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  • Canadian police investigating ‘suspicious’ deaths of couple on side of remote highway
    by Dana Schaeffer on July 19, 2019 at 10:51 pm

    iStock(BRITISH COLUMBIA, Canada) —  Authorities in British Columbia, Canada, are desperately looking for answers after the lifeless bodies of a young couple were found on the side of a remote highway.Chynna Noelle Deese, 24, of Charlotte, North Carolina, and boyfriend Lucas Robertson Fowler, 23, of Australia, were found Monday on Alaska Highway 97, south of Liard Hot Springs, British Columbia, according to the Northern Rockies, Royal Canadian Mounted Police.Authorities said that they considered the deaths “suspicious” and that they believed the killings had occurred between Sunday and Monday. They did not specify the manners of death.It was not clear if the couple was targeted, authorities said during a news conference Friday.Authorities said they were looking to speak to anyone who had traveled that stretch of highway from Sunday, 4 p.m., to Monday, 8 a.m.”Police would especially like to speak with anyone who may have a dashcam video while travelling that area. A vehicle — an older blue minivan with Alberta plates — was found at the scene and police would like to speak with anyone who may have seen the vehicle or rendered assistance,” authorities said in a release Wednesday.On Friday, authorities said they were trying to determine if that car belonged to the couple.Chynna Deese’s mother, Sheila Deese, told ABC News that her daughter had worked on farms and hostels all over the world — including Italy and France — and had met Fowler while working at a hostel in Croatia.”Their story is like a love story that you would read about,” Sheila Deese said Friday. “This Southern girl meets this wonderful Australian man. They were just so in love and both loved traveling.”Sheila Deese said Fowler was working on a ranch in Canada and Chynna Deese had left July 6 to help him. Since he had two weeks’ vacation, he bought a van from his employers and turned it into a camper so that they could travel to national parks, Sheila Deese said. She said the two were traveling on a planned route.In a Facebook post, Chynna Deese’s sister, Kennedy Deese, said the family is “heartbroken.””They were bright and beautiful souls,” she said.Fowler’s family released a statement via the New South Wales Police Force’s Facebook page, saying that they were traveling to Canada to bring his body back to Australia.”We have lost our dear Lucas Fowler, son, brother, grandson and friend in the most terrible of circumstances,” the statement reads. “To lose someone so young and vibrant, who was travelling the world and just enjoying life to the full, is devastating.””To know his beautiful girlfriend, Chynna Deese of Charlotte, North Carolina also lost her life in this violent event is too cruel. All our love and best wishes go to Chynna’s family and friends,” the statement said. “Our deepest thanks for all your love and care. At this stage we can only move forward a minute at a time, and those minutes are moving so slowly. Please share this post with all those who may have crossed paths anywhere in the world with these beautiful young people.”Carrie Hawryluk of Fort Nelson, British Columbia, told Canada’s Global News that she’d seen a couple who matched the police’s description of Deese and Fowler on Sunday. She said the couple and their van were on the side of the road.”The van hood was up like it had broken down and they were sitting in some lawn chairs in the ditch,” she told Global News. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. […]

