Massachusetts man facing federal charges in fatal machete attack on Appalachian Trail in Virginia

U.S. NEWS Massachusetts man facing federal charges in fatal machete attack on Appalachian Trail in Virginia

Southwest Regional Jail(NEW YORK) —  A Massachusetts man is facing a federal murder charge after authorities alleged he attacked a pair of hikers with a machete on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia, killing one and severely injuring the other.

James L. Jordan, 30, of West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, was arrested early Saturday following the deadly attack in Wythe County, Virginia, that a federal prosecutor described Sunday as “senseless and brutal.”

Jordan was arrested on the trail after two hikers contacted the Bland County Sheriff’s Office and reported “a man with a machete assaulting people,” according to the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office.

A motive for the attack is under investigation by the FBI’s Richmond, Virginia, division.

The Wythe County Sheriff’s Office said deputies quickly went to the Appalachian Trail and found two badly injured hikers, a man and a woman. The victim’s names were not immediately released and it was unclear which one had died.

Jordan was charged with one count of murder within the special maritime territorial jurisdiction of the United States, and one count of assault with the intent to murder within the special maritime territorial jurisdiction of the United States, authorities said.

The suspect is expected to appear in federal court in Abingdon, Virginia, on Monday, authorities said. It’s unclear if Jordan has retained an attorney.

“I commend local law enforcement in Wythe and Smyth Counties for mobilizing successful rescue and tactical operations in this remote region. Thanks to their efforts, the suspect was safely apprehended and the seriously wounded victim received critical medical care,” Thomas T. Cullen, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia, said in a statement.

“We will continue to work with our state and local partners to bring the perpetrator of this senseless and brutal attack to justice,” Cullen added.

The slaying was the first murder on the Appalachian Trail, a 2,160-mile wilderness path that stretches from Maine to Georgia, since 2011 when hiker Scott Lilly, 30, of South Bend, Indiana, was slain and left in a shallow grave in Amherst County, Virginia. No one has been arrested in the homicide.

The most infamous murder on the Appalachian Trail occurred in May 1981 near Pearisburg, Virginia, when the bodies of two hikers, Robert Mountford Jr. and Laura Susan Ramsay, both of Maine, were found in their sleeping bags. Mountford had been shot three times in the face, while Ramsay was stabbed repeatedly with a long nail, authorities said.

Randal Lee Smith was arrested in the double homicide. He pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder.

The slayings became the subject of the 1984 book “Murder on the Appalachian Trail” by author Jess Carr.

Smith was paroled in 1996 after serving 15 years of a 30-year prison sentence.

Smith returned to the Appalachian Trail in May 2008 and was arrested for shooting and wounding two fishermen near where he killed Mountford and Ramsey, authorities said. He later died in prison.

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Posted On 12 May 2019

Georgia police Sgt. Kelvin Ansari dies after being shot responding to robbery

U.S. NEWS Georgia police Sgt. Kelvin Ansari dies after being shot responding to robbery

WTOC (SAVANNAH, Ga.) — A veteran police sergeant in Savannah, Georgia, died after he and another officer were shot during a gunfight Saturday night while investigating a robbery, officials said.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Sunday that the suspect in the fatal shooting of Sgt. Kelvin Ansari had also died from injuries suffered in Saturday night’s gun battle.

Authorities later identified the suspect as 49-year-old Edward Fuller III.

Ansari, a 10-year member of the Savannah Police Department and a U.S. Army veteran, died at a hospital from wounds suffered when he and another officer approached a car suspected of being involved in the robbery, police officials said

The second officer shot in the episode, Doug Thomas, was treated at a hospital and released, police said in a statement.

Ansari and the other officer responded just after 8 p.m. on Saturday to a report that a car connected to an earlier robbery at a barber shop was spotted on a street near downtown Savannah, Keturah Green, a spokeswoman for the Savannah Police Department, told reporters at the scene shortly after the shooting.

Green said that as the officers approached the suspicious vehicle, shots rang out.

The officers were not aware that Fuller was in the vehicle, according to the GBI. When they approached, Fuller exited the car and “immediately began firing,” striking Ansari and Thomas.

