World Headlines
Subscribe To This Feed

Robert Zepeda/ABC News(TIJUANA, Mexico) --  A group of LGBT migrants was among the first members of the so-called caravan to arrive in Tijuana this week, seeking asylum from some of the most violent countries in the world where gay and trans people are particularly targeted, according to Amnesty International.

"We came with the caravan, and the caravan continues," Cesar Mejia told reporters in Tijuana earlier this week.

Mejia said their group included about 80 people, including children, from Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala.

A greater threat of violence

From the outside, many don't understand why people -- including families with small children -- would risk their lives to get to a country that has explicitly said it will not let them in. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that people in the caravan will not be able to enter the U.S. illegally "no matter what," and many members of the Trump administration, including the president himself, have accused members of the caravan of being terrorists or gang members.

Many migrants have said that what spurs them on are the terrible conditions at home: Central America is wracked with violence and poverty, corruption and impunity.

But for LGBT migrants, the threat of violence is, in many cases, even greater, a 2017 Amnesty International report found, and "gay men and trans women are exposed to gender-based violence at every point on their journey in search of protection." Amnesty listed Mexico and Honduras among seven countries it finds as being deadly and discriminatory for LGBT people.

Mejia, 23, told reporters in Tijuana that the LGBT members of the caravan gravitated toward one another in search of support. For his part, Mejia was easy to find in the crowd. When ABC News spoke to him last month in the tiny town of Huixtla, Mexico, he was wearing a rainbow flag around his shoulders.

"At first I was afraid to wear the flag. I didn’t know how people would react," Mejia told ABC News in Spanish. "In Guatemala, people were asking me what country the flag was and I told them it was the flag of the world."

But in his hometown of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, it was not viewed that way, he said.

"I was discriminated and beat up so it was time to go," Mejia explained.

He chose to join the caravan of thousands of other people, the majority of whom were also from Honduras, making their way to the U.S. border in the hopes of a better life.

Mejia said if he is able to make it to the border, he could make the case for political asylum.

"If I had the opportunity to make it to the border, I could show my representation of the community and ask for asylum, because [in the U.S.], there is a lot less discrimination than Honduras," he said.

Unable to speak out

Raul Valdivia, a gay man and human rights activist who still lives in Honduras, said he understands that discrimination firsthand.

"I've suffered many instances of discrimination based on my sexual orientation, but I remember the most violent came from state forces," Valdivia told ABC News. "I was abused by police while on one of my very first dates. They took me and the other guy to a dark secluded area in a park and forced us to simulate sex. They also beat us with a belt. These are police who patrol downtown Tegucigalpa and I have seen them after, but I'm unable to speak out for fear of repercussions."

Valdivia said LGBT people in his country face "assassinations, political attacks, legal discrimination and targeted street violence."

The country also has one of the highest homicide rates in the world outside of a war zone, according to the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC). Authorities sometimes use gang violence as a cover for political and gender-based violence.

Nearly two thirds of Hondurans live in poverty, according to the World Bank. Corruption is a major issue, prompting the government to establish the Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH) in 2016 through an agreement with the Organization of American States, but much remains to be done.

"Marred by corruption and abuse, the judiciary and police remain largely ineffective. Impunity for crime and human rights abuses is the norm," a 2018 Human Rights Watch report found.

Those who choose to speak out face harsh reprisals. In 2016, U.N. experts called it "one of the most hostile and dangerous countries for human rights defenders." Human rights defenders routinely "suffer threats, attacks, and killings," Human Rights Watch found.

No change at the ballot box

In November 2017, the country held a presidential election with widespread reports of fraud and violence. Thousands took to the streets to protest the re-election of Juan Orlando Hernandez, who changed the constitution to allow himself to run again.

The government's "response to the post-electoral protests led to serious human rights violations," according to the U.N., and dozens were killed and more than 1,000 were arrested.

Unable to change their country at the ballot box, many Hondurans chose to flee. And experts say that although the size of this caravan has grabbed headlines, many more Hondurans quietly flee the country every year, leaving conditions that have dramatically worsened since the 2009 military coup, especially for LGBTQ people, journalists and human rights activists.

In 2009, gay human rights activist Walter Trochez, 25, was killed in Tegucigalpa after trying to draw attention to anti-LGBT violence by security forces.

In July 2017, David Valle, project coordinator of the Center for LGBTI Cooperation and Development, was stabbed in his home after receiving threats, Human Rights Watch reported. He survived the attack, but it highlighted the deadly violence LGBT people face in the country.

It is this environment that has prompted Hondurans to risk their lives on the journey north, both in caravans and on their own, experts say.

"As impressive in size as this caravan may be, it still represents a minute proportion of Central Americans -- today primarily Hondurans -- that are fleeing their communities," Alex Main, the director of international policy at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, told ABC News.

