Former al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza believed to be dead, US officials say

WORLD NEWS Former al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden's son Hamza believed to be dead, US officials say

chameleonseye/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Hamza bin Laden, son of the former al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, is believed to be dead, according to two U.S. officials.

It’s unclear when and where Hamza bin Laden died, but a U.S. military source told ABC News the U.S. government believes he was killed within the last two years.

U.S. intelligence played a role in the operation that killed the younger bin Laden, the source said, declining to elaborate.

A senior U.S. official confirmed that Hamza bin Laden is thought to be dead.

Earlier today, President Donald Trump declined to comment on an NBC News report that the U.S. had information about bin Laden’s death.

Hamza bin Laden was born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 1989, according to the FBI, one of more than 20 children the elder bin Laden is believed to have had.

After the death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of U.S. Navy SEALs in Pakistan in 2011, Hamza bin Laden later emerged as a “key leader” in the terrorist organization, according to U.S. officials.

In February the U.S. State Department announced a $1 million reward for information leading to bin Laden’s capture and accused him of “threatening attacks against the United States in revenge for the May 2011 killing of his father by U.S. military forces.”

The U.S. government said that a letter found in the elder bin Laden’s compound during the Navy SEAL raid “indicat[ed] that he was grooming Hamza to replace him as leader” of al-Qaida.

Former CIA analyst Nada Bakos, whose recently wrote the book “The Targeter” about her time hunting al-Qaida for the agency, said she is normally fairly dismissive of the impact of taking out terrorist leaders on the overall organization, but Hamza’s purported death could be different because it would be such a blow to the “brand” of al-Qaida.

“They needed somebody who could sort of gather that brand,” she said, contrasting Hamza with the staid image of current al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. “He was kind of the perfect person. This is actually impactful [because] I just don’t know who they have, what their backbench is like.”

Tom Joscelyn, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said that while it’s “doubtful” Hamza bin Laden was next in line to take over al-Qaida compared to some older fighters, there’s “no question that he was being groomed to be a leader.”

“Hamza was both the biological and ideological heir to his father, and al-Qaida counted on him to speak to a new generation of jihadists,” he said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 31 Jul 2019

Mayhem, murder, and Manson: The new trailer for ‘Mindhunter: Season 2’ is here

Entertainment News  Mayhem, murder, and Manson: The new trailer for 'Mindhunter: Season 2' is here


L-R: McAllany, Groff — Patrick Harbron/Netflix(NEW YORK) — Fans clamoring for a follow-up to Netflix’s addicting serial killer series Mindhunter can finally put their minds at ease: Nearly two years after the original season aired, we have a trailer for Season 2, which will debut August 16.

Once again, stars Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany are tracking killers while working in the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit.  But this time around, they’re trying to crack the case of the Atlanta child murders, which took place between 1979 and 1981.

As before, Groff’s Agent Bill Tench and McCallany’s Agent Holden Ford quiz incarcerated killers for clues about their new bad guy. The trailer shows them returning to murderer Ed Kemper, played by fan favorite Cameron Britton, and also gives glimpses David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz and Charles Manson.

Incidentally, actor Damon Herriman plays Manson — as he does in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 31 Jul 2019

US, Taliban set to finalize ‘agreement’ ahead of intra-Afghan peace talks

WORLD NEWS US, Taliban set to finalize 'agreement' ahead of intra-Afghan peace talks

hanohiki/iStock(WASHINGTON) — The chief U.S. negotiator for Taliban talks said he is heading to Doha, Qatar, for his eighth round of negotiations with the militant group, and it could be the final one before a deal is reached.

“If the Taliban do their part, we will do ours, and conclude the agreement we have been working on,” tweeted U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad from Kabul, Afghanistan.

Finalizing a deal could mean the beginning of the end for the United States’ nearly 18-year old military involvement in the country, even as it continues to face violence from the Taliban and high civilian casualties from U.S. and Afghan forces.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that he expected “significant progress” in the “next handful of weeks,” but that the U.S. is committed to a “conditions-based withdrawal from Afghanistan as quickly as we can execute it.”

Those comments to reporters traveling with him to Asia came one day after he said Trump had directed him to begin drawing down U.S. troops before the 2020 presidential election: “That’s my directive from the President of the United States… So yes, it’s not only my expectation, it would be job-enhancing,” he said Monday in Washington.