Fuller then fled the scene on foot to the backyard of a nearby home, authorities said. When responding officers found him, he emerged from a shed and pointed a handgun at the officers, prompting one officer to fire his weapon, authorities said.

Fuller was struck and later died at a local hospital.

In keeping with the protocol for police-involved shootings, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations is leading the probe.

“Please keep our officers and their families in your thoughts and prayers at this time,” the Savannah Police Department said in a statement.

Ansari had served in the U.S. Army for more than 20 years before joining the police department, officials said.

Ansari is the 18th U.S. law enforcement officer shot to death in the line of duty this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. Three officers have been shot to death this month.

Ansari’s death comes less than a week after Officer Robert McKeithen was killed in an ambush shooting outside the Biloxi Police Department headquarters in Mississippi. Thousands of law enforcement officers from around the country are expected to attend McKeithen’s funeral on Monday in Biloxi.

Darian Atkinson, 19, was arrested in McKeithen’s slaying and charged with capital murder.

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Posted On 12 May 2019

Man suspected of child sex abuse turns himself into Oregon authorities after 23 years on the run: FBI

U.S. NEWS Man suspected of child sex abuse turns himself into Oregon authorities after 23 years on the run: FBI

iStock/bizoo_n(OREGON CITY, Ore.) —  A man suspected in multiple cases of child sex abuse has turned himself in to Oregon authorities after spending more than 23 years on the run.

Wayne Arthur Silsbee, 62, has been wanted since the mid-90s for allegedly sexually assaulting several female victims between the ages of 8 and 10 he was acquainted with, according to the FBI. Silsbee walked to the Oregon City Police Department on Friday afternoon, authorities said.

Silsbee knew the victims from either babysitting them or having “taken them to various events,” according to the FBI.

Charges against Silsbee include sodomy, sexual abuse, unlawful penetration and endangering the welfare of a child, online jail records show. The assaults allegedly occurred between September 1995 and April 1996 in Clackamas County, according to the FBI.

A local arrest warrant for Silsbee was filed on July 24, 1996, and the FBI issued a federal arrest warrant charging him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution on Sept. 19, 1996.

It is unclear why Silsbee turned himself in. The FBI is asking anyone who may have had contact with him in the last 23 years to call the Oregon City tip line. Investigators believe he may have most recently lived in Nebraska, but he may also have ties to Springfield, Missouri, the San Francisco Bay Area, Colorado, Arizona and northwestern Washington state, according to the FBI.

In the past, Silsbee has been employed as a security guard, tax preparer, school bus driver and warehouseman, according to his FBI “Wanted” poster. He has also worked for multiple temp service agencies and was “purported to be an active member of the Adventist Church,” according to the poster.

Silsbee is currently being held on $50,000 bail at the Clackamas County jail. He will appear in court on Monday afternoon.

It is unclear if Silsbee has retained an attorney.

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Posted On 12 May 2019

Commercial pilot Christian Martin indicted in Kentucky triple homicide

U.S. NEWS Commercial pilot Christian Martin indicted in Kentucky triple homicide

iStock/Pattanaphong Khuankaew(NEW YORK) — In a stunning twist to a cold-case triple homicide in Kentucky, a commercial pilot was arrested on an airplane full of passengers and charged with the brutal 2015 killings of three of his neighbors, including two whose bodies were found burned beyond recognition in a torched car, authorities said.

Christian R. Martin, 51, a former Army Ranger major and a pilot for the American Airlines subsidiary PSA Airlines, was arrested on Saturday at the Muhammad Ali International Airport in Louisville, a day after a grand jury indicted him on three counts of murder and arson stemming from the killings of Calvin and Pamela Phillips and their neighbor, Edward Dansereau.

Martin was taken into custody on an airplane loaded with passengers as he was preparing for takeoff, authorities said.

A jail booking photo of Martin shows him still in his pilot’s uniform.

Calvin Phillips, 59, was found shot to death inside his home in Pembroke, Kentucky, on Nov. 18, 2015. The bodies of his wife, Pamela, 58, and Dansereau, 63, were discovered burned beyond recognition several miles from their neighborhood in a car that had been driven into a cornfield and set on fire, investigators said.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said his office took over the investigation after the son of the slain couple, Matt Phillips, met with him two years ago and expressed fears the case might never be solved.

