FDA pushes for stronger warnings about breast implant risks, including cancer

sergey02/iStock(NEW YORK) — The Food and Drug Administration issued new breast implant guidance on Wednesday, recommending that manufacturers include serious warning labels about the potential complications and risks.

The administration recommended that breast implants carry a “boxed warning,” its strongest form of warning, to inform consumers about links to cancer and other risks in an effort to better inform women who are considering breast augmentation, according to a statement.

“We believe women should have thoughtful and balanced discussions with their health care providers about both the benefits and risks of breast implants based on clear and current information,” the statement said. “We have heard from many women that they are not fully informed of the risks when considering breast implants. They’ve stated that they need more information to facilitate meaningful conversations with their doctors and to make appropriate decisions for themselves.”

The recommendations, which have now been put forward for public review, come months after officials linked certain implants to hundreds of U.S. cases of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or BIA-ALCL, which is a rare form of cancer that affects the immune system.

In July, pharmaceutical company Allergan recalled several models of its textured breast implants that were directly linked to BIA-ALCL. The company announced the decision following a recommendation from the FDA. It said the risk of BIA-ALCL in patients with Allergan BIOCELL textured implants is around six times higher than the risk of it in patients with textured implants from other manufacturers in the U.S.

In its statement on Wednesday, the FDA said manufactures should identify the risks of developing the rare cancer, along with other risks, in the boxed warning. It said the chances of developing complications increase the longer a patient has the implant.

The administration also recommends that manufacturers include a patient decision checklist at the end of a patient informational booklet or brochure.

“A checklist gives patients the opportunity to acknowledge individual risks of breast implants, such as potential risks from the surgery, the risk of BIA-ALCL and risk of implant rupture, among others,” the statement said. “Taken as a whole we believe this draft guidance, when final, will result in better labeling for breast implants that will ultimately help patients better understand breast implant benefits and risks, which is a critical piece in making health care decisions that fit patients’ needs and lifestyle.”

Once the guidance is finalized, manufacturers will have the option to either follow the recommendations or choose other methods of labeling, “so long as the labeling complies with applicable FDA laws and regulations,” it added.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Nationals beat Astros 12-3 to take 2-0 World Series lead

33ft/iStock(HOUSTON) — The Washington Nationals are heading home halfway closer to winning their first World Series title.

After being tied 2-2 for much of Wednesday night’s World Series Game 2 against the Houston Astros, the Nats broke out and took the lead thanks to a home run by catcher Kurt Suzuki in the 7th innning. The momentum continued for Washington, and they were able to score an additional five runs that inning.

When all was said and done, the Nationals took Game 2 in Houston 12-3. They now lead the World Series 2-0 and will face the Astros in Game 3 back home in Washington on Friday night.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 24 Oct 2019

Fires spread out West, snow slams Colorado

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Winds gusted in northern California at 70 to 76 mph and pushed the newly formed Kincade wildfire down a slope causing the fire to explode overnight to now 5,000 acres.

Very dangerous conditions are expected Thursday in northern California and in the Bay Area where a Red Flag Warning has been issued for bone dry air, gusty winds and near record temperatures.

In southern California, a Red Flag Warning has been issued as well, but there the winds are expected to be even stronger due to the higher mountains creating Santa Ana winds. Because of that, a High Wind Warning has been issued with wind gusts as high as 60 mph.

In addition, a Heat Advisory has been issued for Southern California with temperatures in the 90’s from San Diego to Los Angeles.

Santa Ana Winds in southern California will continue into Friday.

Elsewhere, up to a foot of snow fell southwest of Denver overnight with just a dusting in the city.

I-70 was shut down overnight west of Denver until further notice due to very snowy and slick conditions with several accidents reported.

This storm system will now move south into New Mexico and the Texas panhandle bringing with it the first snow of the season for the area.

By Friday, the storm system will dive south into the Gulf Coast and will redevelop with tropical moisture which will fuel the storm. Heavy rain will push north across the south from Texas to Tennessee. Flash flooding is possible in these areas.