It seems that in addition to nearing a deal with the Taliban, Khalilzad also previewed a second agreement to be signed between the U.S. and Afghan governments. Calling his week-long stop in Kabul his “most productive” yet, he tweeted that the two countries “have agreed on next steps.”

A big part of his visit to Kabul was helping the Afghans finalize a negotiating team that they hope will meet the Taliban in the coming weeks and provide any insights based on his extensive time meeting its leadership in Qatar.

The negotiating team won’t be an official government delegation because the Taliban doesn’t recognize and refuses to meet the government, but it will include government officials, civil society leaders, and important ethnic and provincial figures.

The 15-member delegation will represent the country and take into “account the values and achievements of the Afghan people,” the Afghan government said in a statement Wednesday, adding it “is fully committed to ensuring a lasting, just and honorable peace and has demonstrated this commitment in practice over the past five years.”

The U.S. side has said that this kind of intra-Afghan peace negotiation is one of four key pillars it is seeking in its own talks with the Taliban, and it must be included for the others, such as a U.S. troop withdrawal, to take place.

But the timing of Afghan peace talks and the level of U.S. commitment to seeing them through is uncertain. Pompeo has said repeatedly it is up to the Afghan people “to decide the future of their own country,” as he put it in Kabul in June.

On Sunday, a senior Afghan official said the government and Taliban would meet in two weeks time, a historic announcement that was immediately rejected by the Taliban. Khalilzad seemed to side with the Taliban, saying talks between the militant group and “an inclusive and effective national negotiating team consisting of senior government officials, key political party representatives, civil society and women” would occur only after the Americans “conclude our own agreements” with them.

While critics say that process has undermined the Afghan government, eliminated U.S. leverage, and threatened the progress made on issues like democracy and women’s rights, U.S. officials say they have other ways to try to protect those gains. In particular, the State Department is working on an economic package with the World Bank and other donors that is tied to a political settlement and is inclusive and supportive of female-owned businesses.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 31 Jul 2019

Mike Pompeo arrives in Asia amid North Korea missile tests, denuclearization doubts

WORLD NEWS Mike Pompeo arrives in Asia amid North Korea missile tests, denuclearization doubts

Oleksii Liskonih/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Less than a day after North Korea test fired a new barrage of ballistic missiles, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has arrived in Asia for a major summit.

While he says he remains “very hopeful” about the future of U.S.-North Korean nuclear talks, there are growing doubts about whether or not the two sides will ever meet to hammer out the details of “denuclearization.”

One month ago, during President Donald Trump’s historic visit to the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea, Kim Jong Un agreed to working-level negotiations in a matter of weeks, Pompeo told reporters on the plane Tuesday.

After weeks of waiting and preparing, those meetings have not taken place, with Pompeo saying he didn’t “have anything” on when they would. He added it’s “taken a little bit longer than” expected.

Pompeo is in Bangkok, Thailand, for a summit held by ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. He’s accompanied by his chief negotiator, Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, but he told reporters he doesn’t anticipate meeting any North Koreans during his two full days on the ground there.

Since Trump and Kim’s second summit ended without an agreement, talks have been largely at a stand still, with both sides demanding the other take the first step. North Korea believes the U.S. has done nothing to live up to its side of the Singapore summit agreement, while the Trump administration says it will not lift any sanctions until North Korea takes steps to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

While Trump and Kim’s DMZ meeting sparked a flicker of hope, with the promise of working-level meetings, those haven’t materialized, and there’s concern they may never. After months of ignoring him, North Korea only agreed to meet Biegun earlier this year to lay the groundwork for the second summit in Hanoi, Vietnam.

After visiting Pyongyang last October, Pompeo said North Korea agreed to allow inspectors to visit its nuclear test site to verify it had been dismantled, but those inspectors still haven’t been given entry to the country.

As the U.S. pushes for working-level talks, North Korea did grant a meeting at the DMZ last year, according to a senior administration official, but only for the White House to hand off photographs from Trump’s historic crossing into North Korea and meeting with Kim.

When a National Security Council official asked the North Korean team when talks will resume, they replied it will happen very soon.

Last year, the ASEAN summit was key to getting nuclear talks back on track after a contentious first meeting in Pyongyang. In the first talks after the Singapore summit, Pompeo was snubbed by Kim, and after he left, North Korea accused him of making robber- or gangster-like demands.

But at ASEAN, his envoy, U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim, hand-delivered a letter to North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho from Trump for Kim, and a new talk of negotiations were scheduled for later that August.

