Reward in search for missing 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez increases to $52,000

U.S. NEWS Reward in search for missing 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez increases to $52,000

iStock(BRIDGETON, N.J.) — The reward in the search for 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez, who has been missing for more than three weeks after vanishing from a New Jersey park, increased to $52,000 on Wednesday.

Authorities have scoured the area in which she was last seen and beyond but still have few answers or clues. Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McCrae said last week they are still looking for “that key piece of information that we need to lead us to Dulce or to the circumstances surrounding her disappearance.”

On Wednesday, Bridgeton Chief of Police Michael Gaimari announced the reward increase from $35,000.

Unions within the New Jersey State Police collectively contributed $10,000 toward the reward, according to Gaimari.

The Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police also offered $5,000, and there were two other donations of $1,000 each, though it was not clear where the donations came from.

Dulce was last seen on Sept. 16 in the afternoon near City Park in Bridgeton, New Jersey.

Authorities previously said they did not have any “strong suspects” but are still interested in speaking with a man they initially thought took Dulce.

The man is described as having been wearing a black shirt and red pants with orange sneakers, and with a thin build, acne and no facial hair.

Webb-McCrae said last Friday her office still wants to speak with him, but would not comment further.

Bridgeton Chief of Police Michael Gaimari said no one has been cleared in the investigation.

“Until the child is located and we can determine what happened to the child, nobody has been cleared,” Gaimari said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 09 Oct 2019

Scientists are asking the public to help name Saturn’s 20 newly discovered moons

U.S. NEWS Scientists are asking the public to help name Saturn's 20 newly discovered moons

iStock(NEW YORK) — Scientists at the Carnegie Institution for Science have discovered 20 additional moons orbiting Saturn — and they are asking the public to help name them.

“We want to get the world involved,” Scott Sheppard, who led the Carnegie moon discovery team, told ABC News.

The contest, which opened Monday and runs through Dec. 6, is not entirely open, lest the American public be tempted to name the moons something ridiculous. Scientists learned their lesson back in 2016, when voters in the United Kingdom chose “R.R.S. Boaty McBoatface” as the name for a polar research vessel.

British officials ultimately overrode the public and named the boat after a British naturalist.

Following the tradition of similar groupings of moons, Saturn’s moons — which fall into three groups based on their orbit patterns — will be named after Inuit, Norse and Gallic mythology, Sheppard explained.

The rules are as follows:

–2 moons must be named after a giant from Inuit mythology

–17 moons must be named after giants from Norse mythology

–1 moon must be named after a giant from Gallic mythology

For your chance to name one of Saturn’s moons, tweet your idea at @SaturnLunacy, using the hashtag #NameSaturnsMoons, along with an explanation for why you picked the name you did.

With its new moon count, the ringed planet clocks in at 82 moons, surpassing Jupiter, which has 79 moons orbiting it, as the planet in our solar system with the most moons. Saturn’s moons range in size, from bigger than the planet Mercury to smaller than a sports arena, according to NASA.

A contest earlier this year to name five of Jupiter’s moons was such a success that it inspired the current contest for Saturn’s moons, according to Sheppard.

The winners of the Jupiter moon-naming contest were Pandia, Ersa, Eirene, Philophrosyne and Eupheme, all characters from Greek or Roman mythology related to Zeus, who is called Jupiter in Roman mythology. The strongest submissions were creative and included photos, artwork and videos.

Despite the naming guidelines in place, there are already out-of-bounds suggestions on Twitter for naming Saturn, including “Mooncricket” and “Moon Tae-il,” in homage to the South Korean boy band singer.

There’s also the old classic. “We have received several requests to name a new moon ‘Moony McMoonface,’” Sheppard said. “Unfortunately I do believe this does break the rules.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 09 Oct 2019

New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor on their version of feminism

U.S. NEWS New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor on their version of feminism

iStock(NEW YORK ) — New York Times investigative reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey sent shockwaves through media and popular culture when they published an explosive article exposing years of alleged sexual abuse covered up by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

The article, “Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades,” published Oct. 5, 2017, included detailed accounts of alleged abuses inflicted by Weinstein on actresses, models, and former Weinstein employees. Kantor and Twohey uncovered nearly three decades of previously undisclosed allegations against the movie mogul.

“Very early on, we had some convincing evidence that something was really, really wrong here and once we understood that better, we were so worried about botching the story and somehow failing,” Kantor told ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis on an episode of the No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis podcast. “We had visions of having to watch the Oscars for the rest of our lives having to keep this material about Harvey Weinstein secret.”

