Hungary’s prime minister promises subsidies to families who have multiple children

WORLD NEWS Hungary's prime minister promises subsidies to families who have multiple children

ronniechua/iStock(NEW YORK) — The prime minister of Hungary introduced new legislation on Sunday that would provide financial incentives for families to have more children in an effort to combat the country’s longstanding low birth rate while maintaining a hard line against immigration.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban has asked Parliament for health care investments worth $2.5 billion, and a program of loans to newlyweds worth $35,250 per couple. The loans would be partially paid off if the couple had two kids, and written off entirely after the birth of a third child.

Hungarian women who have four children or more will be exempt from income tax for life.

Other motivators include a state subsidy for people buying seven-seater family cars, better mortgage rates for families with multiple kids, saved places for childcare and work-leave for grandparents who take care of their grandchildren.

The prime minister’s proposals still need parliamentary approval, but as Orban’s party has a two-thirds majority in Parliament, their passage is likely. For decades, Germany and Hungary have had among the lowest birth rates in the world, both ranking in the bottom 10 percent of countries worldwide.

A series of post-World War II un-generations has left both countries with severe labor shortages.

Those shortages, and an excess of jobs to fill, were factors in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to open up the country to more than a million mostly-Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees.

Orban chose a different path, building walls with razor wire in border areas with Serbia and Croatia to keep the refugees out. Permitting migration resulted in “mixed population countries,” Orban said in his State of the Nation speech on Sunday, in which he suggested that Christians would eventually become a minority. “Those who ride that train will go to the last station and there’s no return ticket,” he added.

He drew condemnation in 2015 after saying that barring entrance to Muslim refugees would save Hungary’s Christians from the same fate of close to a half million Hungarian Jews killed during the Holocaust.

In 2015, Hungary’s population was around 9.9 million. By 2050, the population is expected to be 8.3 million, according to the World Population Prospects report published by the United Nations.

The country’s low birth rate is combined with a brain and body drain as more and more Hungarian youth choose to leave the country for better life — and more freedoms — elsewhere.

Orban says his solution to incentivize child bearing, in the words of a familiar campaign slogan, will put “Hungary First.”

“There are fewer and fewer children born in Europe. For the West, the answer is immigration,” said Orban.“But we do not need numbers. We need Hungarian children.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 Feb 2019

Running back Kareem Hunt back in the NFL, 2 months after he was caught on video beating woman

Sports News Running back Kareem Hunt back in the NFL, 2 months after he was caught on video beating woman

Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) — Kareem Hunt is back in the National Football League a little more than two months after he was caught on video beating and kicking a 19-year-old woman.

The Cleveland Browns signed the 23-year-old running back on Monday, 74 days after he was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs in the wake of the violent encounter at his apartment building in Cleveland.

While Hunt is technically back in the NFL, he will be placed on league Commissioner Roger Goodell’s exempt list, meaning he is not allowed to play or attend any NFL games until the NFL makes a final decision on discipline.

John Dorsey, general manager of the Cleveland Browns, said the team “did extensive due diligence” to understand “whether it was prudent to sign” Hunt, including speaking with clinical professionals.

Dorsey is the former general manager of the Chiefs, who drafted Hunt in 2017 out of the University of Toledo. Hunt went on to lead the NFL in rushing in his rookie season with Kansas City.

“My relationship and interaction with Kareem since 2016 in college was an important part of this decision-making process…,” Dorsey said in a statement.

“There were two important factors: one is that Kareem took full responsibility for his egregious actions and showed true remorse and secondly, just as importantly, he is undergoing and is committed to necessary professional treatment and a plan that has been clearly laid out,” Dorsey said.

On Feb. 10, 2018, police were called to Hunt’s apartment building in Cleveland to investigate a report of an assault on 19-year-old Abigail Ottinger, a student at Kent State University, according to police records obtained by ABC News.