This year, however, Ri will not be attending the summit. The senior administration official said Tuesday that North Korea was sending a lower-level adviser the U.S. may meet, but it’s unclear if Pompeo or his team would meet them.

“We’ll see if they are there, and if they are there, I am confident we’ll meet,” Pompeo said Tuesday.

In the meantime, North Korea has test fired two rounds of ballistic missiles, first last Thursday and then again Wednesday.

While the tests are a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions, Trump and Pompeo have dismissed them as minor provocations or attempts by Pyongyang to strengthen their hand in negotiations.

“North Korea has engaged in activity before we were having diplomatic conversations far worse than this,” Pompeo told Fox News last Thursday. “Lots of countries posture before they come to the table.”

But the tests, in particular of a new kind of ballistic missile last Thursday, also allow North Korea to enhance their military capability that threatens Americans in the region and U.S. allies South Korea and Japan.

Kim “is avoiding provoking the U.S. to keep the dialogue door open by engaging in gray zone provocations to strengthen its missiles and protest upcoming U.S.-ROK drills,” according to Duyeon Kim, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, using an acronym for South Korea’s official name, the Republic of Korea.

The U.S. and South Korea are expected to begin military drills next week, which North Korea has repeatedly warned Seoul against doing. North Korea has continually blasted the exercises as “war games” for an invasion — a line that Trump has parroted in explaining his decision to cancel several high-profile exercises.

“The present South Korean ‘government’ orchestrated a ‘handshake of peace’ in public, and behind the scene, holds joint military exercises against the fellow countrymen in collusion with outsiders… Such double-dealing deeds go to clearly prove that the confrontational maniacs remain unchanged in their black-hearted intention to stifle the DPRK by force,” a North Korean state media commentary said of South Korea Wednesday.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 31 Jul 2019

‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ is getting interactive

Entertainment News  'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' is getting interactive


Amazon Studios/Nicole Rivelli(NEW YORK) — As part of its celebration of the multiple-Emmy winning Amazon comedy series, New York City’s Paley Center for Media will soon be staging an interactive experience that will let fans immerse themselves in the world of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Running from August 10 to September 6, the exhibit will allow fans will be able to step into the 1950s world created by Amy Sherman-Palladino.  It features painstaking recreations of the Catskills Hair Salon, the Stage Deli Booth that Rachel Brosnahan’s Midge and Alex Borstein’s Susie frequent, and the B. Altman switchboard where Midge toils while dreaming of stand-up stardom.

As for that stand-up stardom, there will also be a recreation of the Arthritis Telethon set, where you can deliver what Susie calls a “tight ten,” should the mood strike. 

The exhibit also features costumes from the series — which was the first-ever streaming show to win an Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy — as well as a screening room where fans can re-watch a curated selection of Season two episodes.

The first 150 fans will also snag themselves a limited-edition, vintage-style Mrs. Maisel poster, highlighting notable locations from the sophomore season.

The Amazon series, which also stars Tony Shalhoub, is currently in production on its third season.

The exhibition is free and open to the public Wednesdays to Sundays, noon to 6:00 pm, and Thursdays until 8:00 p.m. Potential visitors beware: it’s closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

The Paley Center for Media in New York is located at 25 West 52 Street, in New York City.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 31 Jul 2019

Woman allegedly impersonated a pharmacist, dispensed 745k prescriptions

Hiraman/iStock(SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif.) — A woman who allegedly pretended to be a pharmacist and gave out more than 745,000 prescriptions has been caught.

Kim Thien Le is accused of dispensing the prescriptions over the course of 10 months in different Walgreens pharmacies in Northern California, authorities said.

Out of more than 745,000 alleged prescriptions, more than 100,000 were for opioid drugs like fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine and codeine, according to the California attorney general’s office.

“Californians picking up medications at their local pharmacy should never have to worry about whether pharmacies are employing licensed pharmacists to dispense prescriptions,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement Tuesday.

Le surrendered on July 26 and was booked in Santa Clara County Jail, according to the attorney general’s office.

ABC News was not able to reach Le for comment.

She faces charges of false personation, identity theft, and obtaining money, labor or property by false pretenses, all of which are felony counts, according to the attorney general’s office.

Walgreens did not immediately return ABC News’ request for comment.

The charges against Le originated from an investigation conducted by the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse, according to the attorney general’s office.

