Alabama Senate approves country’s most restrictive abortion ban

U.S. NEWS Alabama Senate approves country’s most restrictive abortion ban

DJMcCoy/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Alabama’s state Senate voted and approved one of the most controversial and restrictive abortion laws in the country.

The ban prevents women from seeking abortions by making any abortions a felony for the doctor who performs them, making this different than the so-called “heartbeat” bills that have passed in other states recently, like Georgia. Those bills point to the detection of a fetal heartbeat as the point at which an abortion is banned, but the Alabama ban goes further.

The Alabama measure does not provide any exemptions for cases of rape or incest, meaning that the women or children who are victims in those cases would have to carry a pregnancy to term. The only exception allows for abortions in cases where the woman’s health is at risk.

After the vote passed 25-6, the ACLU of Alabama announced on Twitter that they would file a lawsuit to stop the abortion ban.

Like many of the abortion bans that have been passed on the state level, the Alabama law is expected to face an almost immediate legal challenge and even if it is signed into law by the governor, it is unlikely to go into immediate effect.

Another similarity seen in Alabama as in other states is the hope that the inevitable legal challenges could lead to the bill being debated by the Supreme Court, which opponents of abortion hope could lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade and therefore a federal ban on abortion.

Much like an earlier iteration of the debate, the Tuesday discussion of the bill turned deeply personal, touching on different views of God and an individual experience of one of the lawmakers.

State Sen. Rodger Smitherman, a Democrat opposed to the bill, spoke about how he and his wife faced the choice of whether or not to abort one of their children.

“There was a problem with this child. The 23rd chromosome did not split,” Smitherman said on the senate floor.

Smitherman said that he and his wife decided to keep the child, and struggled but adapted during the few months that the child was alive.

“I learned and became a perfectionist in resuscitation because I brought him back to life three times,” he said of his son, detailing how they “made him a part of my family for those brief months.”

“The significance is that I had the choice. The choice was my wife’s and I. The legislature did not make the choice for me,” Smitherman said.

Smitherman posed questions to Republican State Sen. Clyde Chambliss, who supports the bill. He was repeatedly asked about the fact that the bill does not provide exemptions from the ban on abortions in cases of rape and incest.

Chambliss said that abortions could only be provided “until the woman is known to be pregnant,” which points to the small window that would be available.

Smitherman asked Chambliss about the 15 week abortion bill that was deemed unconstitutional in neighboring Mississippi, but Chambliss said that he is “not familiar with that case.”

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Posted On 14 May 2019

Donald Trump Jr. has agreed to appear for closed door session with Senate Intel committee

Political News Donald Trump Jr. has agreed to appear for closed door session with Senate Intel committee

Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Donald Trump Jr has agreed to meet with the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence committee for another interview, according to sources familiar with the matter.

In responding to the subpoena from the committee, sources tell ABC News attorneys for Trump Jr say that he plans to appear in early June for a closed-door interview that will be limited in scope and time.

A source close to Trump Jr says the president’s eldest son is “incredibly appreciative to the members that went to bat for him, and he will return the favor come the 2020 campaign.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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Posted On 14 May 2019

Anthony Anderson to make directorial debut with tonight’s ‘black-ish’

Entertainment News  Anthony Anderson to make directorial debut with tonight's 'black-ish'


ABC/Kelsey McNeal(LOS ANGELES) — Anthony Anderson will move from in front of the camera to behind on tonight’s installment of ABC’s black-ish

Anderson, who stars on the show as a father of five, directs the season’s pentuntimate show, which airs tonight.

On Tuesday’s Good Morning America, Anderson, who also produces black-ish, said of the career milestone, “They let me direct this episode — my directorial debut. I loved it.”

“It was challenging, it was daunting, it was scary, it was all of those things, but my crew would not let me fall flat on my face,” he added. “And my cast was great. So I just want to applaud them for supporting me.”