Policies spurring an exodus north

 But even facing extreme dangers along the way and an uncertain future in a country whose president says it does not want them, people have continued to flee Honduras. That will continue until there are real policy changes, Main said.

"This mass exodus will only abate when the rampant violence in Hondurans abates, and when real economic development begins to take hold. This will require a profound revision of current economic models promoted by the U.S. and multilateral financial institutions and the displacement of a corrupt economic elite that retains power through repression and electoral shenanigans," Main added. LGBT migrants and asylum seekers face dangers along the way, the Amnesty International report found, and often face discrimination and neglect in detention facilities as well.

Until then, migrants, including those in the LGBT community, will continue to trek to the U.S., as this recent caravan has.

Mejia said he hopes his group's early arrival will give them an advantage with border officials.

"We wanted to avoid what always happens, which is that if we arrive last, the LGBT community is always the last to be taken into account in everything," he said at a press conference Sunday. "So what we wanted to do is change that, and to be among the first, God willing, and request asylum."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(BUENOS AIRES) -- An Argentine submarine that went missing almost exactly one year ago has been found at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Argentine Navy and Defense Ministry confirmed late Friday evening that the remains of the ARA San Juan submarine had been located in the south Atlantic Ocean at a depth of about 800 meters (approximately a half-mile), about 700 miles due east of the Argentine city of Puerto Madryn.

The families of the 44 crew members who perished in the accident have been summoned to Mar del Plata Naval Base to be officially informed this weekend.

Officials in the South American country lost radio contact with the San Juan on Nov. 15, 2017, and were unable to locate the missing sub in following days and months.

The sub was discovered Friday by U.S. company Ocean Infinity, which was in charge of the search operation. The company sent out mini-submarines to the seabed, and one returned with definitive photo evidence of the wreckage of the submarine. In the deal that the Houston-based company made with the Argentine government, finding the wreckage of the submarine would trigger a payment of $7.5 million.

The same company struck a similar deal with the Malaysian government to find Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 earlier this year -- but came up empty in its search.

Utilizing the Norwegian ship Seabed Constructor, the 40-member team of specialists from Ocean Infinity set sail on Sept. 8 and were on their last day of work before heading back to port when they received indications of a 60-meter long wreckage or geological formation at a depth of 800 meters. They had already studied two dozen other such possibilities to no avail.

Three personnel from the Argentine Navy and four persons representing the families were also onboard Ocean Infinity's search vessel. Luis Tagliapietra, father of missing crew member Alejandro, told ABC News just two days ago that he was tired and frustrated as the ship began to head back to port after over two months of searching.

Attempts at communication with Tagliapietra or other family members aboard the search vessel were unsuccessful on Friday night.

The federal judge investigating the San Juan accident, Marta Yáñez, was optimistic about the potential for research into the disaster with the newly discovered images: "It's one thing to do guesswork. It's a whole different matter to analyze the images we have so specialists can assess what really happened."

A number of naval officials are under investigation for allegedly allowing the submarine to go on an extended mission when they had been warned of mechanical problems that warranted immediate attention, according to testimony in federal court.

Adm. Marcelo Srur, the head of the Argentine Navy, was axed last December in the wake of the submarine going missing.

The ship was taking part in a military exercise at the time it lost contact, and had just seven days’ worth of oxygen onboard.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Chris McGrath/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The team of alleged assassins sent to murder Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi discussed their plan to kill the writer while he was making his way to Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, a high-level Turkish official familiar with the investigation told ABC News.

The exchange, captured on recordings of Khashoggi’s killing and the moments leading up to it, are part of the focus of Turkish investigators, the official said.

The extended recording allegedly includes a conversation among the assassination team about their plan just 15 minutes before Khashoggi arrived at the consulate, the senior official said. The recordings contain conversations between the alleged killers, discussing in detail how they would attack and then murder Khashoggi, the senior official added.

The purported recording would disprove claims by Saudi Arabia that Khashoggi was killed after a botched kidnapping. On Thursday, Saudi officials offered yet another version of events, saying Khashoggi’s killing was a spur of the moment decision by the team.

“Sometimes mistakes happen,” the Saudi Foreign Minister told reporters.

In addition to audio from inside the Saudi consulate, the senior Turkish official told ABC News that investigators have another recording, taken at a location apart from the Saudi consulate or the Saudi consular residence where Turkey previously claimed Khashoggi's body had been taken.

The official claimed the other recording contains conversations which shed additional light on the nature of the killing and those who carried it out.

The existence of another recording was first reported by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet. On Friday, the newspaper reported the details of a conversation among the Saudi team in the minutes before Khashoggi’s killing. That report also said Turkey has recordings of international phone calls made by the Saudi team after Khashoggi was killed.