The website TMZ posted the video on Nov. 30 of the violent confrontation between Hunt and Ottinger.

The footage showed Hunt pushing Ottinger as a man attempted to get between them and separate them.

After getting pushed, Ottinger came back at Hunt and appeared to punch him in the face before several men hustled Hunt into a hallway and out of view of the camera. The video, which has no sound, shows Ottinger follow Hunt into the hallway and say something to the player, who breaks free and pushes a man into Ottinger, sending them both to the ground and her face-first into a wall.

As several people, including another woman, appeared to grab Hunt to keep him away from Ottinger, Hunt is seen kicking her as she squats on the floor, knocking her to the ground again.

Hunt was not arrested nor charged in the incident.

The Chiefs cut Hunt after TMZ posted the video. Team officials claimed that Hunt was not truthful with them about what occurred.

“First off, I would like to once again apologize for my actions last year,” Hunt said in a statement released Monday. “What I did was wrong and inexcusable. That is not the man I was raised to be, and I’ve learned a great deal from that experience and certainly should have been more truthful about it after the fact.



He said he is “extremely grateful that John Dorsey” and the Cleveland Browns are giving him a second chance.

“I am committed to following the necessary steps to learn and to be a better and healthier person from this situation,” Hunt said. “I also understand the expectations that the Browns have clearly laid out and that I have to earn my way back to the NFL. I’m a work in progress as a person, but I’m committed to taking advantage of the support systems that I have in place to become the best and healthier version of myself.”

Shortly after he was released by the Chiefs, Hunt said in an interview with ESPN that he accepted full responsibility for the incident. He also said he had never met Ottinger until she showed up at his apartment the night of the assault with friends he had invited to his residence.

“I’m asking for forgiveness and I definitely believe I deserve forgiveness,” Hunt said. “Everything is really happening fast right now and I just want everybody to forgive me. I know it’s going to be hard. I made a bad choice and I’m not going to let this bring me down.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 Feb 2019

Russian region declares state of emergency after mass invasion of polar bears

WORLD NEWS Russian region declares state of emergency after mass invasion of polar bears

SeppFriedhuber/iStock(MOSCOW) — Authorities in a remote Russian arctic region have declared a state of emergency after dozens of hungry polar bears overran villages, besieging residents.

A team of specialists is being flown into Novaya Zemlya, an archipelago with a population of less than 3,000 people, to assist in removing the bears, which have been gathering in populated areas in increasingly large numbers since December, according to local authorities.

Fifty-two bears have been spotted close to the archipelago’s main population center, Belushya Guba, with six to 10 of them constantly inside the village, Alexander Minaev, the deputy head of the local municipal administration told Russian state news agency, TASS. Videos have appeared of dozens of the animals rooting through a nearby garbage dump and CCTV footage shown on Russia state television revealed a bear wandering through the hallway of a building.

“I have been on Novaya Zemlya since 1983, but there has never been such an invasion of polar bears before,” Zhiganshi Musin, the head of Novaya Zemlya’s administration told TASS. “They are literally chasing people and going into the entranceways of housing buildings.”

The local administration declared a state of emergency on Saturday, warning that the bears were behaving aggressively and that people were afraid to leave their homes.

Russian state media reported that the usual methods of scaring the bears away using police sirens, car horns and dogs are no longer effective, because the animals have become so used to them. Authorities have sent out anti-bear patrols, and now special barriers have been erected around schools, and special transport has been arranged for children and workers, to help them get around town without encountering the bears.

Wildlife experts have warned the polar bears’ incursion is the result of shrinking sea-ice, as rising Arctic temperatures due to global warming cause the ice to melt, reducing the bears’ normal hunting grounds. Unable to hunt on the ice as usual, the bears are forced to venture inland to human settlements in search of food.

“Everyone understood that this could happen,” Mikhail Stishov, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)’s project coordinator on Arctic biodiversity told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti. “Now the bears are increasingly on the shores on account of the absence of ice for long periods. They come onto shore, where they get used to human housing, especially if the system of garbage disposal isn’t very well set up.”

