Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  When Carolyn Lloyd and her daughter from North Carolina disappeared while hiking in New Zealand, Lloyd had to summon her survival instincts when her daughter started to "suffer and die slowly" during their days in the wilderness.

"She was fading on me," said Lloyd, 45. "As a mother, it's terrifying."

"I took a tumble on the water and hit my head on the rock pretty bad," said her daughter, 22-year-old Rachel Lloyd.

Rachel, who graduated from North Carolina State University in December, is in New Zealand studying at Massey University. Her mother was visiting. The duo intended to embark on a one-day hike on Tuesday but they got lost and stranded in a rugged area of Tararua Forest Park.

The pair huddled together for warmth and rationed their supplies as they spent four nights in near freezing temperatures.

"I was speaking with my mom -- I was actually [sic] had to go through kind of my dying wishes which was the hardest thing -- watching my mom watch me suffer and die slowly," Rachel said. "My mom was incredible. She carried me on her back for a little while when she could."

"I was scared to death," Carolyn said. "I thought they wouldn't find us."

But they made two "help" signs and arrows pointing to their location, Jason Diedrichs, director and chief pilot with Amalgamated Helicopters, told ABC News. This photo of one of their "help" signs was first obtained by The New Zealand Herald.

 The two were found Saturday and airlifted to a hospital, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Diedrichs said Rachel was very weak and dehydrated as they had very little food over the course of the four days. But the mother and daughter are in good health, The New Zealand Herald reported.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Embassy of Venezuela in Ecuador(NEW YORK) -- Nearly two weeks after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador, killing at least 654 people, a Venezuelan rescue crew pulled a 72-year-old man from the rubble of a building.

Manuel Vasquez was discovered by Venezuelan rescuers in the fishing town of Jaramijo on Friday while doing building inspections after they heard him making noises from underneath the the rubble of a partially collapsed building, according to a statement released Saturday by the Venezuelan embassy in Quito.

Vasquez, who had been trapped in the building since the April 16 earthquake, was dehydrated and disoriented, and was suffering from kidney failure and a urinary tract infection. The embassy said he also lost several toes.

He remains hospitalized.

Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas called the seismic event "the strongest quake we have faced in decades," adding it was the strongest quake registered in the country since 1979.

The nation's armed forces and police were mobilized to keep public order, and Red Cross Ecuador had said more than 1,200 volunteers had taken part in rescue efforts, evacuation and first aid operations. Ecuador's Risk Management agency said 10,000 armed forces personnel were deployed to help people in the coastal areas.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty Images(LONDON) --  The Duchess of Cambridge appears on the cover of British Vogue to celebrate the magazine's 100th anniversary, in a collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery of which Kate is the Charitable Patron.

For the article, which appears in the issue that will hit the news stands June 5, the duchess was photographed by Josh Olins in casual attire to reflect her love of the countryside. She and Prince William have a country home Anmer Hall on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk where they split their time with Kensington Palace raising their children.

The @NPGLondon has collaborated with @BritishVogue on a series of photographic portraits of The Duchess #Vogue100

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) April 30, 2016

"Since 1916, Vogue has been a leading champion of British portraiture," a spokesperson for The Duchess of Cambridge said. "The Duchess was delighted to play a part in celebrating the centenary of an institution that has given a platform to some of the most renowned photographers in this country's history."

"She is incredibly grateful to the team at Vogue and at the National Portrait Gallery for asking her to take part," Kensington Palace said in a statement. "She would like to thank Josh Olins for being such a pleasure to work with. The Duchess had never taken part in a photography shoot like this before. She hopes that people appreciate the portraits with the sense of relaxed fun with which they were taken."

HRH was delighted to celebrate 100 years of @BritishVogue - a leading champion of British portraiture since 1916

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) April 30, 2016

On the British Vogue cover the coat and shirt are Burberry and the vintage hat is from Beyond Retro. The black and white head shot features coat and shirt by Burberry. In the color shot by the gate, the top is Petit Bateau and trousers are Burberry.

Two of the photographs will be displayed in the "Vogue 100 A Century of Style" exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery and available to view Sunday May 1.