The bombshell report had a ripple effect. Over the next year, there was a deluge of reports of alleged sexual assault and harassment perpetrated by men across all industries and backgrounds. Between October 2017 and September 2018, there was a 12% increase in sexual harassment complaints filed, according to the EEOC and a 50% increase during the fiscal year of 2018.

The #MeToo movement, which had started in 2006 to help survivors of sexual violence find healing, gained unprecedented momentum. Days after Kantor and Twohey’s report, actress Alyssa Milano took to Twitter, posting: “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted, write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” The hashtag #MeToo went viral. There were more than a million tweets within 48 hours, according to Twitter, and on Facebook, there were over 12 million posts, comments, and reactions in less than 24 hours, by 4.7 million users around the world, according to the company.

But at the time, Kantor and Twohey said they didn’t know the impact their investigation and article would have. Twohey remembered a moment days before publishing when she and Kantor questioned if anyone would even care about the story.

“We’ve been working around the clock, and we left the office at 1 o’clock in the morning and shared a cab back to Brooklyn, and turned to each other in that rare moment of silence and said, ‘Is anybody going to read this story?’ because we were not thinking along those lines. We were just so focused on trying to get to the finish line and publish our findings.” Twohey told Jarvis.

“As one of our editors said many times, Harvey Weinstein is not that famous,” Kantor said.
Kantor and Twohey would go on to win the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service for their reporting, and today they are the bestselling authors of “She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped to Ignite a Movement.”

Their book takes readers inside their investigation, overcoming obstacles and naysayers, shifting through documents, and working with sources, making them feel comfortable to come forward publicly.

“Our sources were so brave … I mean, we now have a better understanding of the degree of manipulation and intimidation that Weinstein employed. Back then, it was more this vague sense of what will he do to stop this story,” Kantor said.

“It’s easy to look back at Me Too and think it was inevitable, but it wasn’t, and before the story was published, we did not know what reaction these women would get,” she added.

Their book also details new reporting that has unfolded since their first article, including an interview from Bob Weinstein, brother of Harvey Weinstein.

“I would call him [Bob Weinstein], and he would basically bark at me and hang up. And finally last year he agreed to a meeting… and slowly but surely started to open up about what he saw and what he knew and what he tried to do about it.” Twohey said.

Kantor says the goal of the book is to bring the reader behind the scenes of their investigation and to examine the “complexity and the controversy of Me Too.” It is for the latter reason, she said, they chose to write about Christine Blasey Ford, who testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in high school. Kantor says that she and Twohey felt that Blasey Ford’s testimony encapsulated “everything that has become so important but so complicated about Me Too.”

“We think that it comes down to three questions, three unanswered, unresolved questions. One is, what is the scope of behavior that’s under scrutiny here? Secondly … what is the process by which these complaints are being vetted and evaluated, and thirdly, what does accountability look like? What does punishment look like? And I think that there has not been a resolution on those three questions,” Twohey said.

Kantor and Twohey believe their roles as reporters are to expose injustices and to represent the voices of women. They call it their version of feminism, and it’s something they both have done throughout their careers and will continue to do.

“We’ve devoted our lives basically to fact and our version of feminism, which is not the kind of activist feminism, it’s the feminism of putting women’s stories into the paper, making sure that these voices are represented, that these secrets that need to be exposed, are exposed [and] of holding powerful men who mistreat women in one way or another to account,” Kantor said.

While Kantor and Twohey have spent decades exposing the truth, they recognize that the larger systematic problem is not their responsibility to solve.

“You can’t solve a problem you can’t see, and what we can contribute is getting other people to see it as clearly as possible. But this has got to be solved through public debate, through policy and the legal system kicking into gear.” Kantor said.

Hear from Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor on episode 132 of the No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis podcast.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 09 Oct 2019

More than movies: Tyler Perry says studio compound will have space for displaced LGBTQ youth and trafficked women

Entertainment News  More than movies: Tyler Perry says studio compound will have space for displaced LGBTQ youth and trafficked women


ABC/Steve Iervolino(ATLANTA) — Tyler Perry has a big vision for his Tyler Perry Studios. In addition to the 12 sound stages that are housed on his 330-acre lot in Atlanta, Perry says he’s also making a space for those in need.

“You know what, right now I’m dreaming about how do I build this shelter for trafficked girls, boys and battered women,” Perry told Essence.

Perry later expounded on his vision, telling CBS‘ Gayle King that he plan to create a space for LGBTQ youth and women who don’t have a place to go.

“Having a compound that is a beautiful place right here somewhere on this 330 acres, where they’re trained in the business and they become self-sufficient, they live in nice apartments, there’s daycare, there’s all of these wonderful things that allows them to re-enter society and then pay it forward again,” Perry said. “That’s what I hope to do soon.”