This storm then will swing north into the Ohio Valley and parts of the Midwest by the weekend bringing heavy rain and flood threats with it.

Some areas from the Gulf Coast to the Midwest could see up to a half foot of rain with flash floods possible.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 24 Oct 2019

‘Slender Man’ stabbing victim speaks publicly for first time

Payton Leutner(NEW YORK) — Until now, Payton Leutner had never spoken publicly about what happened to her in the woods at the hands of her best friend and another classmate.

Her scars — from the 19 times she was stabbed on May 31, 2014 — testify to that moment of betrayal. But they also mark her strength to survive.

“I’ve come to accept all of the scars that I have,” Leutner said in an exclusive interview with ABC’s David Muir. “It’s just a part of me. I don’t think much of them. They will probably go away and fade eventually.”

Leutner survived an attack that captured headlines worldwide after her assailants, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, claimed they did it to please a fictional character named “Slender Man.” Leutner, Geyser and Weier were all 12 years old at the time.

ABC News’ 20/20, which has followed Leutner’s case closely since her attack as well as her recovery for years, spoke with her parents exclusively in 2014. Leutner, who was still recovering after the stabbing, appeared alongside her parents on 20/20 but chose not to speak out at that time.

Now 17, Leutner has worked hard over the last five years to heal and rebuild a normal life. She told ABC News that she was ready to reclaim her story.

“I feel like it’s time for people to see my side rather than everyone else’s,” she said.

Payton, Morgan and Anissa become friends

In 2014, Leutner was a sixth-grader in Waukesha, Wisconsin, when Geyser and Weier attacked her after a slumber party at Geyser’s home. They had been celebrating Geyser’s birthday the previous night.

Leutner described herself as hopeful and positive before the attack, and said she’d tried to see the good in people, including Geyser. Leutner said Geyser had struggled to make friends and that in fourth grade she’d befriended Geyser herself.

“She was sitting all by herself and I didn’t think anyone should have to sit by themselves,” Leutner told Muir.

While they were friends, Leutner said, Geyser seemed like a happy girl, albeit “a little lonely.” They would have sleepovers together, play outside and draw — “all the things that kids do,” Leutner said.

Leutner said she’d considered Geyser her best friend and thought Geyser was somebody she could trust.

“She was funny, I will give you that,” Leutner said. “She had a lot of jokes to tell. … She was great at drawing and her imagination always kept things fun.”

Then, “everything went downhill,” she said.

Around the time Geyser became friends with Weier in sixth grade is when Geyser also started talking to Leutner about “Slender Man,” she said.

“I thought it was odd. It kind of frightened me a little bit,” Leutner told Muir. “But I went along with it. I was supportive because I thought that’s what she liked.”

Eventually, though, the fictional stories Geyser told about “Slender Man,” a tall, faceless creature in a suit that could use tendrils growing from his back, became too frightening, Leutner said. She even asked her mother, Stacie Leutner, whether “Slender Man” was real and was relieved when she was told that he wasn’t.

“I told [Geyser] that it scared me and that I didn’t like it,” Leutner said. “But she really liked it and thought it was real.”

Leutner even considered ending her friendship with Geyser, she said.

“I saw the change from fifth to sixth grade when she met Anissa,” she said. “That’s when I was really wanting to get out of that friendship.”

Ultimately, however, Leutner stayed friends with Geyser. She said she felt bad for her friend and didn’t want her to be alone. Geyser even “guilted” Leutner into staying friends, Leutner said.

“Payton was such an empathetic kid,” her mother, Stacie Leutner, told ABC News in a new interview. “She recognized that Morgan maybe wasn’t the healthiest friendship to have. But if Payton wasn’t her friend, she wouldn’t have any other friends. So, she thought everyone deserved at least one friend.”

As Geyser’s fixation with “Slender Man” grew, it appeared to Payton Leutner that Geyser’s friendship with Weier blossomed, too. Weier lived in the same apartment complex as Geyser and rode the bus with her to school.