"To be able to publish a photographic shoot with HRH The Duchess of Cambridge has been one of my greatest ambitions for the magazine," British Vogue Editor-in-Chief Alexandra Shulman said.

The images of The Duchess were shot by British photographer Josh Olins in the Norfolk countryside #Vogue100

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) April 30, 2016

British Vogue scored a coup nearly every magazine editor had hoped for.

"I'm delighted the Duchess agreed to work with us and the National Portrait Gallery, and as a result of this unique collaboration we have a true celebration of our centenary as well as a fitting tribute to a young woman whose interest in both photography and the countryside is well known," she said.

Kate has been the Patron of the National Portrait gallery since 2012 shortly after she married Prince William. The Duchess of Cambridge will view the photographs on Wednesday at the National Portrait Gallery.

"Josh has captured The Duchess exactly as she is -– full of life, with a great sense of humor, thoughtful and intelligent, and in fact, very beautiful," said Nicholas Cullinan, the director of the National Portrait Gallery.

"Not only do they reflect her love of the countryside, interest in photography and championing of the National Portrait Gallery as our very committed Patron, but they also encapsulate what Vogue has always done so brilliantly -– to pair the best photographers with the great personalities of the day, in order to reflect broader shifts in culture and society," Cullinan said. "We had fun in making and choosing these images, and I hope that comes across.”

Catherine is a keen photographer herself and graduated with a degree in History of Art from St Andrews University, where she met and fell in love with William.

She has taken several photographs of her children that have become iconic images of their life.
Kate follows her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana, who appeared in the cover of Vogue four times during her life. Princess Diana was photographed twice by Patrick DeMarchelier and once by Lord Snowden. She was also honored posthumously after her death.

"It's a privilege to have been chosen to photograph HRH The Duchess of Cambridge for the Centenary issue of British Vogue and an honor that two of those portraits will hang in the National Portrait Gallery in London," Olins said.

"This was the Duchess's first sitting for a magazine and she was a joy to work with, a natural," he said. "I am incredibly grateful to Alexandra Shulman for placing her faith in me for such an important and historic assignment."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge(LONDON) --  A series of photos of adorable Princess Charlotte, the second child of Prince William and Kate, were released by Kensington Palace Sunday, a day ahead of her first birthday.

The four new photos were taken by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge in April at their home in Norfolk.

The Duchess took these pictures of her daughter in April at their home in Norfolk.

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 1, 2016

"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to be able to share four new photographs of Princess Charlotte," a Kensington Palace spokesman said in a statement. "The Duke and Duchess are very happy to be able to share these important family moments and hope that everyone enjoys these lovely photos as much as they do."

Princess Charlotte is shown walking, or nearly walking, in a couple of the photos.

The Duke and Duchess are happy to be able to share these family moments, ahead of their daughter's first birthday.

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 1, 2016

The Duke and Duchess released a similar photograph of their son Prince George when he was walking at the same age.

Princess Kate reflected on her daughter just before the Queens 90th birthday in a documentary by ITN: "The Queen was really thrilled that it was a little girl, and I think as soon as we came back here to Kensington she was one of our first visitors here,” Duchess Kate said. "It's very special having a new little girl."

The Duke and Duchess are delighted to share new photographs of Princess Charlotte.

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 1, 2016

She added, "I feel very, very lucky that George has got a little sister."

Prince William expressed his sentiments about his growing family shortly after Princess Charlotte's birth. “It has been fantastic and she has been a little joy of heaven," he said. "But at the same time, it is more responsibility, looking after two little ones, especially when George is around. He’s a little monkey."

We hope that everyone enjoys these lovely photos as much as we do.

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 1, 2016

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Haydar Hadi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(BAGHDAD) -- Tensions were high in Iraq Saturday after anti-government protesters, chanting anti-government slogans and carrying Iraqi flags, climbed over blast walls surrounding Baghdad's highly-fortified Green Zone for the first time ever.

A state of emergency was declared when the supporters of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr broke through the area, home to most ministries and foreign embassies including the U.S. embassy.

In a television appearance, al-Sadr accused Iraqi politicians of blocking efforts for reform, many of which have been proposed by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi who took office in 2014.

