Anita Hill pens opinion piece on forgiveness, Biden and the #MeToo movement

U.S. NEWS Anita Hill pens opinion piece on forgiveness, Biden and the #MeToo movement

George Frey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — In an opinion piece published in the New York Times, Anita Hill wrote that the cultural shifts brought about by the #MeToo movement might have begun in 1991, had the Senate Judiciary Committee, at the time led by Joe Biden, responded more seriously to allegations of sexual misconduct.

The piece was published days after Jill Biden, a college professor and wife of the former vice president, said “it’s time to move on” from the controversy of the confirmation hearings her husband presided over.

“He apologized for the way the hearings were run,” Jill Biden said in an interview Tuesday on NPR’s “Morning Edition.” “And so now it’s kind of — it’s time to move on”

Hill, a professor at Brandeis University, testified during the 1991 hearings that Justice Clarence Thomas had made unwanted advances and lewd comments. At the time Hill was a young law professor and had worked for Thomas.

Biden, a former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate, led the Senate Judiciary Committee during Thomas’ confirmation and has received scrutiny for the way he handled the hearings. He has expressed regret over the way Hill was treated during the hearings and ultimately voted against Thomas.

Biden has said that he is responsible for the way Hill was treated during the confirmation hearings.

In the New York Times, Hill wrote that the 2018 hearings confirming Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, amid allegations of sexual misconduct, signaled that cultural changes have not come about as quickly as some may believe.

“As the #MeToo revelations laid bare the truth of the overwhelming size of the problem, victims dared hope that our political leaders would take up the challenge of confronting it,” Hill wrote. “But that hope was dashed last year.”

During the hearings, Hill wrote, “a new generation was forced to conclude that politics trumped a basic and essential expectation: that claims of sexual abuse would be taken seriously.”

In the final paragraph of her New York Times piece, Hill wrote, “Sexual violence is a national crisis that requires a national solution. We miss that point if we end the discussion at whether I should forgive Mr. Biden.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 May 2019

Climber’s camera captures his horrifying 60-foot free-fall down rock face in Flatirons

U.S. NEWS Climber's camera captures his horrifying 60-foot free-fall down rock face in Flatirons

Kyle Walker(BOULDER, Colo.) — A man who survived a harrowing ordeal, falling 60 feet while climbing the Flatirons in Boulder, Colorado, has finally left rehabilitation.

Kyle Walker, 26, was making his way up the range’s second flatiron April 16 — without ropes — when he fell. His GoPro camera, which was strapped to his chest at the time, captured the terrifying incident.

The video, which is a little less than six minutes long and was posted on YouTube, begins with Walker’s hands desperately holding onto rocks as he tries to maintain his grip.

“Oh, what have you done?” he can be heard saying to himself.

On that day, he was alone and free-climbing — meaning climbing without ropes. He said he’d tackled the Flatirons hundreds of times.

But, at the video’s 48-second mark, he appears to lose his grip. He told the Boulder Daily Camera that his foot had actually slipped.

“In the middle of my final move I realize I’m tiring quickly and I have one chance to explode over the rock to a resting place,” Walker told the Boulder Daily Camera. “Instead my feet slipped on the lichen-covered section of the wall and I was in free fall before I knew what had happened.”

The camera captured the free-fall down the rock’s face. After the fall, almost five minutes of video showed very little but captured Walker’s ragged breathing as he went in and out of consciousness on the ground.

He was found by a hiker about an hour later and was taken by rescuers to a hospital. There, he learned that he’d broken his wrists, eight ribs as well as his pelvis. He also punctured a lung in the fall, according to the newspaper.

He was released from Boulder Community Health’s Foothills Hospital this week.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 May 2019

Mom who skipped her own college graduation to attend son’s surprised with a degree

U.S. NEWS Mom who skipped her own college graduation to attend son's surprised with a degree

Central Michigan University(NEW YORK) —  Stephan Wilson, a recent college graduate from Michigan, said he is having a hard time finding the right gift for his mom, Sharonda Wilson, for Mother’s Day.

Stephan, 23, has good reason.

He and his mom were awarded their college degrees on the same day last weekend. Neither of them knew it was going to happen.

The ultimate surprise came together in just a few short hours when a classmate of Stephan’s at Central Michigan University saw on social media that his mom planned on skipping her own college graduation in order to attend Stephan’s.

Sharonda Wilson was set to graduate last Saturday from the Flint, Michigan, campus of Ferris State University.

The classmate of Stephan’s, who works in the president’s office, told Central Michigan President Bob Davies about the situation Saturday morning, just a few hours before Stephan was set to graduate.