  • Trump says White House is helping rapper ASAP Rocky, who is being held in Sweden without charges
    by Dana Schaeffer on July 19, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    Christian Vierig/Getty Images(STOCKHOLM) — President Donald Trump spoke out for the first time Friday about the case of rapper A$AP Rocky, who has been held in a Swedish jail for more than two weeks without charges following a street fight. The president said the White House has been communicating with Sweden and working on the release of the hip-hop star, who will be detained at least until July 25, a judge ruled Friday.”A$AP Rocky is a situation in Sweden. Sweden’s a great country and they’re friends of mine, the leadership. And we are going to be calling, we’ll be talking to them, we’ve already started and many, many members of the African-American community have called me — friends of mine, and said could you help?” Trump told reporters on Friday when asked about the case.The rapper’s unusual case has become a cause celebre, attracting the attention of stars such as Kim Kardashian West, who directly appealed to the president. Trump also revealed that first lady Melania Trump personally appealed to him and asked him to help the rapper. U.S. State Dept. officials issued a statement acknowledging the court ruling. “We are aware that the Stockholm District Court announced it has granted until July 25 for prosecutors to complete their investigation in this case,” the statement said. “One of the most important tasks of the Department of State and U.S. embassies and consulates abroad is to provide assistance to U.S. citizens who are detained abroad.” A$AP Rocky has been in pre-trial detention since July 2, following a June 30 street fight that broke out in Stockholm. Two other performers who were with the rapper that night, Bladimir Corniel and David Rispers, were also detained.“We are very disappointed because this is frankly unjust,” A$AP Rocky’s Swedish attorney, Sloban Jovicic, told ABC News in a phone interview on Friday. He disputed the prosecution’s argument that the rapper could flee the country.“This is unjust because he is incarcerated because the prosecutor is applying the rule of ‘flight right.’ There is no risk for flight risk or escape because A$AP would never jeopardize his career, brand, support from his fans, friends and celebrities all over the world,” Jovicic said.A Change.org petition demanding the rapper’s release, which has been shared widely by Hollywood stars and artists from all corners of the hip-hop world, has garnered over 600,000 signatures and celebrities from Kardashian West to Justin Bieber have been calling for the rapper’s release.Kardashian West, who has developed a close relationship with the Trump administration through her advocacy for criminal justice reform, confirmed a TMZ report on Thursday that she and her husband, hip-hop star Kanye West, appealed to the president through his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner to help free the rapper. Kardashian West also worked with Trump to help free Alice Johnson, a grandmother who had been serving life on drug charges.”Thank you @realDonaldTrump , @SecPompeo, Jared Kushner & everyone involved with the efforts to Free ASAP Rocky & his two friends. Your commitment to justice reform is so appreciated,” she tweeted.The State Department announced on Wednesday that Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Carl Risch traveled to Sweden and is in the country currently.“[A$AP Rocky] knows that celebrities and fans have a petition of support to bring him home he would never jeopardize that. It’s frankly unjust for them to think he would not act responsibly and accordingly in this matter,” Jovicic told ABC News.Regarding the upcoming hearing on July 25 Jovicic said, “We need to be prepared and assume the prosecutor will press charges. We are hoping for justice in a fair trial.”A$AP Rocky — whose given name is Rakim Mayers — is part of the hip-hop collective A$AP Mob, and was in Sweden as part of the European leg of his tour.The rapper is “suspected of aggravated assault,” according to a press release posted to the website of the Stockholm prosecutor’s office. But the rapper’s attorney told ABC News that he and his companions were acting in self-defense.“You have to also see this from his point of view, he came to Sweden to perform for his fans and he was attacked, followed and harassed,” Jovicic said on Friday. “My client begged and pleaded with these attackers to stop and he acted in self-defense. And now he is the one in jail. That’s unjust.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. […]

  • German Chancellor Merkel expresses ‘solidarity’ with freshman lawmakers after Trump attack
    by Dana Schaeffer on July 19, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    Omer Messinger/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized President Donald’s Trump’s comments that four Democratic congresswomen should “go back” to where they came from, saying the idea “contradicts America’s strength,” and expressed “solidarity with the attacked women.”The chancellor, who made the comments on Friday during her annual press event, said the country’s strength is derived from the contributions of people from many backgrounds, and that Trump’s comments — first expressed on Twitter and repeated to his supporters at a campaign rally — run “counter to this impression.””This is something that contradicts America’s strength,” she said.Theresa May, the outgoing U.K. prime minister, has also criticized the remarks, saying through a spokesperson they were “completely unacceptable,” according to the BBC.The president targeted four progressive Democrats — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass — saying they “came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe.” Three of the lawmakers were born in the U.S., and Omar came to the U.S. as a refugee as a child.Omar fired back, calling it a “blatantly racist attack on four duly elected members of the United States House of Representatives, all of whom are women of color.”Trump then doubled down on the comments — against Omar, in particular — at a campaign rally in Greenville, NC, saying: “I said I have a suggestion for the hate-filled extremists who are constantly trying to tear our country down. They never have anything good to say, that’s why I say, hey, if they don’t like it let them leave. Leave, let them leave.”He looked on as his largely white crowd broke into repeated chants of “Send her back!” Omar, who was born in Somalia, is one of the first two Muslim women in Congress.On Thursday night, a crowd in Omar’s home state of Minnesota greeted her arrival from Washington with the chant, “Welcome home, Ilhan!”The U.S.-German has shown signs of stress since Trump’s ascent to the Oval Office. A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center and Koerber-Stiftung in Germany in late 2018 found that 78% of Germans feel the US-German relationship was bad — a 17% increase from 2017.Merkel has held her post since 2005 and has said she will leave office when her current term ends in 2021.Pressed by reporters about her health after it appeared she was shaking during several recent public appearances, Merkel, who turned 65 this week, brushed aside concerns.”I hope there is life after my time in office and I would like to lead it in good health,” she said.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. […]

  • Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seizes British-flagged tanker in Strait of Hormuz
    by Dana Schaeffer on July 19, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    iStock(NEW YORK) — Iran’s paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps said it had seized a British-flagged oil tanker traveling through the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, in what appeared to be a significant new escalation between Tehran and Western countries. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a statement he was “extremely concerned by the seizure of two naval vessels by Iranian authorities.” The British tanker, the Stena Impero, was crossing through the strait when it abruptly changed course and headed north towards Iran’s Qeshm Island, ship tracking sites showed. The tanker’s owner and management companies issued a statement that the ship was “approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter” while in international waters. “We are presently unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran,” the companies, Stena Bulk and Northern Marine Management, said in the statement. The Liberian tanker seized was not immediately named. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) said that its forces had seized the Stena Impero “due to non-compliance with international maritime law and regulations,” according to a statement carried by Iranian state news agencies. The tanker had been guided to shore and was already in port, the statement said. The UK government has convened an emergency session of COBRA, its crisis committee, a senior UK official told ABC News, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to comment publicly. Hunt confirmed that he was attending the meeting to review “what we know and what we can do to swiftly secure the release of the two vessels.” There were 23 crew aboard the Stena Impero, according to the statement from its owner, and currently there are no reports that any have suffered injury. Hunt said both vessels had crews comprised of a “range of nationalities,” but noted there were no British citizens on board either ship. The seizure comes less than a month after the UK seized an Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar, accusing it of violating European Union sanctions by trying to ship oil to Syria.Iran has repeatedly vowed retaliation since then and last week a British warship intervened to chase away Iranian small boats that approached another British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.Tensions have spiked in the strait again in the past few days after Iran said it had seized another Panamanian flagged tanker on Thursday accused of oil smuggling and the U.S. said it had destroyed an Iranian drone that approached ones of its warships. Iran has denied any of its drones were destroyed. President Donald Trump said Thursday that the U.S. would be speaking to British officials about the situation and noted that the U.S. doesn’t have many tankers passing through the area. “We heard that,” Trump told reporters as he departed the White House en route to New Jersey. “The United States has very few tankers going in because we’re using our own energy now. We’ve made a lot of progress over the last two and a half years. So we don’t have very many tankers going in, but we have a lot of ships there that are warships, and we’ll talk to the UK.” The president noted multiple times that the U.S. and UK don’t have a “written agreement” but that the two countries were strong allies and that “they’ll have a new prime minister soon, which is a good thing.” Later, he said that Iran was “trouble, nothing but trouble.” The White House National Security Council spokesperson Garrett Marquis said the council is aware of the reports of the tanker’s seizure. “We are aware of reports that Iranian boats seized a British oil tanker,” he said. “This is the second time in just over a week the UK has been the target of escalatory violence by the Iranian regime. The U.S. will continue to work with our allies and partners to defend our security and interests against Iran’s malign behavior.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. […]

  • Earthquake hits Athens, Greece
    by JTP on July 19, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    KeithBinns/iStock(ATHENS, Greece) — An earthquake hit Athens, Greece, on Friday, causing strong shaking in the capital city. The earthquake was a 5.3 magnitude, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and hit just after 2 p.m. local time. The mobile phone network went down and there were some power outages reported around the city. The fire department is responding to calls of people trapped in elevators. Otherwise, there was no reported serious damage or injuries immediately after the quake. The Acropolis Museum remains open, although many people around the city were sent home from work for the day.It officially hit about 14 miles from Athens, the Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Center said, and lasted just a few seconds. The last major earthquake to hit Athens was a 6.0 magnitude quake in 1999, which caused extensive damage and killed over 140 people. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. […]