“I didn’t like [Weier] at all,” Leutner said. “I just hung out with her because I knew that Morgan really loved her as a friend. But she was always cruel to me. I feel like she was jealous that Morgan was friends with me and her.”

It was Weier who had “really convinced” Geyser that “Slender Man” was real, Leutner thought. Leutner said she is now convinced that Geyser and Weier were a toxic combination.

Morgan Geyser has her 12th birthday party

Leutner said she had no idea what the two girls had planned for her in the name of “Slender Man” when she arrived to Geyser’s 12th birthday party. The trio had skated together at a local roller rink and eaten frozen yogurt before the slumber party. Looking back, Leutner said she thinks she can recognize a glimpse of something feeling off that night.

“Something was strange because at all of our past sleepovers, [Geyser] always wanted to stay up all night because she could never do that at home,” Leutner said of Geyser. “But on [the night of] the birthday party, she wanted to go to bed.”

“Once I look back on it, I was like, that is really weird,” she told Muir. “Why didn’t I see something? Why didn’t I notice something was weird? But I’m not blaming myself at all. Because who could ever see something like this coming? Nobody could ever see something like this coming.”

Geyser and Weier later told investigators that they had planned to kill Leutner in her sleep that night, according to their police interviews, but then they changed the plan to kill her the next morning at a nearby park.

“I remember waking up,” Leutner said. “They had already gone, woken up and gone downstairs on the computer. So I woke up and I went down with them. We had doughnuts [and] went to the park.”

Leutner said that it was Geyser’s idea in the morning to go to the park and that normally Geyser wouldn’t have been allowed to go without an adult. But because she was with friends and it was her birthday party, her mother had let the three girls go on their own, Leutner said.

Once the girls got to the park, the plan to kill Leutner changed again. Weier told investigators that she suggested they go for a walk to play hide-and-seek in nearby woods

“They just wanted to go on a walk,” Leutner said. “And I didn’t think much of it. It’s just a walk. It’s in Waukesha. What bad stuff happens in Waukesha, Wisconsin?”

In the woods, as they prepared to start what Leutner thought would be a game of hide-and-seek, Weier told Leutner to lay down.

“Anissa told me to lie on the ground and cover myself in sticks and leaves and stuff to hide, in a sense,” Leutner told Muir. “But it was really just a trick to get me down there.”

With a kitchen knife Weier told investigators Geyser had brought from her home, Geyser repeatedly stabbed Leutner.

Leutner said she didn’t remember every detail of her brutal attack and was glad for the relief in not knowing. But, she said, she does remember her trust being broken by her best friend and not believing that Geyser and Weier were going to get help for her.

After Geyser stabbed Leutner with the knife, she and Weier left Leutner alone in the woods. Injured and bleeding, Leutner did what many couldn’t believe she had the strength to do: She pulled herself out of the woods and into the open where someone could find her.

“I got up, grabbed a couple trees for support, I think,” she said. “And then just walked until I hit a patch of grass where I could lay down.”

It was there, at the end of Big Bend Road, that a bicyclist found her and called 911. Police and EMT workers arrived. Leutner’s focus, she said, faded in and out while in the ambulance.

“I couldn’t focus much because my body was working so hard to keep itself alive,” she said. “It was probably like, ‘Vision isn’t really a priority right now.'”

Payton Leutner undergoes surgery in the hospital

At the hospital, she told Muir, she remembers seeing her mother as nurses counted her wounds.

“I said, ‘You’re gonna be OK. It’s gonna be fine,’ but I could see that she was covered. Her arms and her legs and her abdomen, they were covered in stab wounds,” Stacie Leutner told ABC News in 2014.

The doctors at ProHealth Waukesha Memorial Hospital performed emergency surgery and were shocked by Leutner’s critical injuries. The stab wounds she’d suffered to her arms and legs had only damaged soft tissue, but the two to her torso had hit major organs. One had cut through her diaphragm, damaging her liver and stomach. The other had nearly penetrated her heart and missed a major artery by less than a millimeter.

“If the knife had gone the width of a human hair further, she wouldn’t have lived,” Dr. John Kelemen, who operated on Leutner that day, told ABC News in 2014.