Davies called the president of Ferris State University and was able to get permission for his school to confer Sharonda Wilson’s degree, according to Ari Harris, assistant director of communications at Central Michigan University.

Just a short time later, Davies called Sharonda Wilson down to the stage at graduation, surprising both her and her son.

“I had no clue,” Stephan told “Good Morning America.” “My mom is a selfless person. She didn’t give [missing her graduation] a second thought and I didn’t either.”

Davies told the graduates during his commencement address, “Always remember that someone — or several someones — made a difference in your life that empowered you to be here today.”

Stephan earned a bachelor’s of fine arts in music theater from Central Michigan and his mom, a mother of four, earned a bachelor’s of science in business administration from Ferris State.

“I wouldn’t have been [at graduation] without her. That is the honest truth,” Stephan said. “My mother loves school. I have not been a big fan of school for my whole life.”

“She has definitely been my biggest support, biggest cheerleader and to see her be recognized along with myself was priceless,” he said.

The moment was so priceless that Stephan said his “mind goes blank” when he tries to think of a Mother’s Day gift for his beloved mom.

“I can’t imagine anything else that would top what happened to us a week before Mother’s Day,” he said.

However, Stephan may be able to give his mom the only gift many moms want for Mother’s Day: the chance to hug him in person. He left immediately after graduation to go on tour with the Central Michigan University Chamber Singers but is returning home on Mother’s Day eve.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 May 2019

Teachers, principal on administrative leave after photo of teachers posing with noose surfaces

U.S. NEWS Teachers, principal on administrative leave after photo of teachers posing with noose surfaces

Obtained by ABC News(LOS ANGELES) —  Parents are calling for harsher punishments for four California teachers and a principal who were placed on administrative leave after a photo circulated showing the teachers posing with a noose.

The Palmdale School District was notified on May 8 that “an incident involving the discovery of a noose and possibly inappropriate responses to that discovery occurred at Summerwind Elementary School,” a statement from the school district’s superintendent Raul Maldonado said on Facebook.

The school’s principal has been placed on administrative leave “pending an investigation of the matter,” the statement said.

The four teachers seen in the photo holding the noose and pointing at it while smiling were also placed on administrative leave, according to ABC Los Angeles affiliate KABC-TV. They have not yet been identified.

A parent of a student at the school told KABC that the noose was initially found hanging on a wall in the school earlier this month and that there was also a video showing the teachers making jokes about the noose.

Some parents said their children would no longer attend the school because of the photo, KABC reported. One of the parents, Breyan Clemmons, told the station that the incident “hurt [her] to the core.”

“It’s disgusting and I’m outraged,” Clemmons told KABC. “I want to see some action done and not just this administrative leave.”

Another parent, Tierra Harris, explained to her daughter during an interview with KABC why she was pulling her from the school.

“They use that to hang African American people. That’s what they do. And kill them. And they still do it to this day,” Harris told her daughter. “I don’t want you going here because I don’t want you to feel like that.”

KABC reported that the school district is looking into the context of the photograph and who brought the noose on campus.

“It makes us angry because I know that it’s not a reflection of our community,” Maldonado told KABC. “We don’t tolerate that type of behavior in our community and our school district. We hold our employees to the highest standards with high expectations.”

David Cuestas, the president of the Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association, told ABC News that the union was “deeply concerned” by the photo “and the painful history it represents.”

“While we can’t comment on specific personnel matters or an ongoing investigation, we will continue to work with our schools and members to ensure that all students, teachers and the community are supported as this matter moves forward,” Cuestas said.

The Palmdale School District did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 May 2019

French forces rescue American during raid to free tourists in Burkina Faso

WORLD NEWS French forces rescue American during raid to free tourists in Burkina Faso

iStock/MicroStockHub(PARIS) — French soldiers led a successful raid to free two tourists who had been kidnapped in Burkina Faso, West Africa, and ended up also freeing an American and a South Korean who they were unaware had been abducted.

Several U.S. officials told ABC News that the U.S. government was unaware until Friday that the American woman was being held.

French and U.S. officials on Friday expressed relief at the safe rescue of the four captives during the mission, which left two French soldiers dead.

The U.S. forces had not been involved in the raid, French defense officials said at a news conference in Paris, but had provided some intelligence support, which helped French forces locate the hostages and their kidnappers.

“It seems these two other hostages [the American and South Korean] had been held hostage for 28 days,” said Francois Lecointre, the chief of staff of the French armed forces.

French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly said French authorities “don’t know much” about the American and South Korean women but that “they are in a safe place.”

Conversations with U.S. and South Korean officials appeared to confirm that neither country had known about the hostages, Parly said.