In his black-ish role as Andre Johnson, Anderson often doles out advice to his kids, but he said some of the best advice he’s ever received in real life came from his own mother, Dorris.

“Never compromise who I am,” is what Anderson says his mom told him. “I’m in the business of people telling me no. Don’t let the no’s discourage me because eventually, somebody will say yes.”

But Anderson jokes that his character is “a horrible father.”

“A lot of what you see on black-ish is a combination of the creator [Kenya Barris] and myself — we are fathers and we are sons. I make the same mistakes everybody else does,” he said.

ABC has picked up season six of the comedy for the 2019-2020 season. The network also announced last week that it’ll expand the franchise with a new series called mixed-ish, focusing on Tracee Ellis Ross’ character Rainbow Johnson and her experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the ’80s.

Black-ish airs tonight at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Posted On 14 May 2019

Six confirmed dead after midair plane crash over Alaska

U.S. NEWS Six confirmed dead after midair plane crash over Alaska

Retired_Tim/iStock(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) — Six people died and 10 others were hospitalized after two aircraft collided in midair over Alaska on Monday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Alaska State Troopers confirmed the identities of the deceased after notifying their next of kin. They are:

  • Simon Bodie, 56, of Tempe, New South Wales, Australia
  • Louis Both, 46, San Diego
  • Randy Sullivan, 46, of Ketchikan, Alaska, one of the aircraft’s pilots
  • Cassandra Webb, 62, of St. Louis
  • Elsa Wilk, 37, of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
  • Ruan Wilk, 39, of Utah

The Canadian and Australian consulates have been notified, according to state troopers.

As of early Tuesday, the search was ongoing for two travelers after four bodies had been recovered following the incident.

“There are two people that we’re still searching for at this time,” Coast Guard Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios told ABC News in an interview that aired Tuesday on Good Morning America. “Our crews are out there searching diligently alongside our partner agencies and some good Samaritans. They’ve been searching throughout the day, by both air and by sea.”

The deadly collision took place Monday afternoon in Coon Cove, Alaska, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. A de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver with five people on board and a de-Havilland Otter DHC-3 carrying 11 people clashed in midair “under unknown circumstances,” the FAA said in a statement Monday.

Ten people with injuries from the incident were taken to PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center, according to hospital spokeswoman Mischa Chernick. Three of the patients were listed in serious condition, while seven were in fair condition, Chernick told ABC News.

Both planes were on sightseeing tours, carrying guests from the Royal Princess cruise ship, which is on a seven-day voyage that departed Vancouver on May 11 and is scheduled to arrive in Anchorage on Saturday, according to Princess Cruise Lines.

The aircraft collided approximately eight nautical miles from Ketchikan, Alaska.

The two people who had been listed as missing, the Australian and the Canadian travelers, both were guests on the Royal Princess cruise ship, which has since departed the area and continued on its voyage, according to Princess Cruise Lines.

“All of us at Princess Cruises are deeply saddened by this tragic news and we are extending our full support to the investigating authorities as well as the traveling companions of the guests involved,” Brian O’Connor, a spokesman for the cruise line, said in a statement Tuesday. “We immediately activated our Princess Care Team employees in the region and sent additional team members to Ketchikan overnight to assist the families impacted.”

One of the planes was operated by Taquan Air, which said it has suspended all scheduled flights and is cooperating fully with investigators.

“We are devastated by this news and our hearts go out to our passengers and their families,” the airline said in a statement Monday.

The Coast Guard, the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are all investigating the incident.

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Posted On 14 May 2019

Putin tells Pompeo US and Russia can improve relations after Mueller report

WORLD NEWS Putin tells Pompeo US and Russia can improve relations after Mueller report

State Department photo/ Public Domain(MOSCOW) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi as part of a renewed effort by the White House and Kremlin to improve relations following the publication of the Mueller report.

Putin told Pompeo he hoped to restore relations and that the conclusion of the special counsel investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election meant that was possible.