When she awakened after six hours of surgery, Leutner said, she first started worrying about where her attackers were.

“I remember the first thing that I thought after I woke up was like, ‘Did they get them?'” she said. “‘Are they there? Are they in custody? Are they still out?'”

She said she was relieved to hear that police had captured both Geyser and Weier as she struggled with the pain from the attack and surgery.

“I wrote on whiteboards to communicate because I couldn’t speak much,” Leutner said. “I had the intubation tube in my lungs because I couldn’t breathe on my own for a while.”

Her recovery was difficult, both physically and emotionally. She said she was also frightened after the attack and slept in the bed with her mother so she wouldn’t be alone at night.

To this day, Leutner told Muir, she sleeps with a pair of broken scissors under the pillow next to her “just in case.”

When Leutner learned why Geyser had stabbed her, she said, she wasn’t surprised by the motive: The girls had intended to kill her to appease the fictional character “Slender Man” and prove that he was real.

“After I heard why she did it, I was like, ‘Well, this doesn’t surprise me at all because she believed so hard in this thing that she would do anything for it.'”

What did surprise Leutner, she told Muir, was that Geyser and Weier had immediately confessed to the attack and that they’d told police they had been planning it for a long time.

“It was a little shocking to me to see that they had this big, huge plan that they had been working on for months,” Leutner said.

Payton Leutner regains a sense of normalcy in her life

Since the attack, Leutner said she has done her best to resume a normal life despite the notoriety of the case and the years of litigation. Trusting others, especially new friends, she said, has been particularly difficult after the attack.

“She has friends, but initially, even with those friends, she kept them at arm’s length,” Stacie Leutner said. “And for a long time, even trusting family members was hard for her.”

Payton Leutner told Muir that she sometimes thinks about her former best friend’s mother, Angie Geyser, with sympathy.

“I’ve thought about what she’s going through and how hard it must be for her,” Leutner said. “Because I’m sure a lot of people are trashing on her and hating her. And saying that it was her fault, she raised [Geyser] wrong.”

“It wasn’t [Angie’s] fault,” Leutner continued. “Morgan’s schizophrenic. There is nothing that she could have done to stop that or control that. It was not her fault.”

In 2016, Geyser’s mother told a newspaper that her daughter had been diagnosed with early onset schizophrenia while in custody. A forensic psychologist also testified for the defense during a 2015 hearing that Geyser’s father had been hospitalized several times as a teenager because of mental illness, according to that newspaper.

Stacie Leutner also said she has thought about the mother and father on the other side of the shattered friendship.

“I was angry for a long time, especially [at] Morgan’s parents, knowing that Morgan’s dad had schizophrenia. … For a long time I thought that they were maybe just in denial and ignoring her symptoms,” Stacie Leutner said. “But I’m not angry anymore, because I recognize that they’re going through their own hell.”

Geyser and Weier were charged in adult court with first-degree attempted intentional homicide after the attack.

Weier pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was found by a jury to be not guilty by mental disease or defect in 2017. Geyser pleaded guilty to the first-degree charges against her. In 2018, as a part of her plea agreement with prosecutors, Geyser was convicted but found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

Weier and Geyser each were sentenced to up to 25 years and up to 40 years, respectively, in a mental health institution.

Leutner said she is aware of the longstanding public debate about whether the two girls were old enough to be charged in adult court, but doesn’t herself question whether their cases should have been handled in juvenile court.

“Adult crime is adult court,” Leutner said. “If they had stolen a candy bar, sure that’s a child. But you tried to kill somebody. That’s an adult crime.”

Leutner said she doesn’t ever want to see or talk to Geyser or Weier again, and said what Geyser did was “probably unforgivable.” She knows Geyser is already eligible to petition the court for release from the mental institution, but said she doesn’t fear her eventual release.

“If she ever like tried to come by me, she would go right back where she was,” Leutner said.

Stacie Leutner acknowledged her own reservations about Geyser potentially petitioning for release soon.