Russia classifies polar bears as an endangered species and shooting them is illegal.

The specialists being flown in hope to remove the bears without resorting to guns, TASS reported, but environmental officials have warned that it may be necessary if all other efforts fail.

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Posted On 11 Feb 2019

After BAFTA win, ‘Black Panther’ star Letitia Wright got real about her bout with depression

Entertainment News  After BAFTA win, 'Black Panther' star Letitia Wright got real about her bout with depression


Marvel Studios(LONDON) — Letitia Wright took home the Rising Star Award at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards last night, and after her win, the Black Panther star opened up about her struggle to get there.

“A few years ago I saw myself in a deep state of depression and I literally wanted to quit acting,” the 25-year-old said, according to the BBC.

“The only thing that pulled me out of it was God, my belief, my faith and my family, and an email from Bafta asking me to become part of the Bafta Breakthrough Brits,” Wright continued. “I was like: ‘Let me try again.'”

Wright made BAFTA’s Breakthrough Brits list in 2015 and has since starred in Black Mirror, and the back-to-back Marvel blockbusters Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War.

Now, looking back, Wright acknowledges the importance of her bumpy journey, and says she’s thankful that she’s stayed on course.

“This wasn’t an overnight thing, this wasn’t a click of a finger success, and I’m still a work in progress, but I want to thank God, my family, my team,” she says. “I want to thank everybody who said yes to me, that gave me a chance, and just saw my talent and saw what God placed in me, and said ‘yes.'”

After Wright’s win, her Black Panther co-star Lupita Nyong’o congratulated her, posting a photo of the actress holding her trophy. Oscar winner Nyong’o added, Living life and winning at it! Congrats Baby Underbite!!”

Wright’s close friend John Boyega also sounded off in support: “A star!” he wrote. “Congrats @letitiawright#bafta rising star.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 Feb 2019

James Cameron says the working title of the new ‘Terminator’ movie is ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’

Entertainment News  James Cameron says the working title of the new 'Terminator' movie is 'Terminator: Dark Fate'


Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) — In a chat with Yahoo! Entertainment about his new release Alita: Battle Angel — which he co-wrote and produced — James Cameron says the working title of the new Terminator movie is Terminator: Dark Fate.

Cameron explains that, like Alita, he guided the process, but because he’s busy with more Avatar films, he left the directing up to somebody else. While Robert Rodriguez called the shots on Alita, Deadpool veteran Tim Miller was behind the camera for this new Terminator film.

The new movie deliberately ignores the events of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator: Salvation, and, perhaps most gratifyingly for fans, the critically savaged Terminator: Genisys

Cameron said, “I can’t be involved in this film at all if Arnold [Schwarzenegger] is not in it,” and added that he “strongly recommended” the filmmakers bring back Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor — something Miller was keen to do.

“Fans are going to want to see her again, and they’re going to want to see the real Sarah Connor and what time and dealing with these tragic futures has done to her,” Cameron advised.

If you remember, Sarah gives birth to John Connor, the future savior of mankind in the war against the machines.

What she’s been through has, “hardened her even more, but in a way that made her much stronger…Maybe less likable, but stronger,” Cameron notes.  He addis, “Ultimately, she becomes a really important character in passing the baton to the new characters that come in. It’s a very female-centric film, which I’m glad Tim embraced..”

Terminator: Dark Fate — if that’s what it ends up being called — hits theaters November 1. Alita: Battle Angel opens Thursday.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 Feb 2019

Marvel readying ‘Howard The Duck’, ‘Hit Monkey’, other adult animated shows for Hulu

Entertainment News  Marvel readying 'Howard The Duck', 'Hit Monkey', other adult animated shows for Hulu


Marvel(LOS ANGELES) — Marvel Television is bringing four of Marvel Comics’ off-kilter characters to Hulu, in a quartet of animated shows targeted towards adults.

