself every day — from age 14 to 21 — putting them together in a video montage all to bravely share her battle with depression and her struggle with trichotillomania disorder, the compulsion to pull out one’s own hair.

Woman With Hair Loss Condition Captures Transformation in Time Lapse Video

She says the video project, which has received more than 5.5 million views on YouTube since it was originally posted on June 8, has immensely helped her deal with overcoming the disorder.

“It’s been pretty scary for me in the last year because I’ve seen myself come out of that darkness,” Brown explained on “GMA LIVE!” today. “Because when I was completely consumed in depression all I could see was black and white. Everything around me was dark, and I honestly didn’t believe there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Whereas now, I’ve seen myself get better. I’ve seen my smile come back. I feel like there is a light.”

Brown says there was no particular trigger that caused her to have trichotillomania disorder.

“For me, I’ve always been depressed but there’s been no pinpoint trauma. It just reached a head,” she explained.

The hair-pulling disorder has even affected celebrities like Katy Perry, Charlize Theron and Justin Timberlake.

At certain points in the video you can see where Brown resorted to shaving her head, wearing wigs to help deal with the battle, but now she’s doing great and hopes her project will help spread awareness of the disease.

Tune in for more viral moments every weekday on ” GMA LIVE! ” at 9 a.m. ET.

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Live Updates: Malaysia Airlines Plane http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/07/live-updates-malaysian-airlines-plane/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/07/live-updates-malaysian-airlines-plane/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:55:50 +0000 Colleen Curry http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=523754 A Malaysian Airlines plane has disappeared over Ukraine. This is a breaking news event and ABC News will post live updates to this blog throughout the day as we report and confirm information.

Check back to ABC News to find out the latest on this story.

Get the Latest on the Ukraine Plane Crash at the ABC News Live Blog

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Costa Concordia Floated for Final Voyage — to the Junkyard http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/07/costa-concordia-floated-for-final-voyage-to-the-junkyard/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/07/costa-concordia-floated-for-final-voyage-to-the-junkyard/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 20:23:29 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=523645

After 2.5 years — and nearly $1 billion so far — the giant wreck of the Costa Concordia was lifted off the seabed today and refloated for its final journey to the scrapyard.

“The weather is good. Everyone’s ready off shore,” said Nick Sloane, the engineer and salvage master leading the effort. “So now we just have to go and take advantage of the good weather and lift her off the platforms.”

Click here to see amazing images.

In September, the cruise ship was dragged upright after a 19-hour, first-of-its-kind engineering feat. The Concordia had been resting on six underwater platforms made of steel.

To lift the ship 6 feet today, air had to be pumped into 30 giant metal containers attached to the sides of the vessel.

It was a huge operation, one that had never been attempted.

Related: The Trial of the Captain of the Costa Concordia

In Jan. 13, 2012, 32 people of the 4,200 on board were killed when the cruise ship slammed into a reef near Giglio Island, off the coast of Italy.

On Sunday, an Italian official said a search would begin for the last remaining victim, an Indian waiter who had not yet been found, once the cruise ship was towed away.

Under water,  decay had set in, and the ship poses an environmental danger if  toxic fuel, chemicals as well as waste were spilled into the waters  as the ship is salvaged.

The ship will be towed by tugs starting July 21 for several days to the Italian port of Genoa at a speed of 2 mph where it will be scrapped.

Costa Crociere SpA CEO Michael Tamm estimated that the operation would total $2 billion in the end.

ABC News’ Terry Moran contributed to this story.

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