“He was worried that the case was stalled and was worried that justice would not come,” Beshear said in a video statement released on Saturday. “We hope this is one example of when you never stop seeking justice, when you never give up on a case that we can truly get important results for our families.”

Martin was indicted by a Christian County grand jury on three counts of murder, one count of arson, one count of attempted arson, burglary and three counts of tampering with physical evidence.

“Every day, we are haunted by what was done to them and haunted further that someone was still free to do as they wish, beyond the civility of mankind or laws of our nation,” relatives of the Calvin and Pamela Phillips, and Dansereau said in a joint statement. “We are overwhelmed with this positive step towards resolution for people we love dearly…We look forward to justice in court, and we look forward to a verdict to bring an end to this terror, and a fresh start at healing.”

At the time of the slayings, Martin lived across the street from the Phillips couple and Dansereau.

In a 2016 interview with NBC affiliate station WSMV-TV in Louisville, Martin claimed Calvin Phillips was having an affair with his wife but denied any involvement in the murders.

Asked in the interview if he believed he would be charged in the killings, Martin said told WSMV, “No, I have no worries about that.”

The killings occurred just days before Martin faced a military court-martial on charges of assault consummated by battery upon a child under the age of sixteen and conduct unbecoming an officer, according to military records. Martin was ultimately convicted of assaulting his stepson by coming up behind him, “placing his arms around his stepson’s neck in a ‘rear naked choke,’ lifting him off the ground, and squeezing his neck until his body went limp and felt numb,” according to the records.

Authorities said Calvin Phillips was scheduled to testify in the court-martial proceedings, but the nature of his testimony was unclear.

Phillips was found guilty of the charges, dismissed from the military and placed under “confinement for 90 days,” according to the records.

Shortly after the homicides of the Phillips couple and Dansereau, Martin moved to North Carolina.

A former Army helicopter pilot, Martin began working as a pilot for PSA in January 2018, according to the airline.

In a statement to ABC News, American Airlines officials said Martin passed a routine criminal background check that found “no criminal history that would disqualify him from being a commercial pilot.”

“All of us at American Airlines and PSA Airlines are deeply saddened to have learned about these allegations from 2015,” the airline’s statement reads. “Our team was made aware of the indictment [Saturday] morning after his arrest at Louisville International Airport. We have an unwavering commitment to the safety and security of our customers and team members, and we will provide any investigative assistance possible to law enforcement throughout their investigation.”

Martin was being held without bail in Jefferson County, Kentucky. He is expected to be extradited to Christian County and could be arraigned on the murder charges as early as Monday, officials said.

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Posted On 12 May 2019

Not appropriate for Trump to talk to AG about investigation into Biden: Schiff

Political News Not appropriate for Trump to talk to AG about investigation into Biden: Schiff

Mario Tama/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — After President Donald Trump said it would be “appropriate” for him to speak to his attorney general about initiating an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden’s diplomacy in Ukraine while Biden’s son was serving on the board of Ukrainian energy company, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday that such a move would not be appropriate and expressed concern that the attorney general — who he said was lacking integrity — “just might do it.”

“Of course it’s not appropriate [to discuss that],” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” Sunday. “The president of the United States is saying it’s perfectly OK for him — and he’s said this before — to go to the attorney general and get [the Department of Justice] to open an investigation of his rivals. And sadly, this attorney general has turned out to be so … partisan and so without — frankly, without integrity — he just might do it.”

Trump told POLITICO on Friday that he hadn’t yet discussed it with Attorney General William Barr, but also said, “It could be a very big situation.”

On Thursday, Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s personal attorneys, told The New York Times, and it was later confirmed by ABC News, that he was planning to travel to Kiev, Ukraine, to seek a meeting with its president-elect, comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, to encourage him to pursue an investigation into both special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into 2016 Russian election interference and Hunter Biden’s work at Burisma Holdings while his father — who is now vying against a crowded Democratic field to take on Trump in the 2020 presidential election — was the point man for diplomacy with the country during his time in the Obama administration. The former vice president was pushing hard for reforms in the country, specifically seeking the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had been accused of being soft on corruption.