A second Turkish official familiar with the investigation told ABC News the Hurriyet report was accurate.

The recordings have led Turkish investigators to determine that the plot was hatched in Saudi Arabia, the high-level Turkish official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe the investigation and the recordings which have not been publicly released.

Earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Khashoggi’s killing had been ordered at the “highest levels” in Saudi Arabia.

In a move that has increased pressure on the international community to respond to Khashoggi's killing, Turkey said it has shared audio related to Khashoggi's killing with several other countries, including the United States and Saudi Arabia.

"We gave them the tapes,” Erdogan said on Saturday in the first public acknowledgment of the recordings. “We gave them to Saudi Arabia, to America, to the Germans, the French, to the British, to all of them.”

A French counterterror official who has read a transcript of the purported recording told ABC News that the alleged hit squad threatened to bring Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia.

The recording also purports to capture the gory moment of Khashoggi's death inside the Saudi consulate. On it, a struggle can be heard followed by what is claimed to be Khashoggi's killing, according to a Western intelligence source who listened to part of the audio.

Canada and Germany have both acknowledged receiving intelligence from Turkey about recordings of the murder.

"We are in discussions with our like-minded allies as to the next steps with regard to Saudi Arabia," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday. The account based on the recordings is among the latest in evolving -- often contradictory and competing -- narratives put forth by Turkey and Saudi Arabia as to what actually happened to Khashoggi, often through anonymously-sourced news reports.

For several weeks after Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate on October 2, Saudi officials insisted he had walked out of the building after applying for a certificate allowing him to marry his Turkish fiancée.

The kingdom then changed its story to say the writer had died in a brawl with consulate officials. Eventually, Saudi Arabia admitted the killing was premeditated, saying Khashoggi was set upon as soon as he entered the building.

Shortly after Khashoggi went missing, Turkey alleged that the writer, who was critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was strangled and dismembered at the Saudi consulate by a 15-member assassination squad. No trace of Khashoggi's body has been found and Turkish officials have since suggested the remains could have been chemically dissolved.

Saudi officials characterized the killing as a rogue operation carried out by Saudi agents who exceeded their authority. Yet some of those implicated in the killing are close to the crown prince, including a member of the prince's entourage on foreign trips, who was seen at the consulate before Khashoggi's slaying.

Turkey is seeking the extradition of 18 suspects who have been detained in Saudi Arabia, so they can be put on trial in Turkey. They include the 15 members of the alleged assassination team.

President Donald Trump's national security adviser said that people who have listened to an audio recording of the killing of a Saudi journalist do not think it implicates Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in his death.

"That is not the conclusion that the people who have heard it have come to," John Bolton told reporters at a summit in Singapore.

Bolton said Trump wants to learn the truth about what happened at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul where Khashoggi was killed.

"I have not listened to the tape myself, but in the assessment of those who have listened to it, it does not, in any way, link the crown prince to the killing," Bolton said.

Erdogan described the content of the recording as a "calamity" and insisted that Riyadh take decisive action against Khashoggi's alleged killers.

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia said five of the individuals detained could face the death penalty if found guilty. Later on Thursday, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions on 17 individuals for their roles in Khashoggi’s killing.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Chris McGrath/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Friends and family of slain Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi gathered in the rain at Istanbul's Fatih Mosque, one of the city's oldest and most magnificent, to conduct funeral prayers over a bier that remained symbolically empty.

More than a month after the writer's murder inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, his remains have yet to be found by investigators, so prayers were held "in absentia."

Istanbul newspaper Hurriyet reported on Friday that Turkish authorities claimed to have an audio recording with a detailed discussion by members of the alleged assassination team about how they were planning to execute Khashoggi, 15 minutes before he arrived at the Saudi consulate building.

Turkish officials said assertions from Saudi Arabia that Khashoggi was killed after a botched kidnap attempt are contradictory to what is on the recordings, and said the writer was brutally strangled before he died, Hurriyet reported.

A day earlier, Saudi Arabia's lead prosecutor, Saud al-Mojeb announced that 11 people have been indicted in connection with the murder, with five of those facing the death penalty if convicted. The prosecutor also revealed there are a further 10 suspects in custody in Saudi jails who have not yet been charged.

During the press conference, al-Mojeb said there was a struggle, during which Khashoggi was killed by lethal injection. Afterward, the prosecutor said, his body was cut up and taken out of the building. The journalist's remains were then taken by someone outside the consulate grounds, he said. The identity of the outside collaborator, in addition to the location of Khashoggi's body, remains unknown.

Khashoggi was a high-profile critic of Saudi policy and especially the Kingdom's de-facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He had an appointment at the consulate to apply for paperwork that would have allowed him to marry his Turkish fiancé.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- One of London’s busiest parks was cordoned off Friday after an unexploded World War II mortar was discovered in a lake just yards from Kensington Palace.