“Despite all the exotic work of Mr. Mueller’s commission, I have to give him his due: on the whole, he conducted an objective investigation and confirmed the absence of any traces of a conspiracy between Russia and the current administration,” Putin told Pompeo at Bocharov Ruchey, his residence outside the city.

While the Mueller report did not conclude that the Trump campaign illegally conspired with Russia to meddle in the election, it did detail many interactions between members of the campaign and Russians. It also detailed in depth the extent and scope of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Putin said allegations of meddling had spoiled U.S.-Russia relations, but, “I’m hoping today the situation is changing.”

Putin said he now had “the impression that the president is inclined towards the restoration of Russian-American ties, contacts and to solving issues together,” referring to a call he had with Trump.

This meeting is the latest step in renewed outreach by the Trump administration to fulfill the president’s long-held goal of establishing friendlier relations with Russia. The May 3 telephone call was described as lengthy and positive by both sides, and Trump said during it the two discussed the “Russian hoax.” On Tuesday, Trump announced he would meet with Putin at a G20 summit in Japan next month.

Pompeo’s visit, his first to Russia as Secretary of State, was unusually upbeat. Earlier in the day, he met with foreign minister Sergey Lavorv, and both sought to smooth over areas where the U.S. and Russia disagree.

Pompeo told Lavrov Trump is “committed to improving this relationship” and that the two countries were “not destined to be adversaries on every issue.”

At a joint press conference afterwards, Lavrov — who referred to Pompeo as “Mike” throughout — said he had concluded it was “entirely possible” to normalize relations.

In reality, many experts question how easy that would be, especially with Russia and the U.S. on opposing sides in many crises around the world, most recently in Venezuela. The White House also faces resistance in the U.S., where critics have accused it of failing to do enough to deter Russia from interfering in future elections.

In Sochi, Pompeo said he had raised election meddling in conversation and made it clear the U.S. would not tolerate Russian interference in the 2020 presidential election, warning it would put Russian-American relations in an “even worse place.”

Lavrov, however, dismissed the election allegations again as “complete fiction,” before giving a length discourse on historical occasions when the U.S. and Russia have accused one another of interference or pledged to avoid it, including in the 1930s.

Pompeo tried to smooth over the dispute with humor, saying, “You can see we have some disagreements on this issue. I promise not to go back to the early ’30s.”

Pompeo and Lavrov said the two discussed a range of issues, including Venezuela, Syria, Ukraine, as well as arms control and North Korea.

The escalating crisis with Iran has also hung over the trip. Pompeo cancelled a planned Moscow leg of his visit on Monday, instead diverting to Brussels to inform European leaders about U.S. intentions regarding Iran, after it deployed additional forces to the region.

Following unexplained sabotage attacks on four commercial ships over the weekend, there have been mounting fears that the crisis could slide into an inadvertent military conflict.

Those worries were intensified on Monday, after The New York Times reported the Pentagon prepared plans that would see 120,000 American troops deployed to the region if Iran or its proxies mounts an attack on American forces there.

In Sochi, Lavrov said Russia wanted to assist in ensuring the crisis with Iran did not “tip over into war.” He said Pompeo had told him the report of the 120,000 troops plan was “rumors” and said he felt “the U.S. side had a commitment to finding a political solution.”

Pompeo said “we fundamentally do not see a war with Iran,” but warned, “We’ve made clear to the Iranians if American interests are attacked we most certainly will respond in an appropriate fashion.”

He said he had no information about who was responsible for the damage to four cargo ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates over the weekend.

Despite the conciliatory tone, Russia and the U.S. remain apart on many issues. In Venezuela, Russia has been backing president Nicolas Maduro, rejecting calls for him to step down by opposition leader Juan Guaido, who the U.S. and dozens of other countries support.

The clash between the U.S. and Russia over Venezuela has intensified in recent weeks, with Pompeo last month directly accusing Russia of blocking a deal that would have seen Maduro leave the country.