As previously reported, Perry told ABC Audio that he hoped his studio opening would serve as inspiration to others.

“My whole intention tonight, my whole hope is that somebody gets inspired,” he said. “If that happens then, I’m good, I’m good. So that is that, that is what I feel. I want to inspire somebody — to dream, to believe that they can do it too. No matter where he came from.”

Posted On 09 Oct 2019

Outage outrage: Hundreds of thousands left in the dark to reduce California wildfire risk

U.S. NEWS Outage outrage: Hundreds of thousands left in the dark to reduce California wildfire risk

milehightraveler/iStock(SAN FRANCISCO) — As California faces a critical fire danger, utility companies are preemptively shutting off power to hundreds of thousands of customers in the Golden State.

The outages come as a way to reduce the risk of wildfire, as winds — which contribute to blazes — pick up throughout the state.

Last year’s Camp Fire, the deadliest fire in California’s history, was sparked by power lines owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electric, according to Cal Fire. The fire, which originated near Pulga in Northern California in Nov. 2018, killed dozens.

A PG&E meteorologist said the weather forecast this week is the strongest wind event since the Oct. 2017 North Bay fires which were caused by “electric power and distribution lines, conductors and the failure of power poles,” reported ABC San Francisco station KGO.

In Northern California, where winds were picking up Wednesday morning, 480,000 customers were without power as of 5 a.m. local time Wednesday.

In four Northern California counties — Humboldt, Lake, Placer and Napa — over 75 percent of customers lost power.





In Napa County, police had to step in when a battery backup failed at a busy intersection.



In Sausalito, just outside San Francisco, two dental hygienists were frustrated to arrive to the office and find no power. They also found it difficult to access the latest PG&E status online.

“We understand that they’re doing what they have to do in a way, but trying to find out information has been the most frustrating, so we really don’t know day to day how to plan,” one employee told ABC News.

It could take several days to fully restore power, PG&E officials said Tuesday night.

More waves of shutoffs are coming, and a total of 800,000 Northern and Central California customers are expected to be impacted, PG&E officials said Tuesday night.

Local school districts as well as UC Berkeley have canceled classes due to the outages.



“We understand the effects this event will have on our customers and appreciate the public’s patience as we do what is necessary to keep our communities safe and reduce the risk of wildfire,” Michael Lewis, PG&E’s senior vice president of Electric Operations, said in a statement.





Southern California could be impacted, too, as gusty winds move in later in the week.

A preemptive shutdown in Southern California would be historic — Southern California Edison incident commander Terry Ohanian said he’s been with the company for over 35 years and they have never attempted a preemptive shut down like this before.



“We won’t just de-energize for the sake of doing it,” Ohanian told ABC News Wednesday morning. “We know it’s an inconvenience for our customers so we try to be thoughtful about what we do, but the potential is there.”

“And unlike a planned outage where we can schedule it for a certain period of time, this is a function of when the wind blows and when the weather materializes,” he said.



Ohanian said 170,000 Southern California Edison customers may be impacted.

The California Highway Patrol is reminding drivers that if a traffic light is flashing, treat it as a stop sign intersection. If the light is out, treat as an all-way stop.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 09 Oct 2019

DOJ indicts intel employee for allegedly leaking to journalists

Political News DOJ indicts intel employee for allegedly leaking to journalists

YinYang/iStock(WASHINGTON) — The Department of Justice on Wednesday announced an indictment of Henry Kyle Frese, a Defense Intelligence Agency employee prosecutors say allegedly leaked top secret information to two journalists.

According to a court filing in the U.S. Eastern District of Virginia, between 2018 and 2019 Frese allegedly provided classified intelligence reports regarding “a foreign country’s weapons systems” to a journalist he lived with and who prosecutors say he was involved romantically.

In a separate instance in September, prosecutors say that Frese was “captured on court-authorized surveillance” in a cell phone call disclosing ‘secret’ classified information to a separate journalist.

A grand jury approved an indictment Tuesday charging Frese with two counts of transmitting national defense information to unauthorized persons, and could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on each count, according to press release.

Prosecutors note Frese is presumed innocent unless proven guilty, he is expected to appear in court Wednesday afternoon.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 09 Oct 2019

Former Obama national security adviser outraged by US withdrawal from northern Syria

Political News Former Obama national security adviser outraged by US withdrawal from northern Syria

ABC(NEW YORK) — Former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice, appeared on ABC’s The View criticizing President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, saying the White House is leaving its Kurdish allies “to the wolves.”