Police responded to reports of a suspicious object in Hyde Park's Serpentine Lake, which was found to be an unexploded mortar round. The device poses no danger to the public and has been removed, authorities said.

"Police are dealing with reports of a possible unexploded ordnance device partially submerged in The Serpentine, W1," London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement. "Specialist officers are attending and a cordon is currently in place between the Triangle car park and the boat house on Serpentine Road."

The Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park is a major tourist destination, located near a memorial to Princess Diana and the historic royal residency of Kensington Palace.

“We can confirm that a suspicious object, probably an unexploded WW2 bomb, has been found in the Serpentine Lake,” Royal Parks, the charity that manages Hyde Park, tweeted Friday morning. “Specialist police officers are on the scene and a cordon is currently in place between the Triangle car park and the boat house on Serpentine Road.”

The cordon has since been lifted and the park has reopened. Police at the scene told ABC News the device was about 12 feet long.

The United Kingdom was heavily bombed during World War II, so the discovery of unexploded bombs is a common occurrence. An estimated 10 percent of German bombs that hit the British Isles did not explode, according to Ministry of Defence data given to the BBC.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(PYONGYANG, North Korea) -- North Korea announced that its leader Kim Jong Un observed a “successful” and “highly significant” test of an “ultramodern tactical weapon,” according to state media Friday.

While the report did not say what kind of weapon it was, the announcement comes amid some renewed tensions with the U.S. and an impasse in talks over its nuclear weapons program.

Just last week, North Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator abruptly canceled a trip to New York to meet Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, with those talks now postponed.

The North Korean regime also announced Friday that it had detained an American last month and would release him soon -- a gesture of goodwill despite the weapon test.

North Korean state media did not show the test, but said Kim was visiting a test site -- the first time he has supervised a weapons test since their last missile launch, an intercontinental ballistic missile tested in November 2017. The weapon’s development began under Kim’s father Kim Jong Il and its success made the young dictator miss him “very much,” state media reported.

A U.S. official told ABC News there was no missile launch and no missile trajectories were detected. At this point, they say this was probably a small tactical weapon, but an assessment is still underway.

Perhaps a troubling sign, a second official told ABC News there is no intelligence on the North Korea report beyond what state media has revealed.

But the Trump administration is trying to lower concerns about the test, brushing it off as bravado and a tit-for-tat response to recent developments.

“We remain confident that the promises made by President Trump and Chairman Kim will be fulfilled,” a State Department official told ABC News.

The U.S. and South Korea militaries conducted unit-level joint training earlier this month, exercises that the Pentagon says were never canceled as part of the agreement at the Singapore summit in June, while command-level major exercises were. But North Korea did not make a distinction and protested the training as an aggressive move by its neighbor and the U.S.

It was also reported Monday that the country continues to develop ballistic missile sites at more than a dozen locations, according to a new report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Beyond Parallel project.

Vice President Mike Pence said the U.S. will not require North Korea to provide a full list of its nuclear weapons facilities before Trump and Kim meet again -- an important demand that Pompeo had been pursuing in his talks, but that North Korea had been denying.

Instead, Pence told NBC News in an interview, the U.S. wants the outcome of that meeting to be a plan to identify all of North Korea’s weapons and sites, grant inspectors access to them, and outline how to dismantle them -- a tall order that critics say should have been outlined and agreed to before Trump ever met Kim.

North Korea also announced it will deport an American citizen it detained on Oct. 16 for illegally entering the country from China, according to state media. They said the man, reportedly named Bruce Byron Lowrance, will be released.

The State Department would only say that they are "aware of reports of the release of a US citizen who had been detained by the DPRK," but provided no other details.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Jack Taylor/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appears to have “been charged” with a federal crime, according to newly discovered court documents filed by federal prosecutors from the Eastern District of Virginia.

The revelation was inadvertently included in documents filed in an unrelated case in August. It was not immediately clear what Assange has been charged with.

U.S. Attorney Kellen Dwyer filed a motion to seal a criminal complaint in a sex crime case in August. Within the report, while arguing for the specific details of the ongoing case to remain sealed, the complaint made mention of "Assange."

In urging a federal judge to keep that unrelated case sealed, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen Dwyer wrote: "Another procedure short of sealing will not adequately protect the needs of law enforcement at this time because, due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged."

Dwyer apparently failed to alter Assange's name in the document so it applied to the newer, unrelated case.

The WikiLeaks founder's first name is not written in the document, but his last name was mentioned again later, regarding possible evasion or avoidance of arrest in the matter.

"The complaint, supporting affidavit, and arrest warrant, as well as this motion and the proposed order, would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter," Dwyer wrote.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office said the court filing was "made in error."