“I don’t know that I’m comfortable with her being released right now,” Stacie Leutner said. “I know that their sentences were up to 25 and 40 years, and if that’s how long it takes, then that’s how long it takes.”

Payton Leutner on what she would tell her former best friend who attacked her

Payton Leutner even surprised herself when responding to the question of what she would like Geyser to know, she said.

“I would probably, initially thank her,” Leutner said to Muir. “I would say, ‘Just because of what she did, I have the life I have now. I really, really like it and I have a plan. I didn’t have a plan when I was 12, and now I do because of everything that I went through.'”

“I wouldn’t think that someone who went through what I did would ever say that,” Leutner said. “But that’s truly how I feel. Without the whole situation, I wouldn’t be who I am.”

Leutner is a senior in high school and plans to attend college in fall 2020. She said she’d like to pursue a career in the medical field, which she believes is a goal inspired by what happened to her.

To the many people who supported Leutner and sent her well-wishes through the years, she said she is “very grateful for all of the love and support.” She said she now wants people to know that she is doing well and that her hope for moving forward is to “put everything behind me and live my life normally.”

“We’ve seen her go from a victim to a survivor,” said Leutner family spokesman Steve Lyons of SJL Government Affairs and Communications. “Now she’s a young lady with a really bright future … [She has] great grades, great friends. She’s got so much to live for and I can’t wait to see what the next chapter of her life is.”

As far as “Slender Man” goes, Leutner said she had advice for parents whose children might not understand the difference between what is real and fake online.

“Parents need to talk to their kids directly, saying, ‘This is not real. This is fake,'” she said to Muir.

She also shared some sage advice to young people regarding bad friendships that she wished she’d known at 12 years old.

“Get out before something bad happens to you,” Leutner said. “Even if you’re guilted into it, if you’ve been friends with them for years. … If you feel something is bad, you need to get out while you still can.”

Watch the full story with David Muir on “20/20” Friday, Oct. 25 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 24 Oct 2019

Family rebuilds after fallen tree decimates their home

Courtesy Jenn Stone(LUSBY, Md.) — It was a freak accident that happened in the blink of an eye for sisters Mariah and Ashley Stone in Lusby, Maryland.

“It sounded like an earthquake,” said 15-year-old Ashley. “It’s definitely a sound that I think for both of us, we’ll never forget.”

It was an afternoon just like any other. Mariah and Ashley were home alone from school and watching television with their dog, when a tree suddenly crashed through the roof of their family home last Thursday.

“Everything fell on top of us, between the tree and insulation and the ceiling,” said Ashley.

A tree outside their home had completely uprooted from the ground and fell directly on the Stone’s home.

A video captured on the family’s Ring security camera in their living room shows the moment that the tree came crashing through their home. Ashley and Mariah could be heard frantically screaming.

In the camera footage, one of the sisters — who immediately called their parents after realizing what had happened — cries on the phone, “A tree just fell on the house!”

“I’ve never experienced anything like this,” said their father, Francis Stone. “I don’t wish this on nobody, just the mental part of it all — it’s very draining and I’m at a loss.”

Stone, who was at work when the accident happened, said he accessed the Ring camera and saw that there was nothing left of his home.

Luckily, both his daughters escaped with minor injuries — and when Stone saw the damage for himself, he realized it could have been worse.

“I opened the door, that was what broke me down,” Stone said. “It was pretty bad because I realize how lucky my daughters were.”

The family of four is now thanking one special home appliance for breaking the tree’s fall: their refrigerator.

“If that fridge wasn’t there — who knows what would have happened,” said Ashley. “The situation could’ve been completely different.”

Her sister Mariah, 14, added, “That refrigerator saved our lives.”

Despite the structural damage to their home and the mental toll that the event has taken on the family, the teens’ father is proud of how they were able to overcome the situation as a family.

“After everything and seeing everything, the girls did a great job, they looked out for each other,” said Stone. “They looked out for our other family member too, which was our dog.”