Variety reports Howard The Duck, Hit-Monkey, M.O.D.O.K., and Tigra and Dazzler will be coming to the streaming service, each featuring with some very unique comedic voices.

Kevin Smith is co-writing and co-producing Howard The Duck, about a talking alien duck. Howard, the subject of a famously bad 1986 live-action movie, was briefly glimpsed in Guardians of the Galaxy. Helping Smith is Dave Willis, known for the offbeat Adult Swim cartoons Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Squidbillies.

Hit Monkey is about an assassin monkey, and Blades of Glory writers Josh Gordon and Will Speck are behind that one. Guardians of the Galaxy writer-director James Gunn once pitched Marvel Studios on the idea of making a film based on the character.

M.O.D.O.K. will center on the work/life balance of the giant-headed villain whose name means “Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing.” Comedian and certified geek Patton Oswalt is co-writing and producing the project.

Finally, from writers and executive producers Erica Rivinoja and Chelsea Handler comes Marvel’s Tigra & Dazzler Show, about, “two woke Super Heroes and best friends…fight[ing] for recognition.”

Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb said of the shows: “A giant head. A monkey. A tiger lady and a disco queen. And the duck. Brought together because no one else could but Marvel Television on Hulu. M.O.D.O.K., Hit Monkey, Tigra & Dazzler and Howard the Duck will form a team no one asked for — The Offenders (and wait until you see who the Team Leader is!)!” He adds, “We have such tremendous talent bringing amazing adult animation that’s fun, fresh and fantastic. We’re so excited for what’s to come!”

Marvel is owned by ABC News’ parent company Disney.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 Feb 2019

Health officials fighting the worst ever ebola outbreak: everything you need to know

Motortion/iStock(NEW YORK) — The current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the second largest in history and the worst the country has ever seen.

At least 811 people have reported symptoms of hemorrhagic fever in the Central African nation’s eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, which share borders with South Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda.

Among those patients, 750 have tested positive for Ebola virus disease, according to a daily bulletin from the country’s health ministry on Sunday night.

There have been 510 deaths thus far, including 449 people who died from confirmed cases of Ebola. The other deaths are from probable cases of Ebola.

“No other epidemic in the world has been as complex as the one we are currently experiencing,” the country’s health minister, Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga, said in a statement Nov. 9.

The rising number of cases in the ongoing epidemic has far exceeded that of the 2000 outbreak in Uganda, making it second only to the 2014-2016 outbreak in multiple West African nations that infected more than 28,000 people, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The World Health Organization (WHO), the global health arm of the United Nations, has deemed the risk of transmission in the current outbreak “very high” at the national and regional levels, while the risk globally remains low. Still, the organization concluded in October that the outbreak does not yet meet the criteria for an international public health emergency — a proclamation that would have mobilized more resources and garnered global attention.

Here is what you need to know about the deadly virus.

What is Ebola?

The Ebola virus is described as a group of viruses that cause a deadly kind of hemorrhagic fever. The term “hemorrhagic fever” means it causes bleeding inside and outside the body.

The virus has a long incubation period of approximately eight to 21 days. Early symptoms include fever, muscle weakness, sore throat and headaches.

As the disease progresses, the virus can impair kidney and liver function and lead to external and internal bleeding. It’s one of the most deadly viruses on Earth with a fatality rate that can reach between approximately 50 to 90 percent. There is no cure.

The WHO has received approval to administer an experimental Ebola vaccine, using a “ring vaccination” approach, around the epicenter of the current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. More than 77,000 people, including children as well as health and frontline workers, have been vaccinated in the outbreak zone since Aug. 8, according to the country’s health ministry.

The vaccine, which was developed by American pharmaceutical company Merck, has proved effective against the country’s previous outbreak in the western province of Equateur.

How is it transmitted?