French officials didn’t share the American’s identity or provide any more information about her.

The spokesperson with the U.S. State Department confirmed that an American had been freed, but would not say if U.S. officials were aware, prior to the raid, that an American woman was being held hostage.

“We are grateful for the successful recovery of four hostages, including a U.S. citizen,” the spokesperson said. “We offer sincerest condolences to the families of the two French soldiers killed during the operation.”

The two French tourists had been on safari in the Pendjari National Park in Benin, near the Burkina Faso border, when they disappeared along with their tour guide on May 1. Three days later the tour guide, identified as Fiacre Gbedji, was found dead in the park, according to Benin’s Ministry of Interior and Public Safety.

Al-Qaeda and ISIS were known to operate in the area, officials said at the press conference, but they did not say that either of those groups, or any Islamist extremist groups, were involved.

The French soldiers who died have been identified as Cédric de Pierrepont and Alain Bertoncello, and both were under the command of the special operations, the French president said in a statement.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 May 2019

Baby found dead in New York City was murdered: Officials

U.S. NEWS Baby found dead in New York City was murdered: Officials

WABC(NEW YORK) — The tragic death of a baby boy, clad only in a diaper and floating in the East River off New York City’s South Street Seaport last summer has been declared a homicide, the city’s medical examiner announced on Friday.

The boy’s father, James Currie, 38, went to Thailand immediately after his son’s death but ultimately returned to New York to face charges.

In the wake of the devastating death, Currie pleaded guilty to a charge of improperly disposing of a corpse. But the medical examiner’s findings could change that.

Currie remains incarcerated pending a May 16 court appearing — at which he could face new charges in light of the medical examiner’s findings.

“While the exact cause of death cannot be determined,” the city’s Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson concluded in a statement, “various factors indicate beyond reasonable doubt that recent homicidal violence occurred.”

Monty Campbell, a South Street Seaport tourist and Oklahoma firefighter spotted baby Mason Saldana’s body floating in the teeming river that runs the length of Manhattan’s eastern shores. The firefighter jumped into the river to save the child, but it was too late, and Saldana was declared dead at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

Campbell appeared distraught to learn the cause of death after all this time.

“I’m just incredibly sorry,” he said, pausing, “for the family, and just thankful we did what little part we could to recover the body,” Campbell told ABC News. “But it’s just a sad, said situation.”

That day Campbell, a chiropractor, was suffering from food poisoning after patronizing one of the city’s famous food carts. The couple had just come off the ferry from Liberty Island and were walking towards South Street Seaport, Campbell said.

“I had to stop at like every bench to rest, so it was slow going,” Campbell said. During one break, his wife spotted something in the East River.

“We assumed it was a doll, and then used our cell phones to zoom in on it and at that point we realized it was a baby.”

The couple called 911, but Campbell said that after a couple of minutes he could no longer bear to wait.

“I couldn’t take just sitting there, watching it float,” Campbell said. “So I handed the phone to my son and went out and retrieved Mason. We did a little CRP, but he had no pulse.”

Campbell said that at no time during the ordeal did he have any interactions with Currie, the baby’s father and didn’t recall seeing the father and son together before the baby went into the water.

Efforts by ABC News to reach a representative to speak on Currie’s behalf were not immediately successful. He is not listed as a client of the non-profit Legal Aid Society, and that organization could not provide any information about any lawyer in private practice that may currently be representing him. Calls to the child’s mother and three of Currie’s immediate family members were not immediately returned.

The spot where Mason Saldana was pulled from the water is a half-mile from where Currie was caught on surveillance video entering the subway without the infant, court records said. Currie had earlier been seen on video walking near the river with a child carrier, police said.

“The good news we will never see each other again,” one of the texts said. “I am not in the USA.”

When asked where he was, Currie allegedly responded, “outside the USA.”

When asked where the baby was, Currie allegedly replied, “You will never see Mason again.”

Currie was escorted back to the U.S. by federal agents with Homeland Security Investigations aboard a Korean Air flight that landed Thursday night at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. He was placed under arrest by the NYPD.

The charge of improperly disposing of a corpse is punishable by at least a year in prison and could be upgraded now that the medical examiner’s office determination has been released.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 May 2019

Pentagon deploying Patriot anti-missile battery to Middle East to further deter Iranian threat

WORLD NEWS Pentagon deploying Patriot anti-missile battery to Middle East to further deter Iranian threat

Eugen Warkentin/U.S. Army(WASHINGTON) —  The U.S. military is deploying a Patriot anti-missile battery to the Middle East to further deter threats from Iran, the Pentagon announced on Friday.

The Pentagon would not specify the location but a senior military official said it would arrive “relatively soon.”