“The California Department of Justice is committed to protecting patients from anyone who unlawfully practices without a license. Today’s announcement should serve as a stern warning — we are committed to ending this reckless behavior and will vigorously hold wrongdoers accountable,” Becerra said in the statement.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Molly Bernard credits her pansexual ‘Younger’ character with helping her embrace her own sexuality

Entertainment News  Molly Bernard credits her pansexual 'Younger' character with helping her embrace her own sexuality


Courtesy of TV Land (L-R: Molly Bernard, Miriam Shor)(NEW YORK) — Playing the confident, pansexual Lauren Heller on TV Land’s Younger for six — soon to be seven — seasons has influenced actress Molly Bernard’s life in many ways. But perhaps most significantly, she says it’s helped her embrace her own sexuality.

“I am now fully in a relationship with a woman and that’s I think part of playing a pansexual character,” Bernard tells ABC Radio. “I think Lauren helped me come into my own identity.”

She adds, “I often wonder if I’m pansexual or if I’m bisexual. Like, I don’t know. I’m trying to not have any labels these days and I think that might be because of Lauren’s influence on my life.”

Not only is Lauren having an impact on the actress who plays her, but the character’s connecting with fans as well.

“She’s her own person in this extremely colorful way,” Bernard says. “And it’s because it stems from her self-love and that I think allows her to then love other people…because to be a pansexual means it’s not about men or women. It’s about person or person. So she’s able to see that the people that she’s attracted to. And I think that’s got to be inspiring to people.”

As Younger starts winding down its sixth season, Bernard promises “high drama” for the whole cast — especially regarding the core love triangle of characters Liza, Charles and Josh.  

“Things get really crazy from here on out, you guys,” she teases. “You’re gonna lose your minds. I think fans are really gonna like some of the surprises that are in store.”

Younger — also starring Sutton Foster, Hilary Duff, Peter Hermann and Nico Tortorella —  airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET on TV Land.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 31 Jul 2019

First look at Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’, with a de-aged De Niro, Pesci & Pacino

Entertainment News  First look at Martin Scorsese's 'The Irishman', with a de-aged De Niro, Pesci & Pacino


Netflix(NEW YORK) — We have our first look at The Irishman, Martin Scorsese’s latest organized crime epic.

The Oscar-winning director re-teams with his Goodfellas stars Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro, plus Al Pacino, for the film, which centers on the real-life exploits of a WWII vet-turned-hitman. Spanning decades, the film uses digital de-aging to portray De Niro and the other lead characters as much younger than they currently are..  

De Niro plays the titular character, Frank Sheeran, who was like the Forrest Gump of triggermen.  According to Netflix, he “worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th Century.”

As such, the movie also covers the disappearance of legendary union boss Jimmy Hoffa — a disappearance that Sheeran may have had something to do with.

Pacino plays Hoffa, who straddled the worlds of legitimate and illegitimate business, as well as presidential politics.  The new trailer depicts a telephone conversation between Hoffa and Sheehan where De Niro has been de-aged to appear to be in his 40s.

The film will be released on Netflix and in select theaters sometime this year.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 31 Jul 2019

What to know about the disorder that killed Disney Channel star Cameron Boyce

nicoolay/iStock(NEW YORK) — Fans of Disney Channel star Cameron Boyce were stunned to learn the 20-year-old died in his sleep after a seizure in early July, and now we’re learning more about the condition that led to his death.

Boyce had a “sudden unexpected death in epilepsy,” according to an autopsy report released Tuesday by The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner – Coroner.

Boyce’s family also confirmed soon after his death that he had epilepsy, a neurological disorder that actively affects about 3.4 million people in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It is not clear when Boyce was diagnosed with epilepsy, which affects about 470,000 children, according to the CDC.

Epilepsy is a condition that has no known cause, no cure and causes unpredictable seizures, which vary in type and frequency for different people with epilepsy.

Here is more to know about the condition that contributed to Boyce’s passing.

Why does epilepsy cause seizures?

Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain.

Seizures are caused by surges of electrical activity in brain cells, according to the Epilepsy Foundation, a Maryland-based organization that raises awareness of epilepsy and supports research into the condition.

Seizures for people with epilepsy can take many forms, ranging from staring spells to shaking, falling and losing awareness. They usually last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, according to the CDC.

How is epilepsy diagnosed?