A spokesperson for Biden told The New York Times, and later ABC News, that Biden’s push to remove the prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, was made “without any regard for how it would or would not impact any business interests of his son, a private citizen” and was all part of a broadly-supported U.S. effort “to root out corruption in Ukraine.”

The Biden campaign declined to comment on Giuliani’s travel plans, which have since been cancelled, Giuliani first told Fox News and later confirmed to ABC News.

Anticipating criticism that he was encouraging foreign interference in a U.S. presidential campaign, Giuliani told the Times, “There’s nothing illegal about it,” Giuliani said. “Somebody could say it’s improper. And this isn’t foreign policy — I’m asking them to do an investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them to stop.”

On “This Week,” Schiff referenced Mueller’s investigation, questioning if there was “something wrong with” Giuliani and the president for thinking this wouldn’t be inappropriate.

“The fact that we’re not even done with this investigation of the last foreign interference in our election and Giuliani, apparently with the president’s — at least initially — knowledge and blessing, was going to get the help of another foreign government in a presidential election … it tells me that they not only think this — there’s nothing wrong with this. If that’s true, there’s something wrong with them,” he said.

“How about the underlying issue, though?” Stephanopoulos pressed. “There’s no public evidence that the vice president — former vice president — took any inappropriate action to help his son, but was it right for Hunter Biden to take a job like that in Ukraine while his father was engaged in diplomacy there?”

Schiff said he doesn’t know why Hunter Biden took the job, but said of Joe Biden, “There’s no evidence nor has there ever been any evidence that he was doing anything but trying to get the Ukraine government to crack down on corruption.

“They’ve had an endemic corruption problem. That’s what Joe Biden was trying to address. So going after his son is just a method of going after someone the president believes is his most formidable opponent.”

Late Friday night, Giuliani said on Fox News that he decided to cancel his trip, but left open the possibility of one in the future.

“I don’t know, I’ll play it by ear, I’ll see what is going on,” Giuliani told host Shannon Bream. “I am actually quite confident that the facts, with regard to vice president — former vice president — Biden are so compelling that there’s no way he gets from here to the election, without this being investigated, OK? And he would be better off getting investigated now, where it really isn’t going to affect the election. It’s 17 months away.”

In a statement to ABC News on Saturday, Giuliani asserted that Ukraine’s incoming president Zelensky was being advised by “very vocal opponents of” Trump.

“I concluded that the President elect is being advised by people who were very vocal opponents of President Trump and peculiarly vocal supporters of Hillary Clinton,” the statement read. “Under these circumstances the meeting would have accomplished little and may be in the hands of those who might might (sic) misrepresent it.”

Schiff told Stephanopoulos on “This Week” that if Trump wants to “go after” Biden, an early front-runner in the Democratic primary, he can do that, but “don’t seek the help of a foreign government in your election.”

“And you know, if this isn’t criminal … then maybe we need to change the elements of that crime because we cannot make this the new norm, that if you can’t win an election on your own, it’s fine to seek help from a foreign power,” he said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 May 2019

College awards student who died after getting into wrong car with posthumous degree

U.S. NEWS College awards student who died after getting into wrong car with posthumous degree

Columbia Police Department(COLUMBIA, S.C.) — Slain University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson, who died after getting into the wrong car, was awarded with a posthumous degree at what would have been her graduation ceremony.

Josephson, 21, died in March after she got into a car she mistakenly thought was an Uber after a night out with friends. After she got into the stranger’s car, the child safety locks were activated, preventing her from escaping, and an autopsy found that she died from multiple sharp force injuries, authorities said.

Josephson’s parents were in attendance Saturday at the commencement ceremony at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, where an empty seat was draped with a cap and gown in Josephson’s honor, according to ABC Charlotte, North Carolina, affiliate WSOC. There, University of South Carolina President Harris Pastide presented Josephson with a degree in political science.

During the ceremony, Pastide reminded graduating students of the importance of safety when riding in ride-share cars, leading the audience in a chant of “What’s my name?”