The decision follows an announcement earlier in the week that the U.S. would deploy a carrier strike group and bomber task force to the region in response to indications that Iran and its proxies were preparing to attack U.S. forces and interests in the region.

In addition to the Patriot system, the amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington will also head to the Middle East. The Arlington will replace the USS Fort McHenry, as part of the USS Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group. A senior military official told reporters the Arlington was already slated to eventually be in the region, but its movement will be expedited to provide enhanced command and control capabilities. The Kearsarge transited out of the Persian Gulf on Tuesday, but will remain close by.

“The Department of Defense continues to closely monitor the activities of the Iranian regime, their military and proxies,” the Pentagon said in a statement, adding, “The United States does not seek conflict with Iran, but we are postured and ready to defend U.S. forces and interests in the region.”

The Patriot battery provides long-range defense to counter tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and advanced aircraft.

In late September 2018, the Pentagon decided to shift four Patriot systems out of the Middle East, as part of a “re-balancing” to counter threats from China and Russia.

The USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group transited the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday from the Mediterranean Sea. Also this week, four B-52 bombers arrived at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

“It’s important that Iran understand that an attack on Americans or its interests will be met with an appropriate response,” Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters on Friday.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 May 2019

House Ways and Means Committee subpoenas Trump’s tax returns

Political News House Ways and Means Committee subpoenas Trump's tax returns

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — The House Ways and Means Committee has subpoenaed the Treasury Secretary and IRS Commissioner for six years of President Donald Trump’s tax returns after to Department of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin ignored Democrats’ request.

The subpoenas, requesting the president’s returns by May 17, follow Democrats’ request for the information under an obscure 1920’s-era provision of the tax code requiring that the Treasury Secretary “shall furnish” requested tax information to Congress.

The president’s lawyers and White House are expected to challenge the move and have argued that Democrats’ request does not serve a legislative purpose, an argument the administration made in its rejection of Democrats’ initial request.

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal said in a statement that the request was made to determine whether IRS audits and enforcement of the federal tax code of sitting presidents need to be codified into law.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 May 2019

Sara Haines and Abby Huntsman give their best mom advice ahead of Mother’s Day

Entertainment News  Sara Haines and Abby Huntsman give their best mom advice ahead of Mother's Day


L-R: Huntsman, Haines — Walt Disney TV/Lorenzo Bevilaqua – ABC/Lou Rocco(NEW YORK) — Strahan & Sara’s Sara Haines and The View’s Abby Huntsman are both about to be moms of three, so who better to seek mommy advice from this Mother’s Day?

Haines — who’s pregnant with her third child, a baby boy — wants moms to know they don’t have to do it all. In fact, taking some time for self-care is necessary to keeping your whole family happy.

“One thing that comes to mind is you can’t be good for anyone if you’re not taking care of yourself,” she tells ABC Radio. “And by that, I mean whether it’s mental health, physical…”

For fellow expectant moms this Mother’s Day, Haines knows the perfect gift to help make self-care a priority.

“Prenatal massage as, like, a gift certificate is a lovely gift,” she says. “…You feel a bit like a whale but they’re so gentle with you and to just check out and have your full body massaged by people who know what they’re doing. I would have used 10 of those.”

Huntsman, who has a one-year-old daughter and is currently expecting twins, adds that the key to being a great mom can be as simple as spending time connecting with your kids.

“It’s so fun with the one-year-old just seeing her see things for the first time and just being able to connect with her and make her feel like, ‘I get you,’ like you’re a real person,” she says. “…I think just giving your kid love and showing them that you’re gonna be there for them and when they make mistakes, it’s OK.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 May 2019

Suicidal woman tries to open plane door mid-flight: Source

U.S. NEWS Suicidal woman tries to open plane door mid-flight: Source

iStock/Jetlinerimages(NEW YORK) — A suicidal woman tried to open the door of a Delta Airlines flight Friday afternoon, but the plane managed to land safely, a law enforcement source said.

According to the source, the woman made comments about wanting to take her life aboard Delta Airlines flight 5935, from Raleigh-Durham to LaGuardia Airport in New York.

She then allegedly tried unsuccessfully to open an emergency door.

The flight landed safely at LaGuardia, where the woman was taken off the flight.

Authorities stressed that regardless of what the woman tried to do, the aircraft door was designed not to open mid-flight because positive pressure inside the cabin will not allow the door to open.

“We’re aware of the social media report related to the flight and are looking into it,” Republic Airways, which operated the flight, said in a statement. “But what I can tell you now is that the flight landed uneventfully and proceeded to its gate.”

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Posted On 10 May 2019