"That was not the intended name for this filing," the spokesperson said.

An attorney for Assange told ABC News he has been given "no notice" of charges.

“It is inexplicable that the government would file in a public document a claim that Mr. Assange has been charged when no notice has been given to Mr. Assange,” Assange's attorney Barry Pollack said.

Assange fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he sought asylum and has lived for years, after facing sexual assault allegations in Sweden. Sweden dropped the investigation into the alleged offenses in 2017, but Assange still faces possible fears of extradition.

The mention of Assange's name comes as investigators with the special counsel, Robert Mueller, continue their probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. That year, WikiLeaks released thousands of emails from Democrats, which officials said had been stolen by Russian operatives.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Matt Dunham - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Britain's embattled prime minister said she's fighting for her political life "with every fiber of my being" as dozens of Conservative MPs declared they have no confidence in her leadership.

Theresa May has been struggling to rally support behind her draft of an agreement plan for the U.K. to withdraw from the European Union since it was signed in Brussels on Tuesday and published online Wednesday night.

She took to the airwaves on Friday to directly address citizens' concerns in a 30-minute phone-in on LBC radio.

Responding to a caller who told her he was grateful for her service but asked her to stand down, she said: "You mentioned sovereignty was a really important issue for you, and you're absolutely right. For a lot of people who voted 'Leave,' what they wanted to do was to make sure that decisions on things like who could come into the country would be taken by us here in the U.K. and not by Brussels. That's exactly what the deal that I've negotiated delivers."

On Thursday morning, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab resigned, saying he couldn't support the plan, with a second cabinet secretary resigning shortly thereafter, followed by two junior ministers and a parliamentary aide.

There are divisions between those who want the U.K. to cut most ties to the E.U., and those who campaigned to remain in the E.U. and now are advocating for a close relationship with the bloc for economic reasons.

Both sides have issues with May's plan with Brussels, which has been attacked as ceding too much control.

In 2016, 52 percent of the U.K. voted to leave the E.U. after a divisive referendum. The question on the ballot paper simply asked whether the U.K. should remain or leave, and the country remains bitterly divided on the details of what the new relationship with Brussels should look like.

On Thursday, May faced a grueling session in Parliament in which she took hostile questions for nearly three hours -- anger and criticism from all sides of the Commons, including bruising attacks from her own members of Parliament.

There were shouts of "Resign!" as she delivered her opening statement that argued the deal she'd negotiated was Britain's best offer from Brussels.

She later held a press conference at Downing Street and took questions from journalists, some of whom asked about the effectiveness of her leadership when her party appeared in open revolt.

"I believe with every fiber of my being that the course I have set out is the right one," she said. "From the very beginning, I have known what I wanted to deliver for the British people to honor their vote in the referendum."

"The British people," she added, "just want to get on with it -- they are looking to the Conservative party to deliver."

When asked by ABC News what she would say to Britain's friends and allies anxious about the current chaos, she said, "I think they see a government intent on working ... to ensure we can deliver a good deal for the British people."

At the same time, an influential Conservative MP exited the Commons and announced he had written a letter to the chairman of an influential party committee saying he had no confidence in the PM's leadership.

Jacob Rees-Mogg chairs an influential group of around 60 Conservative MPs called the European Research Group.

Speaking outside the Commons, he told the press: "This is not Brexit. This is a failure of government policy. It needs to be rejected."

He added: "What we need is a leader who will say to the E.U. it is impossible to divide the U.K., it is impossible to agree to a situation where we have a perpetual customs union, it is impossible to pay 39 billion pounds of taxpayers' money for a few promises which was meant to be 39 billion pounds for the implementation of a deal, and it is impossible for us to allow the continued jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. The problem is the negotiations have given away on all the key points."

There is a mechanism whereby a leadership challenge may be triggered should the 1922 committee receive letters of no confidence in the party leader from 15 percent of Conservative MPs. As the party has 317 MPs, 48 letters would be required.

It is unclear whether Graham Brady, the committee chairman, has received enough letters to cross that threshold.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Prince William and Duchess Kate made a surprise visit to meet students and parents Thursday to tackle and discuss cyberbullying, one of their most important charitable initiatives.

Their latest campaign is an extension of "Stop, Speak, Support" which helps children cope with bullying, and the Duke of Cambridge’s Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying.

It is an issue that has resonated and become critically important to Prince William and Duchess Kate since becoming parents to their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

“I convened the task force because I was a new parent," William said Thursday at the BBC. "And I saw that my friends and peers were seriously worried about the risks of the very powerful tools we were putting in our children’s hands."

Prince William gave one of the most compelling speeches of his career, lambasting social media companies like Facebook, Google and other social media giants who he doesn’t think are doing enough to protect children from bullying, hate speech, trolling and privacy and are putting profits before the protection of young people.