“Asking ‘What’s my name?’ before entering a ride-share vehicle will save lives and must become as automatic to you as putting on your seatbelt when you get behind the wheel,” Pastide said.

Last month, Josephson’s parents appeared on “Good Morning America,” urging for stricter ride-share safety laws.

“I think it’s just become such a natural or new phenomenon using Uber,” Josephson’s mother, Marci Josephson, told George Stephanopoulos on April 15. “We trust people and you can’t. You have to change the way that the laws are to make it safer because that’s our nature. We automatically assume that we’re safe.”

The man suspected of killing Josephson, Nathaniel Rowland, has been charged with murder and kidnapping. Josephson’s body was found in a wooded area where Rowland recently lived, and her phone was found in his car, police said.

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Posted On 12 May 2019

Robert Mueller ‘is going to testify’: Rep. Adam Schiff

Political News Robert Mueller 'is going to testify': Rep. Adam Schiff

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — As House Democrats weigh imposing fines on members of the Trump administration figures to try to force officials to obey subpoenas, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., stressed the importance of having special counsel Robert Mueller testify before Congress.

“The American people have a right to hear what the man who did the investigation has to say and we now know we certainly can’t rely on the attorney general who misrepresented his conclusions,” Schiff said on “This Week” Sunday. “So he is going to testify.”

Schiff also defended potential contempt charges against members of the administration, which he acknowledged would lead to a battle in the courts.

“We’re are going have to use that device if necessary, we’re going to have to use the power of the purse if necessary,” he said. “We’re going to have to enforce our ability to do oversight.”

Speaking later on the show with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said that the investigations have all been “politically motivated.”

“One of the things that Adam Schiff and the other partisans don’t understand is that if you’re accused of a crime by a grand jury and they don’t indict you, the prosecutor doesn’t go all over town saying we thought he did this, we thought he did this, this is all the evidence,” he said.

Paul went on to say that he thinks “most Americans would disagree,” with the hundreds of federal prosecutors who say that President Donald Trump would be prosecuted if he weren’t president. “People are horrified by the idea that you could put someone in jail for obstructing justice on something where you didn’t commit the crime.”

Days after Trump asserted executive privilege over the Mueller report, both Schiff and Paul were asked to defend past comments on former President Barack Obama’s use of executive privilege.

“There are categorical differences,” Schiff said. “So, first, the Obama administration made dozens of witnesses available to the Congress, provided numerous thousands of documents. … But here, the Trump administration has decided to say a blanket no; no to any kind of oversight whatsoever, no witnesses, no documents, no nothing, claiming executive privilege over things that it knows there is no basis for.”

Paul was asked to reconcile past comments calling Obama “a king” for asserting executive privilege with his support of Trump’s move.

“I opposed the president when he unconstitutionally — Obama tried to make DACA or immigration law without Congress, I also opposed President Trump when he tried to spend money that wasn’t appropriated,” he said. “So I think I’m entirely consistent in saying no president should be king, that includes my president.”

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Posted On 12 May 2019

Booker compares gun control fight to civil rights movement; endorses ‘Medicare for all who want it’

Political News Booker compares gun control fight to civil rights movement; endorses 'Medicare for all who want it'

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker is optimistic about his comprehensive gun control proposal’s chances of success despite the partisan pushback it received in the week following its release, and compared to the potential battle over its implementation to the civil rights movement in an interview on “This Week” that aired Sunday.

“People thought [civil rights legislation] was impossible, but they changed the terms of the debate by expanding the moral imagination of this country,” Booker, D-N.J., told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl, just prior to becoming the first member of the 21-candidate Democratic primary field to open a campaign office in South Carolina.

On Monday, Booker announced his sweeping gun control plan, which includes calls for universal background checks, an assault weapon ban, a safety training program and mandatory gun licensing and registration. The proposals were swiftly met with resistance from Republicans, but the New Jersey senator said Saturday, just days after school shootings in Colorado and Georgia, that he could not continue to stand by as gun violence became “normalized.”