“The message that that sends to all of our potential allies and partners around the world is, you know, when the president wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, we’ll throw you under the bus,” she told the hosts Wednesday morning. “That’s the first problem.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced in a Twitter post Wednesday morning that his troops launched their invasion into northern Syria, prepared for an offensive strike against the Kurdish forces that helped the United States defeat ISIS.

Rice, also a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the U.S. role on the ground in northern Syria has been very limited, providing mainly training, advice, equipment and air support.

“The second problem is these people, the Kurds, were protecting some 10,000 or more ISIS terrorists [from escaping] that were being held in detention. Now that we have abandoned them, they have no choice but to fight and defend themselves. Those prisoners are either going to be released or escape,” she said. “That’s more than 10,000 fighters that can threaten us in the region, can threaten us through our partners in Europe or can potentially threaten us here in the homeland. The president has traded our national security for — I would like to know what.”

She came on the show to promote her new memoir, Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For, which gives a candid look into her public service career and the lessons she said she learned through the triumphs and tribulations. In one controversy, Rice was heavily scrutinized for reading from an intelligence community memo in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

In another, Trump accused Rice of committing a crime in 2017 when she had the names of Americans — who turned out to be Trump’s associates — unmasked in a classified foreign intelligence report. The president did not offer any evidence for his claim that Rice’s actions were criminal, and she has repeatedly said the unmasking process was routine and not politically motivated.

Rice was also a player in the Obama administration’s policy decision to get involved in Syria, one she said she didn’t fully support.

“As I write in my book ‘Tough Love,’ I was the one official sitting at the table, the one cabinet official who thought it was a mistake to ask Congress for authorization before using force in Syria. So I was a lone, dissenting voice. As I look back and reflect, I was right about the politics,” she said on the show. “I didn’t think that President Obama would be granted support from Congress, and he wasn’t, but I think I was wrong about the policy.”

The show’s co-host Meghan McCain claimed Obama too was a hands-off president when it came to the region. McCain questioned Rice’s defense of the decision to provide support to the rebels, but not boots on the ground, during the Syrian civil war.

“It was (Obama) who initiated the fight against ISIS which has been successfully prosecuted,” she said. “We can debate for years the wisdom of that choice. He made the right choice, I think we all agree, to go fight ISIS, and now what’s happened is President Trump has decided on a whim that we’re done with that.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 09 Oct 2019

Excerpts from new Ronan Farrow book accuse Matt Lauer of sexual assault

Entertainment News  Excerpts from new Ronan Farrow book accuse Matt Lauer of sexual assault


ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua(NEW YORK) — Ronan Farrow’s new book, Catch and Kill, details his investigation into Harvey Weinstein, as well as his ultimately unsuccessful attempt to get his then-employer, NBC News, to broadcast the story.  It also includes a new allegation of rape against former NBC Today show anchor Matt Lauer, who was fired from NBC in 2017 for alleged sexual misconduct.

According to Variety, which obtained excerpts from the book, a former NBC News producer who worked with NBC’s Meredith Vieira has come forward, identifying herself in Farrow’s book and stating that Lauer sexually assaulted her at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

According to the woman’s account detailed in Catch and Kill, Lauer joined her and Vieira for drinks and she ended up going back to Lauer’s room twice: once to retrieve her press credentials, and another because Lauer invited her back to the room.  Once in the hotel room, the woman says Lauer — who was wearing a tee-shirt and boxers — pushed her against a door and kissed her, then pushed her onto the bed.

According to the Variety excerpts from Catch and Kill, the woman was in the midst of telling Lauer “no” when, “he just did it.  It hurt so bad.  I remember thinking, ‘Is this normal?'”

The woman told Farrow of the encounter, “It was non-consensual, in the sense that I was too drunk to consent.  It was non-consensual in that I said multiple times that I didn’t want to.”

Back in New York City, according to the book excerpts, the woman told Farrow she went on to have further sexual encounters with Lauer that were consensual.  After the initial encounter, according to Catch and Kill, the woman says she told colleagues and superiors at NBC about it, but nothing happened until she went to Meredith Vieira and told her what happened.  Vieira urged the woman to go to NBC human resources with a lawyer.

Matt Lauer responded to the allegations Wednesday morning, writing in a statement, in part, “The story…is filled with false details intended only to create the impression that this was an abusive encounter.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  There was absolutely nothing aggressive about that encounter… This encounter, which she now falsely claims was an assault, was the beginning of our affair.”

NBC also released a statement about the excerpts from Catch and Kill, saying, “Matt Lauer’s conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible… That’s why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint.”