The virus is transmitted through contact with blood or secretions from an infected person, either directly or through contaminated surfaces, needles or medical equipment. A patient is not contagious until they start showing signs of the disease.

Thankfully, the virus is not airborne, which means a person cannot get the disease simply by breathing the same air as an infected patient.

Where have people been infected?

In this current outbreak, people have been infected in North Kivu and Ituri, which are among the most populous provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and share borders with Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan.

Those two provinces are awash with conflict and insecurity, particularly in the mineral-rich borderlands where militia activity has surged in the past year, all of which complicates the response to the outbreak. There is also misinformation and community mistrust of the medical response, partly due to the security situation, and some residents delay seeking care or avoid follow-up.

Ebola is endemic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is the 10th outbreak the country has seen since 1976, the year that scientists first identified the deadly virus in the small northern village Yambuku near the eponymous Ebola River.

This outbreak in the country’s eastern region was announced Aug. 1, just days after another outbreak in the western part of the country that killed 33 people (including 17 who had confirmed cases of Ebola) was declared over.

Where did the virus come from?

The dangerous virus gets its name from the Ebola River in northern Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was near the site of one of the first outbreaks. The virus was first reported in 1976 in two almost simultaneous outbreaks in areas that are now South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The outbreaks killed 151 and 280 people, respectively.

Certain bats living in tropical African forests are thought to be the natural hosts of the disease. The initial transmission of an outbreak usually results from a wild animal infecting a human, according to the WHO. Once the disease infects a person, it is easily transmissible between people in close contact.

An outbreak that began in the West African nation of Guinea in March 2014, and soon spread to neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone, was the largest in history, infecting 28,652 people and causing 11,325 deaths. The outbreak, which the WHO deemed a public health emergency of international concern, was declared over in June 2016.

Who is at risk?

The virus is not airborne, which means those in close contact can be infected and are most at risk. A person sitting next to an infected person, even if they are contagious, is not extremely likely to be infected.

However, health workers and caregivers of the sick are particularly at risk because they work in close contact with infected patients during the final stages of the disease, when the virus can cause internal and external bleeding.

In the current outbreak alone, 67 health workers have been infected so far and at least 22 of them have died, according to the WHO.

There are also a high number of young children infected in the current outbreak. Children, who are at greater risk than adults of dying from Ebola, account for more than one-third of all the cases, while one in 10 Ebola patients is a child under the age of 5, according to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.

“We are deeply concerned by the growing number of children confirmed to have contracted Ebola,” Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF’s regional director for West and Central Africa who returned this week from Beni, said in a Dec. 12 statement.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Chadwick Boseman, Emilia Clarke, Samuel L. Jackson among the next batch of Oscar presenters

Entertainment News  Chadwick Boseman, Emilia Clarke, Samuel L. Jackson among the next batch of Oscar presenters


AMPAS(LOS ANGELES) — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced a second round of celebrity presenters for the upcoming Oscars telecast.

Oscar-winner Javier Bardem joins a host of other Academy Award nominees, including Chadwick Boseman, his Black Panther mom Angela Bassett, Laura Dern, Samuel L. Jackson, and Melissa McCarthy, as well as Emmy-winner Sarah Paulson, James McAvoy, If Beale Street Could Talk‘s Stephan James and Kiki Layne, Aquaman himself, Jason Momoa and Keegan-Michael Key.

Previously announced presenters including Daniel Craig, Oscar-winners Brie Larson, Charlize Theron, and Whoopi Goldberg, and Crazy Rich Asians co-stars Awkwafina and Constance Wu.

The 91st annual Oscars ceremony will air live on ABC Sunday, February 24.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 Feb 2019

Acting defense secretary says no orders to reduce forces in Afghanistan

WORLD NEWS Acting defense secretary says no orders to reduce forces in Afghanistan

MivPiv/iStock(WASHINGTON) — En route to Afghanistan on an unannounced trip, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Monday he has not received orders from President Donald Trump to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan by half, a Taliban demand made at recent peace talks with U.S. negotiators.