"The noise of shareholders, bottom lines, and profits is distracting them from the values that made them so successful in the first place," said William, who was moved to act on the issue after speaking to many parents whose children had taken their lives as a result of cyberbullying.

The Duke of Cambridge’s speech coincides with Anti-Bullying Week in the U.K.

William and Kate's visit Thursday to the BBC follows a busy few days for the couple.

They spent Wednesday in Yorkshire, where they visited Centrepoint, the homeless charity that William took over as patron in 2005, following in the footsteps of his mother, Princess Diana, who served as patron until her death.

Both Prince William and his brother Prince Harry made private visits to the charity as children with Princess Diana and it has been particularly important for William to carry on her work on behalf of the homeless.

On Wednesday evening, both the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended the birthday party thrown by Queen Elizabeth to celebrate the 70th birthday of William and Harry's father, the Prince of Wales.

Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, was dressed in an off-the-shoulder pink dress accessorized by a pair of statement chandelier diamond earrings that she last wore to the BAFTAS in 2017.

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, also wore a pair of borrowed earrings which she was last seen wearing in Fiji.

The Queen made a poignant toast to Prince Charles at the black-tie event.

“Over his 70 years, Philip and I have seen Charles become a champion of conservation and the arts, a great charitable leader -- a dedicated and respected heir to the throne to stand comparison with any in history -- and a wonderful father," she said. "Most of all, sustained by his wife Camilla, he is his own man, passionate and creative. So this toast is to wish a happy birthday to my son, in every respect a duchy original. To you Charles. To the Prince of Wales."

The party was attended by numerous royal families around the world, including King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Queen Rania of Jordan, King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway and Prince Albert of Monaco.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(SEOUL, South Korea) -- It's not your typical South Korean screening. Moviegoers tap their feet, dance along and even scream at the top of their lungs -- all not usually allowed in theaters -- to Queen's biggest hits.

"The audience was singing, clapping and stamping their feet as if we were at a concert," said Kim Jeong-hwa, a college graduate who has attended special Bohemian Rhapsody sing-along screenings twice. "The biggest difference from a regular screening and a sing-along is that they have English song lyrics instead of Korean subtitles, which makes it easy for us to follow along."

Almost 200 people waited at a movie complex in Yongsan to see Bohemian Rhapsody Thursday, already jazzed up with anticipation for the sing-along experience. Some said they repeatedly listened to Queen’s songs before coming, trying to memorize song lyrics so they could enjoy the film to the fullest.

"I listen to Queen’s music on my way to school, so I can sing along to Bohemian Rhapsody," college student Soohyun Kim told ABC News, adding that she even became friends with a complete stranger after they sang together during the movie.

The film, which follows the life of Queen lead singer, Freddie Mercury, has been a huge hit in South Korea, earning over $17 million in South Korea’s box office, according to Fox Korea. And sing-along screenings have been hugely popular.

"At first, the Bohemian Rhapsody sing-along session was planned as a short-term event, but thanks to the ardent support of fans, it was added to the official screening schedule," Chae Ji Su, marketing assistant manager at Fox Korea, told ABC News.

But Bohemian Rhapsody is not the first film South Korean movie multiplexes have offered sing-along sessions for.

In 2014, sing-along screenings of Disney's animated movie Frozen lured many of fans back to watch the movie more than once. This summer, Mamma Mia 2 hit theaters in South Korea with a sing-along event as well.

"The culture of singing along together is not something that came up recently," said Kim Yiseok, a professor who teaches filmmaking at Dong-Eui University in South Korea. "Korean people love singing so much that it is natural for people to sing along to a film based on songs they are familiar with."

And the finale of Bohemian Rhapsody, which features some of Queen’s most popular songs like "We Are the Champions" and "Love of My Life," has proven to be the perfect climax to the sing-along experience, letting fans really belt it out.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Women in Ireland and on social media are showing their underwear as a sign of protest over the acquittal in a rape case where the defense used the victim’s underwear as evidence of consent.

On Nov. 6, a 27-year-old man who was accused of raping a 17-year-old girl was acquitted after his defense attorney showed the girl’s underwear as evidence, prompting hundreds of Irish women to take to the streets in protest over what they say is victim blaming.

During the trial in Cork, Ireland, defense attorney Elizabeth O’Connell presented jurors with a lacy thong worn by the girl on the night of the alleged incident, according to The Irish Examiner. O’Connell asked jurors, “Does the evidence out-rule the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone?”

She added, “You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.”

In Cork, women marched to the courthouse and placed their underwear at the steps of the building “to show that we are not tolerating it anymore, that we won’t be silenced, not anymore,” Fiona Ryan, a spokesperson for Rosa, a socialist feminist and pro-choice activist group, told ABC News.