A person is diagnosed with epilepsy if they have “two unprovoked seizures (or one unprovoked seizure with the likelihood of more).” Unprovoked means that the seizures were not caused by other factors like alcohol withdrawal or low blood sugar, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.

To help with diagnosis, doctors will perform a neurological exam and in most cases arrange blood tests and a brain scan.

Who gets epilepsy?

Epilepsy affects people of all ages and both men and women.

It can be caused by factors ranging from trauma to the head, a stroke, a brain tumor, certain infectious diseases or electrolyte abnormalities, according to ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton.

Some people are also born with epilepsy, according to Ashton.

How is epilepsy treated?

Epilepsy is most often treated with anti-seizure medication.

Adults and children can often discontinue medications after two or more years without seizures, according to the Mayo Clinic.

How common is it for someone with epilepsy to die?

Around 1 in 1,000 people in the U.S. die every year from what is called Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), according to the CDC.

SUDEP is even more rare in children, where it occurs in about 1 in 4,500 cases, according to Ashton.

Most cases of SUDEP occur during or immediately after a seizure, the CDC notes.

Risk factors for SUDEP include uncontrolled or frequent seizures and grand mal seizures, which are seizures involving a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions. Other risk factors include seizures that begin at a young age, missed doses of medicine, drinking alcohol and living with epilepsy for many years, according to the CDC.

How can people help those with epilepsy during a seizure?

Ashton provided these four tips for helping someone experiencing an epileptic seizure.

1. Do not panic. You want to get that person in a safe and protected space so that they don’t injure themselves during the seizure.

2. Roll them gently on their side so it can keep their airway clear.

3. Do not put anything in their mouth.

4. Get that person to medical attention.

Follow the CDC for more information on first aid for seizures.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

2nd Ebola case confirmed in Congolese city of Goma, home to over 2 million

WORLD NEWS 2nd Ebola case confirmed in Congolese city of Goma, home to over 2 million

Cesare Ferrari/iStock(LONDON) — A new case of Ebola has been confirmed in the Congolese city of Goma, a major transit hub along the Rwandan border that’s home to more than two million people.

It’s the second confirmed case to be identified in Goma since the last outbreak of the deadly virus erupted in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo one year ago.

Jean-Jacques Muyembe, the new head of the country’s Ebola response team, told reporters on Tuesday night that the latest patient is a man from a mining area in northeastern Ituri province. He arrived in Goma, the bustling capital of North Kivu province, on July 13 and began showing symptoms of the virus on July 22.

The man has been isolated at an Ebola treatment center in Goma. Meanwhile, high-risk contacts have been identified and will be vaccinated Wednesday, according to Muyembe, a veteran virologist and Ebola researcher who was recently appointed by the Congolese president to lead a technical committee to combat the ongoing outbreak.

So far there’s no indication that the new case is linked to the previous one in Goma earlier this month, according to the World Health Organization’s director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Sad news coming from Goma,” Ghebreyesus said via Twitter on Wednesday morning. “Rapid response teams have swung into action to prevent further transmission.”

Two weeks ago, the WHO declared the current Ebola outbreak a global health emergency — the fifth in history — just three days after the first confirmed case was registered in Goma. The declaration often mobilizes more resources and commands worldwide attention.

The risk of national and regional spread is high, while the risk of it spreading beyond the region remains low. The WHO’s director-general said the spread of the virus in Goma, which has a highly mobile population and is located on the nation’s eastern border with Rwanda, “is an event we have anticipated.”

“This is why we have been doing intensive preparedness work in Goma so that any new case is identified and responded to immediately,” Ghebreyesus tweeted.

That preparation has included vaccinating some 5,000 health workers against Ebola in Goma, providing the city’s health centers with proper training and equipment, reinforcing screenings for the virus at border crossings and implementing round-the-clock monitoring at the Goma International Airport, according to Ghebreyesus.

This is the world’s second-largest, second-deadliest outbreak of Ebola virus disease, which causes an often-fatal type of hemorrhagic fever.

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 he or she starts showing signs of the disease. The virus is not airborne, which means a person cannot get the disease simply by breathing the same air as an infected patient.

At least 2,698 people have reported symptoms of hemorrhagic fever in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s northeastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri since Aug. 1, 2018. Among those cases, some 2,604 have tested positive for Ebola virus disease. There have been 1,811 deaths so far, most of which were from confirmed Ebola cases, according to the latest data from the WHO and the country’s health ministry.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 31 Jul 2019