“In my short time on this planet, 50 years, we’ve had more people killed by gun violence than every single war combined from the Revolutionary War through World War I, World War II, Vietnam,” he said. “And what have we done? Massacre in the synagogue. We do nothing. Massacre here in South Carolina in a church. We do nothing. Massacre in my mom’s city of Las Vegas. We do nothing.”

The gun violence prevention proposal joins criminal justice reform — an issue Booker has led bipartisan efforts to address in the Senate — as the centerpieces of the former Newark, New Jersey, mayor’s presidential campaign, which has thus far found itself firmly in the middle of the expansive pack, based on the latest polling.

On health care, an issue where several leading presidential candidates have begun to differentiate themselves, Booker attempted to reconcile his co-sponsorship of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for-all bill with his stance that the private insurance industry should not be eliminated — something called for by both the legislation and a number of the Democratic primary’s biggest names, including Sanders and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

“The first thing I’m going to do is to dramatically lower costs for Americans, and expand insurance,” the senator said.

“I want to be pushing on a pathway towards getting to everyone having coverage and part of that is going to be Medicare for all who want it.”

Karl pressed, “Medicare for all who want it is not ‘Medicare-for-all,’ its Medicare, that’s called the public option. It’s not for all.”

Booker responded, “Again, as I’m telling you, I have a clear goal in mind that I share with all Americans, health care a right. I think the best way to get there is Medicare for all. I’m also a realist. As a former mayor who got things done who knows that you can’t hold progress hostage for some purity.”

Despite his relative distance from the top of the field in early polls, Booker noted that “historically, the front-runners at this far out are often not the people that end up winning … early primaries,” and refuted criticism that his message of unity and common ground isn’t resonating with Democratic voters.

“To be strong, you don’t have to be mean. To be tough, you don’t have to be cruel,” he told “This Week.” “We have a common pain in this country, but we’ve got to get back to a sense of common purpose. And so I can’t campaign in a divisive way. I would say you can’t campaign wrong and think you’re going to govern right.”

In April, the chairman of the Polk County, Iowa Democrats summarized some of the criticisms of Booker’s outlook, explaining that Booker’s message was “compelling,” but “the Democratic base is angry as hell” and its primary voters “want to fight,” according to Politico.

In South Carolina, reacting to such a notion, Booker recalled a town hall during which a supporter told him he wants to see the senator “punch Trump in the face.”

“I just smiled and said, ‘Hey man, that’s a felony, and us black guys, we don’t get away with that that often,'” Booker joked. “The reality is Trump wants us to fight him on his turf and his term. He wants to pull our party down. We will not succeed by showing the worst of who we are, but [rather by showing] the best of who we are.”

And as he did with gun control, the senator again invoked the activists of the civil rights movement and their strategy of nonviolent resistance, including against one of the most notorious opponents of desegregation.

“We’re here at South Carolina, [at] a historically black … university, where some of the greatest strength was shown through the civil rights activism where people didn’t raise a fist,” Booker said. “We didn’t beat Bull Connor by bringing bigger dogs and more powerful hoses.”

“You beat demagogues by expanding the moral imagination of the country, bringing people together to overcome them,” he added.

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Posted On 12 May 2019

Myanmar National Airlines flight miraculously lands safely with no front landing gear

WORLD NEWS Myanmar National Airlines flight miraculously lands safely with no front landing gear

ABC News(MANDALAY, Myanmar) — Passengers on a Myanmar National Airlines flight have a brilliant flight crew to thank for miraculously landing safely after the plane’s front landing gear failed to deploy.

Flight UB103 touched down at Mandalay International Airport at 9:09 a.m. local time with all 82 passengers and seven crew members able to safely evacuate the plane after it scraped its nose down the runway and came to a perfect stop.

On approach, the captain tried to deploy the front landing gear, but found out it was malfunctioning and could not be activated, the airline said in a statement.

After circling the airport to burn off fuel, the captain came in for a landing with no front wheel.

Video shot from inside the airport showed the plane landing on its back wheels, steadying and then eventually coming down on its nose — sending a shower of sparks down the runway. Miraculously, it slid to a stop before passengers were able to be evacuated by inflatable slide.