In an act of solidarity, women took to Twitter and social media and posted photos of their underwear using the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent.

“Women internationally are stepping forward to demand real change and we are not willing to wait any longer,” Ryan said.

The acquittal also raised concerns over how rape cases are handled, Mary Crilly, director at the Sexual Violence Center Cork, told ABC News.

“There are no guidelines as to what can or cannot be brought in,” Crilly said.

“It’s outrageous that somebody can rape somebody else and then the victim gets blamed,” Crilly added.

Crilly said sexual assault victims may be afraid to report crimes in the future.

“They think, ‘what’s the point in coming forward?’ and I think that’s a real shame because the only way to get these perpetrators is to get them to court,” Crilly said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Trump administration has sanctioned 17 Saudi officials for their alleged involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the first economic penalties from the U.S. over the brutal murder that has spawned a diplomatic crisis.

The 17 individuals, the U.S said, are the 15-man hit squad that traveled to Turkey to carry out the operation, the Saudi consul general in Istanbul, Turkey, where the killing took place, and a senior adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

It's the same list of people that the Saudis themselves have blamed and arrested for the killing, which the Saudi government at first denied, then called an accident, before labeling it a rogue operation. The 17 were also among the 21 Saudi officials that the U.S. already revoked or banned U.S. visas for.

The Saudis have maintained that it was this small group of officials who are solely responsible for Khashoggi's murder, admitting Thursday that the killers drugged and killed the writer and critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inside the consulate, before dismembering his body and handing it over for disposal by an unidentified local collaborator. The body still has not been found.

The Saudi prosecutor said Thursday all 21 of them are in custody, and 11 of them had been indicted, with the prosecutor requesting the death penalty for five of the 11.

With the sanctions, the U.S. freezes all assets for the men and blocks any U.S. persons from doing business with them. While that's unlikely to make much of a difference with the group all imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, the sanctions do send a message that the U.S. takes the issue seriously.

That group includes the deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Asiri, who has been blamed by the Saudis for authorizing the operation. The Saudi prosecutor's spokesman and deputy attorney-general Sheikh Shalan al-Shalan said Thursday one unnamed individual was responsible, but did not name Asiri. Still, it's clear the Saudis are working to separate the Crown Prince, the strong-willed young leader who is the real power behind his father King Salman's throne, and instead blame a smaller chain of command.

The central question now is whether the U.S. will be willing to go along with that or whether they will directly implicate the crown prince. Republican and Democratic members of Congress have said there are signs he gave the command, but so far the administration has refused to go that far.

"The United States continues to diligently work to ascertain all of the facts and will hold accountable each of those we find responsible in order to achieve justice for Khashoggi's fiancée, children, and the family he leaves behind," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said Thursday that his agency "will continue to seek all relevant facts, consult Congress, and work with other nations to hold accountable those involved in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi."

But National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Tuesday that recordings of the killings do not implicate Prince Mohammed, sometimes known by his initials MBS. "I have not listened to the tape myself, but in the assessment of those who have listened to it, it does not, in any way, link the crown prince to the killing," Bolton said.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said much the same Thursday, telling reporters during a press conference, "Absolutely, his royal highness the crown prince has nothing to do with this issue."

Mnuchin added a rare rebuke from the Trump administration for the Saudis' human rights record in his statement, too: "The Government of Saudi Arabia must take appropriate steps to end any targeting of political dissidents or journalists."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Omar Shagaleh/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(ISTANBUL) -- Saudi Arabia will seek the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects charged with ordering and carrying out the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the Kingdom’s attorney general, Saud al-Mojeb, announced.

Ten other people remain in custody but have not yet been charged, he said.

The suspects had allegedly set in motion plans for Khashoggi's murder on Sept. 29, three days before he was last seen entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, al-Mojeb said during a televised press conference in Riyadh. Khashoggi was a high-profile critic of Saudi policy and especially of the Kingdom’s de-facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Khashoggi had an appointment at the consulate on Oct. 2 to apply for paperwork that would have allowed him to marry his Turkish fiancée.

There was a struggle, during which Khashoggi was killed by lethal injection, the attorney general said, and his body was later cut up and taken out of the building.

The journalist’s remains were then taken by someone outside the consulate grounds, the attorney general said. The outside collaborator and the location of Khashoggi’s body remain unknown, al-Mojeb added.

The highest-level official accused of being behind the killing is Saudi former deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri, a close advisor to bin Salman, according to al-Mojeb. Al-Assiri was fired for ordering Khashoggi’s forced return to the kingdom, the attorney general said.

The prosecutor said 21 people are now in custody, of which 11 had been indicted and referred to trial.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Theresa May's tenure as British Prime Minister was hanging by a thread Thursday morning following the resignation of her Brexit secretary and other ministers in her Cabinet.