“We’re gonna find a way to come out of this stronger and better,” he added.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 24 Oct 2019

Police: 39 dead in UK trailer were Chinese nationals

MicroStockHub/iStock(LONDON) — The 39 people found dead in a trailer in the United Kingdom are all believed to be Chinese nationals, police said Thursday.

Emergency services were called to an industrial park in the town of Grays in Essex, southeast England, at around 1:40 a.m. local time Wednesday when the vehicle was discovered to have people inside. Thirty-nine people, 31 men and eight women, one of whom was a teenager, were pronounced dead at the scene.

A 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland has been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the deaths, according to Essex police. The suspect has been named by British media, but this has not yet been confirmed by Essex Police who said they would not “speculate” about the identity of the suspect.

Police in Northern Ireland are supporting the investigation and have raided three houses in connection with the incident, Essex police said. The trailer has been removed from the industrial park as authorities prepare for a coroner’s post-mortem examination. Each of the 39 individuals found dead must undergo a full post-mortem in order to establish cause of death before they can be identified, in a process police described as “complex and lengthy.”

The U.K. Home Office, the government department responsible for domestic security and immigration, will also be working with Essex police and the National Crime Agency (NCA) on the investigation, the largest the country has seen since the 7/7 bombings. The NCA said they are working to “identify and take action against any organized crime groups who have played a role in causing these deaths.”

The trailer entered the U.K. from the Belgian coastal town of Zeebrugge into the port of Purfleet, arriving at around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, police said. The tractor unit traveled from Dublin, Ireland to Purfleet, where it collected the trailer. The tractor and trailer unit then left the port at around 12:30 a.m. on Oct. 23, before arriving at the industrial park in Grays, where the vehicle was discovered by emergency services shortly after.

The Belgian Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office has opened a case into the incident and are working in “close cooperation” with British police.

“The investigation will focus on the organizers of and all other parties involved in this transport,” the Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement. “It is not yet clear when the victims were placed in the container and whether this happened in Belgium.”

The Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying the Scania brand truck was registered in Bulgaria on behalf of a company owned by an Irish citizen.

Richard Burnett, the chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, the trade body responsible for the needs of U.K. road transport operators, said the “tragedy … highlights the danger of migrant gangs people-smuggling on lorries.”

Burnett told the BBC that the trailer may have been refrigerated, meaning temperatures could have reached as low as -13 F. Traffickers were increasingly using smaller ports as points of entry to the U.K., he said, as the security operations at larger ports such as the French port of Calais is more “robust.”

Steve Valdez-Symonds, the Refugee and Migrants director of Amnesty International U.K., described the deaths as “heartbreaking and horrifying.”

“People who are forced to take dangerous and sometimes fatal passages to reach the U.K. often do so because current immigration policies and practices deny them safe and legal options,” he said in a statement. “As the police investigation continues our thoughts remain with the families and friends of those affected by this awful tragedy.”

It is the largest incident of this kind in the U.K. since 58 bodies were found in a truck at the English port of Dover in the year 2000.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 24 Oct 2019

US Syria envoy warns of risks of troops withdrawing as Trump touts ceasefire deal

omersukrugoksu/iStock(NEW YORK) — While President Donald Trump was heralding the ceasefire deal his administration reached with Turkey over its offensive into northeast Syria, his special envoy for Syria was on Capitol Hill warning about the risks of U.S. troops withdrawing, Islamic State fighters escaping and the possibility of Turkish forces committing war crimes.

Ambassador James Jeffrey, a veteran diplomat who came out of retirement to take on the role, offered a frank assessment of the current crisis unfolding in northern Syria after Trump’s call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his decision to pull back U.S. troops from the Syrian-Turkish border, and — ultimately — his move to fulfill his pledge to remove all U.S. forces, only to back track again Wednesday and decide to keep a small force there.

But Jeffrey said Turkey’s decision to conduct the operation, while a “failure” of U.S. policy to stop them, would have happened regardless of Trump’s moves — denying the charges that the president gave Erdogan a “green light” to attack Syrian Kurdish forces that served as the foot soldiers in the U.S. fight against ISIS.