Trump though publicly has placed himself at odds with his advisers, including Pompeo. After their call last week, Trump said he believed “Putin is not looking at all to get involved” in Venezuela other than “he’d like to see something positive happen.”

In Sochi, Pompeo said he had again told Lavrov Russia should stop supporting Maduro. Lavrov, though, reiterated Moscow’s position that there should be talks between the opposition and Maduro and compared the U.S. efforts to force him out to the American interventions in Iraq and Libya.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 14 May 2019

Prince Harry and Meghan’s son, Archie, meets his uncle and aunt, Prince William and Kate

WORLD NEWS Prince Harry and Meghan's son, Archie, meets his uncle and aunt, Prince William and Kate

Dominic Lipinski – WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) — Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor has met two more of his royal family members, Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge.

The son of Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, met his paternal aunt and uncle on Tuesday at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.

The visit took place after Archie’s father, Prince Harry, returned from a day of official engagements in Oxford, according to ABC News royal contributor Victoria Murphy.

Prince William and Kate also each had official engagements today. The couple lives at Kensington Palace, about 25 miles from Windsor, where Harry and Meghan now live.

William and Kate are the parents of Archie’s three cousins, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

They appear to be the second members of Britain’s royal family to meet Archie, who was born on May 6. Harry and William’s father, Prince Charles, is expected to meet his fourth grandchild later this week, according to ABC News royal contributor Omid Scobie.

Archie was introduced to his great-grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, last week, on the same day Harry and Meghan announced his name and posed with him in photos.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 14 May 2019

Nebraska farmer recounts sawing off his leg with a pocket knife to save his own life

U.S. NEWS Nebraska farmer recounts sawing off his leg with a pocket knife to save his own life

vzwer/iStock(PENDER, Neb.) — A Nebraska farmer says he’s fortunate to be alive after his leg got stuck in a grain auger dealing him a life or death decision: Cut off his limb or die.

“I didn’t have no other choice,” Kurt Kaser, a 63-year-old grain and hog farmer in Pender, Nebraska, told ABC News on Tuesday.

Kaser said he’s had other close calls on the farm, but nothing like what happened to him in April.

He said he was working alone, transferring a load of grain into a bin with a mobile grain auger, when he was suddenly forced to think fast on how to save his own life.

He said back in the winter the ground had frozen on his farm and he had to jury-rig the auger to make it fit under a bin by cutting away part of a safety screen covering the auger’s hopper.

“I’m kind of disappointed in myself that I didn’t think of fixing that thing, or whatever. But that’s why they call it accidents I guess,” Kaser told ABC News.

On April 26, he was using the same auger to fill a bin with grain and forgot that part of the screen covering the hopper was still missing.

“I stepped right in the damn thing. It grabbed ahold of me,” he said. “I can remember seeing it start and I go, ‘This ain’t good,'” Kaser said. “And then when my foot was in there banging around, I was trying to hold my leg, pulling it out, and I said, ‘This is not good.'”

There was no one around to hear him yell for help, and making matters worse, he couldn’t find his cell phone.

“I don’t know if I had it with me, if it fell in the auger and went in the bin. I don’t know. But nobody has been able to find it,” Kaser said of the phone.

He said the auger, which resembles a large drill bit, kept pulling on his leg and tearing away the skin, tissue and muscle until he could see the bone protruding from his lower left leg.

“I felt it try to grab me again,” he said. “I about gave up and said, ‘Whatever happens happens. If it sucks me in all the way, it’s over with.’ But then, all at once, I thought of my pocket knife.”

Not knowing when someone would arrive to help, and fearing he would pass out, a desperate Kaser did the unthinkable. He managed to retrieve his pocket knife, which he described as having a 3-to-4-inch blade.

“I dang near dropped it in the auger,” he said.

But when he got a good grip on the knife, he said he started sawing his leg about eight inches below his knee.