There is division in her government on the terms of the U.K.'s draft agreement with the European Union on the terms of Brexit, agreed to in Brussels on Tuesday and discussed among British government ministers in a marathon Cabinet session on Wednesday.

May delivered a statement to the House of Commons Thursday morning that argued her deal with the EU was the only option that delivered the key priorities demanded by voters in the divisive 2016 referendum.

Before her address to Parliament, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab resigned in protest over the document, saying he could not in good conscience support the terms.

Raab is one of a group of Brexit-supporting ministers who campaigned for the U.K. to leave the EU in 2016.

The sticking point is the issue of the border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and the Irish Republic in the European Union.

Both sides of the Irish border want a resolution that avoids having physical checks on goods and travel on either side. To avoid the need for checks, May has agreed that the U.K. will remain aligned with the E.U. via a customs arrangement that contains a mechanism for an extension should the U.K. and the EU fail to agree on a permanent solution before negotiating time runs out.

Raab argued that this extension, described in the paper as an "insurance policy," holds the U.K. hostage to the terms because the EU would have a veto on the extension.

In his resignation letter he said, "No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime, imposed externally without democratic control over the laws to be applied."

However, May told the Commons shortly after his resignation that the EU "would not negotiate any future partnership without" the insurance policy.

Among other Cabinet ministers to resign is Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey, who told May the agreement does not "honor the result of the referendum, indeed it does not meet the tests you set from the outset of your premiership."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The House of Representatives voted to block the passage of a bill that would have ended U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The setback for critics of the coalition in the U.S. comes after the United Kingdom announced progress this week on the diplomatic front as the United Nations special envoy pushes to get the warring parties to the negotiating table by the end of the month in Sweden.

The conflict pits the Yemeni government, powered by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, against rebels known as the Houthis, that are aligned with Iran. The conflict stretches nearly four years, killing at least 16,200 civilians, and bringing 14 million people to the brink of famine.

The U.S. has provided military support for the Saudis and Emiratis since the Obama administration, but last Friday, the Saudis announced that the U.S. will no longer provide midair refueling for their aircraft -- a victory for critics of the coalition, which has been accused of war crimes for indiscriminately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure.

But the Pentagon said it provides refueling for only 20 percent of coalition warplanes, and the U.S. continues to provide other support, such as intelligence, reconnaissance and arms sales.

Democrats and a handful of Republicans have been calling on all of that to end. But on Wednesday, House Republicans voted to strip a bill that would end that support of "privilege status" so that it would not come up for a vote. With just days left in session this year, this essentially means the bill dies for now -- but its Democratic author, Rep. Ro Khanna of California, vowed to bring it back up for a vote when Democrats control the House starting in January.

Despite the defeat on Capitol Hill, the U.S. is still urging peace talks to move ahead and supporting U.N. Special Envoy Martin Griffiths, and this week, there were some important breakthroughs.

The British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt visited Saudi Arabia and the UAE and announced Tuesday that the coalition would allow for a group of Houthi fighters to be medically evacuated to neighboring Oman. While a seemingly small step, previous hurdles became an issue in the last round of U.N. talks in September, with the Houthis refusing to show in part out of protest for that.

The U.K. said Tuesday that "serious consideration" was being given by both sides to "a set of political ideas and confidence-building measures that would allow for the start of political talks in Sweden by the end of November" -- a goal that remains in sight, diplomats tell ABC News -- but it's unclear what those may include.

The U.S. has called on the Houthis to stop missile attacks into Saudi and Emirati territory and for the coalition to then halt bombing of civilian-held areas.

While that hasn't happened yet -- and fighting had actually escalated around the key port Hodeida last week -- sources tell ABC News that progress is being made.

A Western diplomat, who wished to remain anonymous, said that's in part because the Emiratis are beginning to signal that they want out of the conflict. Their withdrawal could put the Saudis in a more difficult spot on their own, pushing them to peace talks, too.

The Trump administration continues to focus on Iran's role in the conflict, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo repeatedly pointing to it as the greatest threat and source of instability. But the Western diplomat added that Iran is not as entrenched in Yemen as it is elsewhere, like Syria or Lebanon, creating an opening for the international community, not a challenge.

"You can draw the Houthis in if you give them a stake in the political settlement and throw a lot of rials at them," the diplomat said, referencing the Iranian currency.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Our Daily Deal

Get your $50.00 gift certificate for hair care services for 50% OFF while supplies last!


Local News

News Headlines for Sat., Nov. 17, 2018

JPD still investigating Friday afternoon shooting incident, and seeking the public's help... City police are asking for the public's help in finding the man who allegedly got into a fight wit...

Read More

Join Us Online