Catch and Kill also includes Farrow’s account of his investigation into Harvey Weinstein and his efforts to get that story on the air at NBC.  Eventually, he took the story to The New Yorker magazine to get it published.  That story led to more women coming forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct, which in turn led to a broader criminal investigation that ultimately resulted in Weinstein’s arrest on criminal sexual assault charges.

Ronan Farrow will appear on ABC’s Good Morning America Friday morning for an exclusive interview.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 09 Oct 2019

Anti-Semitic materials found at Holocaust memorial on eve of holiest day in Judaism

U.S. NEWS Anti-Semitic materials found at Holocaust memorial on eve of holiest day in Judaism

Natalia Marshall/iStock(WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.) — Anti-Semitic materials were found at a Holocaust memorial in White Plains, N.Y., on Tuesday on the eve of Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest day of the year, local officials said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called them hate symbols and said he’s “disgusted” by the “revolting and cowardly act.”

“More than 74 years ago the entire world reeled in shock, horror and sorrow over the senseless murder of more than six million Jews,” Cuomo said in a statement. “On this day of atonement, I join with New York’s Jewish community in remembrance of the lives lost and I pray for love, peace and understanding.”

The governor said he’s directed the state police hate crimes task force to help local authorities investigate.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said country police are reviewing video of the Garden of Remembrance area as they look for the culprit.

Latimer did not elaborate on what he called “anti-Semitic materials,” but authorities told ABC New York station WABC that they were “hateful stickers and posters.”

Police are increasing patrols in the area, WABC reported.

“We are enraged by this act and heartbroken that individuals would target members of our community,” Latimer said in a statement. “We as a County, people of all faiths, stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters today and always.”

Anti-Semitic acts of vandalism and violence have been on the rise in the U.S. the last several years, including a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue last year that killed 11 and a shooting at a California synagogue this year that killed one.

Of the 1,749 victims of anti-religious hate crimes in 2017, 58.1 percent were victims of crimes motivated by the perpetrators’ anti-Jewish bias, according to FBI statistics.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 09 Oct 2019

Owning a dog could provide long-term health benefits, study says

alexei_tm/iStock(UPPSALA, Sweden) — A dog is known as “man’s best friend,” but owning a dog may literally save your life, according to new research from Uppsala University.

“There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that people feel increased well-being with their dog; we wanted to investigate this,” said Dr. Tove Fall, one of the authors of the study and professor of molecular epidemiology at Sweden’s Uppsala University.

The study set out to determine whether dog ownership affected survival rates after a heart attack or stroke. Data was collected over an 11-year period and examined dog owners versus non-dog owners and their overall cardiac health outcomes.

Heart attack survivors in the study who were living alone, but owned a dog, had a 33 percent lower risk of death, while stroke survivors who lived alone and had a dog had a 27 percent reduced risk of death, compared to people who did not own a dog and lived in a single household group.

“We found the dog owners had lower mortality than non-owners with the largest difference seen in the subgroup of people that lived in a single household,” Fall said. “This group is especially vulnerable. It seems that dogs can alleviate the impact of living alone; they can increase social interaction.”

Dr. Eugenia Gianos, system director of cardiovascular prevention at Northwell Health, added, “It is very likely that people who own pets have many other positive behaviors, including exercise, healthy eating and social connectivity, which are likely to be leading to better outcomes in health. However, it is also positive that emotional connection to a pet can have positive effects on various parameters that could improve outcomes for people.”

The significant results were seen in people who live alone.

“Whether being single or married, it is about having positive social interaction that is associated with better health outcomes,” Gianos said. “It could be that in a marriage, if you have challenges then you could have more stress that is related to high blood pressure and worse outcomes. With being single, it could be that the pet is providing companionship and preventing loneliness that is leading to improved benefit.”

The study even compared several dog breeds to see if there were different cardiac outcomes.

“We found that many of the larger breeds and smaller breeds that are active such as terriers have better outcomes – survival outcomes,” Fall said. “Those that did not show as much are the companion toy group and mixed breeds. The physical activity might be less.”

However, she cautioned, “It is also a personal choice; you might choose a dog that fits your lifestyle. Part of the association might be seen by people who are more active getting a more active dog and have better cardiac outcomes.”

“Dogs might be beneficial for human health, however, we do not know if unmeasured factors affect the results. In the national register, they do not measure behavior such as smoking or food intake. In this study we cannot account for smoking. The factor of smoking might play into this relationship when the cause was something else,” Fall added.

Gianos agreed, saying, “Those two behaviors happen to be most linked with heart disease in research, which are extremely important to control. We would want to make sure that those two factors were not contributing to the improved outcomes that we are seeing.”

Regardless of these shortcomings, the author maintained dogs are “a fantastic motivator.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.