“Finally it let go and I got out,” he said.

He said he doesn’t remember experiencing much pain and didn’t notice a lot of blood.

“Adrenaline kicked in so much that I don’t know if it hurt or not,” he said.

But once freed from the piece of farm equipment, Kaser said he was confronted with a new problem: How to get to the nearest working phone, which was in a nearby shed he uses as an office.

“I had to Army crawl on my hands and knee and elbows, and kind of drug my back,” he said. “It was about 150 to 200 feet on rock and gravel and stuff and [I] got to a phone to call.”

He said he contacted one of his sons who relayed the emergency to 911. A medical helicopter flew Kaser to a trauma center in Lincoln, about 90 miles away, where he underwent surgery on his leg.

“I never lost consciousness until they put me out in Lincoln when they started operating on me. I sat up in the chopper and watched all the way to Lincoln,” Kaser said.

He said it’s not the first time he’s gotten his leg stuck in an auger, explaining that a few years ago one injured his right leg.

“It never broke my leg or took my leg, but it chewed a bunch of muscle and stuff out of it. I had that redone,” he said.

Following his latest mishap, Kaser spent three weeks undergoing rehabilitation at the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital-Lincoln Campus. He finally went home on Friday and is waiting to be fitted with a prosthetic limb, he said.

He said that while undergoing rehab, he saw other patients in much worse shape than him.

“I mean, they’re in wheelchairs. They’re not getting out of them. It could always be worse,” he said. “I get a chance to be pretty close to normal. They don’t and I feel sorry for them.”

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Posted On 14 May 2019

96 people charged in Texas marriage fraud scheme to get Green Cards

U.S. NEWS 96 people charged in Texas marriage fraud scheme to get Green Cards

Pattanaphong Khuankaew/iStock(HOUSTON) — Nearly 100 people in Texas have been indicted on federal marriage fraud charges, in a scheme allegedly aimed at securing U.S. Green Cards for Vietnamese nationals, according to officials.

The alleged ringleader of the scheme, Houston resident Ashley Yen Nguyen, had associates operating throughout Texas and Vietnam, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a press release. The indictment, which names 96 people, was filed on April 30 in the Southern District of Texas, but it remains under seal.

The suspected criminal organization allegedly created 150 sham marriages in the past six years, ABC Houston station KTRK-TV reported.

“Marriage fraud is a serious crime,” USCIS Houston Director Tony Bryson said in the statement. “This indictment reveals how successful our working relationships are with our law enforcement and intelligence partners when it comes to investigating marriage fraud. USCIS remains steadfast in our commitment to ensuring national security, public safety and the integrity of the immigration system.”

Each “beneficiary spouse” allegedly paid Nguyen between $50,000 to $70,000 to obtain full U.S. permanent resident status, according to the ICE statement. The agreements allegedly dictated that individuals would pay an additional amount for each benefit he or she received, such as admission into the U.S., conditional U.S. permanent resident status an, finally, full U.S. permanent resident status.

The organizers allegedly went so far as to prepare fake wedding albums that included photographs, the statement said.The suspects also allegedly provided false tax, utility and employment information to USCIS, it said.

Several individuals also allegedly acted as guides for those who traveled from Vietnam to petition for residency in the United States, according to ICE. The guides acted “under the guise” that they were meeting their fiances, but they were actually “beneficiary spouses paying the criminal organization to circumvent U.S. law,” the statement said.

The couples involved in the fraudulent marriages did not live together and did not intend to do so, “contrary to the official documents and statements they submitted” to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service in Houston, the statement said.

“The spouses only met briefly, usually immediately before they obtained their marriage license, or not at all,” the statement read.

Attorney Trang Le Nguyen was also charged with preparing paperwork associated with at least one of the fraudulent marriages and allegedly instructed a witness who provided information to law enforcement to “go into hiding” and not travel by air, according to ICE. That attorney was charged with obstructing and impeding the due administration of justice and tampering with a witness. ABC News could not immediately reach an attorney for her.