Still, he painted a stark picture of the mess that has enveloped the region since then, even as Trump said the U.S. moves “are achieving a much more peaceful and stable area between Turkey and Syria.”

Over 100 ISIS fighters have escaped from prison and the U.S. does not know where they are now, he told the House Foreign Affairs Committee. While ISIS propaganda “is pitching this as a victory for them,” he said, those prisons that are guarded by America’s Kurdish partners, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, are secure for the time being, with a commitment to keeping them secure.

That was contradicted shortly thereafter by Trump, who said in a statement, “There were a few that got out, a small number, relatively speaking and they’ve been largely recaptured.”

Trump announced that the U.S. will keep “a small number of U.S. troops … where they have the oil,” without providing further details.

That was welcome news to Jeffrey during the hearing — who said after Trump’s announcement, that his testimony was “even more congruent now” with Trump’s policy. But it also contrasted with Trump’s own claim that the U.S. is “getting out. … Let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand.”

Throughout his remarks, Jeffrey, who served as U.S. ambassador to Iraq and Turkey and deputy national security adviser, made clear how the departure of U.S. forces in northeast Syria would damage the efforts to defeat ISIS and prevent the group’s resurgence.

“We obviously had troops there for a mission. The mission was defeating ISIS. So if you remove those troops before that mission is complete, then you have a problem. And we do have a problem right now,” Jeffrey said. “We’re working our way through it. We’re looking at various options of how we will maintain a relationship with the SDF.”

In addition to a residual force, the administration is also considering how to maintain control of the air space above northeast Syria to continue airstrikes on ISIS targets.

But that was the plan just months ago. After initially announcing a full withdrawal of 2,000 American troops in December 2018, Trump was convinced to keep 1,000 in northeast Syria — until his sudden reversal again this month to pull all out, followed by this new residual force. The recent whiplash even caught key U.S. allies like the United Kingdom, France and Israel by surprise, which Jeffrey said was a mistake — calling it poor “basic diplomatic hygiene.”

Jeffrey blamed Turkey, however, for creating this “tragedy” with its “terribly bad and very, very dangerous decision” to cross the border, one he said the U.S. could not have stopped because it decided it would not use military force to do so.

“The Turks would’ve simply driven around” the two dozen or so U.S. forces in the immediate area, he said, adding later, “In looking at thousands of pieces of information and intelligence, I’ve seen no indication that [their presence] was a factor in the Turkish decision to come across.”

Jeffrey condemned the incursion, saying Turkish forces and their Syrian opposition allies are responsible for “several incidents which we consider war crimes,” although he said there hasn’t been “any widespread ethnic cleansing in that area.”

But Trump announced he has lifted the sanctions on three Turkish ministers and two Turkish ministries, meaning Erdogan has avoided any U.S. penalties for his operation and, with the ceasefire deal, secured the land he took.

That has sparked even greater bipartisan outrage on Capitol Hill, with vows to penalize Turkey where the administration has not.

“Given President Trump’s failure to provide U.S. leadership, it is now up to Congress to press Turkey to reverse its terrible policy. We must hold President Erdogan accountable for his horrific crimes against the Kurds,” said Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 24 Oct 2019

Taco Bell customer gets doused with gasoline and lit on fire

Tallahassee Police Department(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) — A suspect who poured gasoline on a Taco Bell customer and then set them on fire is being hunted by Florida police for attempted murder after the victim was left with serious injuries.

The incident occurred on Wednesday at approximately 6:18 p.m. at a Tallahassee Taco Bell restaurant when the suspect entered the establishment, doused the female victim with gasoline and then lit them on fire.

The suspect has been identified as Mia Williams, 32, “who identifies as a black female,” according to a statement released by Officer Rachel Denmark of the Tallahassee Police Department.

Williams fled the scene of the crime on foot and police are currently looking for her whereabouts.

“Williams was last seen wearing a black shirt with white writing, tan capri styled pants, and a red wrap on her head. Williams also had several necklaces around their neck,” the statement read.