“Myanmar National Airlines would like to express our deepest appreciation to all the passengers onboard and our crews,” the airline said in the statement.

The plane, an Embraer 190, had taken off from Yangon, Myanmar, about an hour flight south of Mandalay.

The airline commended Capt. Myat Moe Aung, first officers Myo Thiha Aung and Kaung Set Lwin, purser Cherry Myint and three attendants for safely landing the plane.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 May 2019

Pompeo to visit Russia as Trump pivots to repairing relations post-Mueller report

Political News Pompeo to visit Russia as Trump pivots to repairing relations post-Mueller report

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will make his first trip to Russia, arriving in Moscow on Monday and meeting with Vladimir Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday in Sochi.

The trip is an important step in President Donald Trump’s pivot back to trying to repair relations with Russia – a goal of his since he was a presidential candidate.

But it comes with intense scrutiny over how Trump has approached Russia, praising Putin, downplaying his aggression around the world, and declining to condemn his oppression at home — even as his administration has taken strong action against his war in Ukraine, the poisoning of a former spy in the United Kingdom, and more.

It also comes less than a month after special counsel Robert Mueller released his report detailing extensive contacts between the Trump administration and the Russian government, but finding no conspiracy to interfere in the election.

Last Friday, Trump and Putin spoke, with the president saying Putin “sort of smiled” as they talked about how the Mueller investigation “started off as a mountain and it ended up being a mouse.”

“Getting along with Russia and China, getting along with all of them is very good thing, not a bad thing. It’s a good thing,” he added.

A senior State Department official wouldn’t say if the long-awaited release of that report is why Pompeo is now ready to head to Moscow. But they told ABC News the trip is a “good opportunity… to take that conversation [with Russia] to a higher level and for a frank exchange of views on where the challenges and opportunities are.”

On Monday, Pompeo and Lavrov met on the sidelines of the Arctic Council summit in Finland after three phone calls in the last three months. That followed a period of near silence and high tension, with no calls since August 2018 and Trump canceling a formal meeting with Putin at the G20 in November over Russian seizure of three Ukrainian vessels and 24 sailors.

Pompeo will be watched carefully back in Washington, especially by critics in Congress, for how he treats the Russians. While the president has consistently carried a different tune, calling for warmer relations with the government that meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to support him, Pompeo has staked a middle ground, saying there may be areas where the two countries can work together.

“Where we have concerns, we’re going to raise them directly, narrow those differences, and find areas where we can cooperate to protect and advance our interests,” the official said, speaking anonymously to brief reporters on behalf of the department.

Ahead of the trip, the State Department pulled at least one punch. Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus released a statement Thursday that praised the conviction of two Russian intelligence officers in Montenegro as “a clear victory for the rule of law, laying bare Russia’s brazen attempt to undermine the sovereignty of an independent European nation.”

But the next day, the official statement disappeared from the department’s website. The State Department declined to comment, but Foreign Policy magazine reported that the statement was released by mistake against Pompeo’s wishes.

Trump has similarly been slow to criticize Putin’s government, from telling Fox News in his first year in office, “You think our country’s so innocent?” to denying Russia is involved in Venezuela last Friday. He’s also continually cast doubt on the Kremlin’s cyber attacks and interference in the 2016 election, infamously saying alongside Putin in Helsinki, Finland: “President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

Among the top issues on the table, Pompeo will look for ways to counter terrorism together, resolve the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, deal with regional challenges like North Korea, and negotiate new arms control agreements.

“We are not going to solve these issues overnight, but we have to be engaging to create opportunities for progress,” the official said, pointing to talks on North Korea, Afghanistan, and counterterrorism as successes so far.

But the other issues will be difficult, given that Russian interference in Ukraine and Syria has caused and perpetuated those wars, respectively, and that Russian violations of arms control pacts like the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty have pushed the U.S. to withdraw from the INF Treaty and possibly others, according to U.S. officials.

Still, Pompeo told ABC News he hopes “we can find places where we can have overlap in our interests… It makes perfect sense that any place we can find where we have overlapping interests, we work along with the Russians,” he told ABC Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on “This Week” Sunday.

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Posted On 12 May 2019