The indictment remains sealed for those who have been charged but are not yet in custody, according to ICE. It includes 47 counts of marriage fraud, 50 counts of mail fraud, 51 counts of immigration fraud and 51 counts of false statements under oath in a matter relating to the registry of undocumented immigrants, according to ICE’s statement.

The charges — conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud and tampering with a witness, victim or informant — all carry possible 20-year federal prison sentences, the release said.

On Monday, several family members of some of those indicted trickled in and out of court, according to KTRK-TV.

Marc Carter, the attorney for the alleged ringleader, Nyugen, told KTRK-TV that his client was included in the indictment “because she’s helped people.”

“The government in these detention hearings always try to make these salacious kind of statements and arguments,” Carter told KTRK. “They were also making a point to let the judge know she is a naturalized citizen that is somehow less than someone born here.”

A federal judge ruled that Nyugen was a flight risk, and she is being held, as is her husband, according to KTRK-TV. Nyugen’s daughter was released after posting a bond, KTRK-TV reported.

Carter did not immediately answer ABC News’ request for comment.

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Posted On 14 May 2019

12-year-old girl arrested for DWI in New Mexico

U.S. NEWS 12-year-old girl arrested for DWI in New Mexico

Fedorovekb/iStock(ALAMOGORDO, N.M.) — A 12-year-old girl has been arrested in New Mexico for drunk driving and leading officers on a high-speed chase before losing control of the steering and smashing into a speed limit sign, officials said this week.

New Mexico’s Alamogordo Police Department said the 12-year-old was driving with her three friends, ages 12 and 13, in the car.

Police said the girl told them that she waited for her grandfather, with whom she was staying at the time, to fall asleep so she could take his car.

Bodycam footage released by police shows officers breaking into the vehicle to get the girl and her friends out after the pursuit.

The driver was charged with DWI and her friends were also charged with underage drinking.

It remains unclear how the girl and her friends got the alcohol, but cans of Twisted Tea, a malted alcoholic beverage, were recovered from the car, Alamogordo Police Chief Brian Peete told ABC News.

“It’s concerning,” Peete said. “We are grateful that no one was seriously hurt. But it is concerning that someone so young would put themselves and others in harms way.”

The names of the youths involved have not been released, due to their age.

Peete told the Alamogordo Daily News that his department is working closely with the local school system as a part of a “comprehensive approach to disciplinary action.”

“We’re using a coordinated effort to get to the bottom of this,” Peete told the newspaper.

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Posted On 14 May 2019

2022 ‘Star Wars’ movie will be from ‘Game of Thrones’ creators

Entertainment News  2022 'Star Wars' movie will be from 'Game of Thrones' creators


Lucasfilm(NEW YORK) — It’s official, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss — who adapted George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series into the Emmy-winning HBO phenomenon Game of Thrones — are working on the Star Wars movie that will hit theaters in 2022.

Ending speculation, the news came straight from the horse’s mouth — Disney CEO Bob Iger — at the 6th annual MoffettNathanson Media and Communications Summit in New York City.

Disney had previously announced that three new Star Wars films would be coming down the pike in the next few years, and although the names of Benioff and Weiss had been bandied about online, this is the first confirmation that their movie will be the first following the end of the 9-chapter Skywalker Saga.

Iger had explained there would be a pause in Star Wars movies after this December’s release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, following the under-performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story — which many blamed on the divisiveness of Rian Johnson’s eighth installment, Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

About the forthcoming film, Iger offered, “We’re hard at work already, but we felt three years was the proper amount of time to not only take a breather and reset, but to gear up for the next film’s release. We did a deal with David Benioff and Dan Weiss…and the next movie that we release will be theirs, and we’re not saying anything more about that.”

The film from Benioff and Weiss will hit the big screen on December 16, 2022. 

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

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Posted On 14 May 2019