The victim, who currently remains unidentified, was taken to hospital by helicopter after suffering serious injuries.

Investigators don’t yet know if the suspect knew the female victim involved in the attack or if it was done at random.

Tallahassee Police Department spokesman Damon Miller told the Tallahassee Democrat: ”At this time, (investigators) are on scene trying to basically solve this puzzle, to figure out why this heinous crime was committed.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 24 Oct 2019

Sex offenders sue sheriff’s office over ‘No Trick or Treat’ signs

Butts County Sheriff Office(NEW YORK) — Three sex offenders in Georgia are suing deputies who put up signs warning families against trick-or-treating at the offenders’ homes.

Christopher Reed, Reginald Holden and Corey McClendon said their constitutional rights were violated by officials in the Butts County Sheriff Department, who trespassed on their property to put up the signs, according to the lawsuit.

The suit also alleges the sheriff “exceeded his authority in compelling registrants to display a sign stating that they were a registered sex offender” and they “unlawfully occupied Petitioner’s property” by placing the signs.

Butts County Sheriff Gary Long said in a statement his office took precautions and placed signs indicating ‘No Trick or Treat’ at each registered sex offender’s residence in the county “to ensure the safety of children.”

Long will attend a hearing for the case Thursday.

The lawsuit pertains to signs that were placed on the people’s lawns last year, but Long has said he plans to do the same thing in 2019.

“Attorneys representing several sex offenders have filed a lawsuit against my staff and I,” Long said in a statement. “The sex offenders have asked a Federal Judge to stop my Office from placing these signs this year. This Thursday, we will argue to the Federal Court that we are protecting our children and following Georgia Law by placing these signs.”

The men allege in the suit that the signs caused “anxiety, embarrassment and humiliation” as well as “fear, shame and emotional distress.”

“Regardless of the Judge’s ruling this Thursday, I WILL do everything within the letter of the Law to protect the children of this Community,” Long said.

Reed was required to register as a sex offender after he was convicted of sexual assault in Cook County, Illinois; Holden registered following his conviction for lewd and lascivious battery in Pinellas County, Florida; and McClendon registered after he was convicted of statutory rape in Butts County, according to the lawsuit.

They are requesting a jury trial.

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Posted On 24 Oct 2019

Navy lieutenant and wife charged with conspiracy to defraud the US

Lt. Fan Yang pictured left. (U.S. Navy)(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) — A Navy lieutenant and his wife have been arrested for conspiracy to defraud the government, making false statements to investigators and illegally possessing a firearm, according court documents.

The two, arrested Oct. 17, have been in custody and appeared in court Wednesday.

The indictment accuses Fan Yang, a Navy lieutenant who was stationed in Jacksonville, Florida and held a top secret clearance and his wife, Yang Yang, of attempting to transport inflatable boats through Hong Kong with their final destination being the People’s Republic of China.

The documents show Yang, who came to the United States in 1999 and became a citizen in 2006, was actively serving in the Navy in a “sensitive anti-submarine warfare unit.”

The pair raised eyebrows when they attempted to purchase engines specifically marked “for military use” through a shell company they set up.

The husband and wife, who lived on the base, requested time off to travel to “Disney” but allegedly traveled to Sioux City, Iowa instead, the documents said.

It is not immediately known why they traveled to Iowa, and Yang reportedly lied to his Navy supervisors about the trip. Credit card records showed Yang’s purchase of a one way ticket for a Chinese National — who the couple allegedly helped obtain illegal firearms for.

In one instance described in court documents, Yang purchased a Sig Sauer MK25 P226 hand gun with the Chinese national’s initials on it with the inscription “Never out of the fight,” engraved on the gun. Court documents show that the two helped get this the man, Ge Songtao, firearms for more than two years.

Court documents also show that Yang lied on his background check to acquire the top secret security clearance.

Between 2016 and 2019, Yang was listed as the Chief Consultant of BQ Tree Inc., the shell company, court documents say.

They were allegedly wired $205,000 over the course of the three years by Songtao’s company.

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Posted On 24 Oct 2019