During his first visit to Afghanistan, Shanahan stressed the importance of including the Afghan government in the talks, something the Taliban has not been willing to do.

“I have not been directed to step down our forces in Afghanistan,” Shanahan told reporters.

ABC News has previously reported that the Trump administration has been planning to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan by half sometime this year. U.S. military planners had been tasked with a possible troop reduction after internal discussions began late last year, according to U.S. officials.

Last week, Trump tied troop reductions to “progress” in the U.S. talks with the Taliban.

“As we make progress in these negotiations, we will be able to reduce our troop presence and focus on counter-terrorism. We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement — but we do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace,” the president said.

A recent round of U.S. talks with the Taliban resulted in a tentative framework arrangement, but a key stumbling block for future talks has been the Taliban refusal to meet with Afghanistan’s leaders.

Shanahan stressed the importance of including the Afghan government in future talks.

“The Afghans have to decide what Afghanistan looks like,” said Shanahan. “It’s not about the U.S., it’s about Afghanistan.”

As part of his visit to Afghanistan Shanahan met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and General Scott Miller, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan.

The acting Defense Secretary said he is a part of the ongoing U.S. peace talks with the Taliban but describes lead U.S. negotiator Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad as “the quarterback”.

The most recent round of talks resulted in a tentative framework arrangement that Khalilzad hopes can result in a final U.S.-Taliban deal before Afghanistan’s presidential election in mid-July.

But Khalilzad cautioned last week that the talks were at “the early stages of a protracted process”.

“We have a long way to go,” Khalilzad said at the U.S. Institute of Peace on Friday.

On Sunday, Khalilzad left on a long trip that will include a stop in Afghanistan to continue consultations with the Afghan government about how their possible inclusion in “intra-Afghan” talks.

A top Taliban official had said last week that as part of the talks the United States had agreed to pull out half its troops from Afghanistan by the end of May.

The State Department later said his claim was not true. Asked if the departure of half the U.S. troops is being discussed in the talks with the Taliban, Shanahan responded, “no”. Shanahan said any future U.S. military presence in Afghanistan will emerge from the talks.

“I think the U.S. military has strong security interests in the region,” he said. “Its presence will evolve out of those discussions of where, what, concentration, how.”

“All of that is extremely important, but we are going to leave it to the teams to start to look at what mix of combinations makes more sense,” he added.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 Feb 2019

Man in Blue — See Will Smith as Genie in ‘Aladdin’ mini-trailer

Entertainment News  Man in Blue -- See Will Smith as Genie in 'Aladdin' mini-trailer


Disney(LOS ANGELES) — Remember in December, when everyone got so bent out of shape when Entertainment Weekly‘s cover photo showed Will Smith as the Genie in the forthcoming live-action Aladdin remake — and he wasn’t blue?  Smith himself answered the haters on Instagram, posting in part: “[A]nd yes, I’m gonna be BLUE!”

He wasn’t kidding.  Disney on Sunday night released a “special look” mini-trailer, that ends with Smith’s part-CGI reveal as the Genie — emerging from the lamp in an electric-blue tornado of smoke until we see him in all his glory.  He’s blue, all right, and bare-chested, with pointed ears and the Genie’s signature beard and top knot.

“You really don’t know who I am?” he asks an incredulous Aladdin.  “Genie, wishes, lamp — none of that ringing a bell?”

The original, animated Aladdin premiered in 1992 and famously starred the late Robin Williams in a virtuoso vocal performance as the Genie that earned him a Golden Globe.  That movie has grossed $504 million worldwide.

Directed by Guy Ritchie, Aladdin also stars Mena Massoud in the title role, Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Marwan Kenzari as Jafar.  It opens May 24 from Disney, parent company of ABC News.

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Posted On 11 Feb 2019