The protesters stormed Iraq's parliament after a parliament session was postponed because it failed to reach a quorum on Saturday. Al-Abadi was expected to introduce several new ministers who were non-partisan technocrats to help tackle corruption.

Iraqi President Fuad Masum called on protesters to evacuate the building and said politicians needed to implement the new cabinet and fight corruption.

According to BBC, protesters settled outside parliament as dusk fell Saturday.

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(LAMPEDUSA, Italy) -- More than 80 refugees are feared missing after their boat sank off the coast of Libya.

An Italian merchant ship was able to rescue 26 survivors after the Italian coast guard received a satellite phone call Friday. The inflatable dinghy was found taking on water in rough waves of up to 7 feet, according to BBC.

The International Organization for Migration said testimonies gathered from asylum seekers indicated that 84 people were missing.

A spokesperson for the Italian coast guard told BBC similar dinghies used were usually full, carrying 100-120 people.

The rescued refugees were brought to Lampedusa, an Italian island south of Sicily, on Saturday.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta has set fire to a huge stockpile of ivory in protest of poaching.

The tusks of nearly 7,000 elephants are being burned  in Nairobi National Park.  They were taken from rhinos and elephants that were poached, as well as from those that died naturally, the government says. The ivory was collected from Kenya's parks and confiscated at its ports.

Before igniting the first pyre, Kenyatta said the fire shows his country's commitment to saving Africa's elephants.

"The height of the pile of ivory before us marks the strength of our resolve," he said.

"No-one, and I repeat no-one, has any business in trading in ivory, for this trade means death of our elephants and death of our natural heritage."

The burning comes after African leaders meeting in Kenya urged an end to illegal trade in ivory, according to BBC News.

Some conservationists have expressed opposition to the ivory burn in Kenya, saying destroying so much of a rare commodity could increase its value and encourage more poaching, BBC News reports.

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A mother and daughter from North Carolina who went missing Tuesday while hiking in New Zealand have been found, local police said Saturday.

MISSING HIKERS FOUND - Police confirm missing mother and daughter in Tararua Forest Park have been found safe. More soon

— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) April 30, 2016

Carolyn Lloyd, 45, and her daughter Rachel Lloyd, 22, were spotted in Tararua Forest Park by a search helicopter Saturday morning. The pair, who huddled together for warmth and rationed their supplies, were airlifted to a hospital and are in good health, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Rachel, who graduated from North Carolina State University in December, is in New Zealand studying at Massey University. Her mother was visiting.

The mother-daughter duo, who hail from Charlotte, had intended to embark on a one-day hike, but they got lost and stranded in a rugged area of the park. The pair's rental car was found abandoned at the park two days after they failed to check-in to a hotel, according to ABC Charlotte affiliate WSOC. Dog teams, helicopters and four-wheel vehicles were used in the search.

Sgt. Anthony Harmer of the New Zealand police told WSOC, "One thing about the New Zealand bush is it often takes people unaware. It’s a little bit steeper and little bit more rugged than a lot of tourists expect or plan for.”

Rachel's father told WSOC he plans to travel to New Zealand this weekend.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

MSF/Pool/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon released a 3,000-page report on Friday on the investigation into a deadly U.S. airstrike last October that obliterated a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing 42 people and wounding dozens more. As a result of the investigation, 16 military service members received administrative punishments that could affect their future status in uniform.

Military investigators concluded the ground operators and crew aboard an AC-130U gunship were unaware they were firing on a medical facility.

Gen. Jospeh Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, said at a Pentagon briefing Friday that the incident resulted from "a combination of human errors compounded by process and equipment failures."

The Oct. 3 attack drew outrage from Doctors Without Borders, which called the strike a war crime. Both President Obama and Afghanistan officials publicly apologized for the attack.

The investigation determined that because there was no "intent" to hit a medical facility, the mistakes committed did not amount to a war crime.

"The fact that this was an unintentional action takes it out of the realm of actually being a deliberate war crime against persons or protected locations," Votel said.

A two-star general officer was among the 16 military personnel punished for the attack. Seven received letters of reprimand while others received counseling and retraining. Although no criminal charges will be filed, the punishments could effectively end the military careers for most of the service members involved.

According to U.S. officials, the majority of military personnel involved were U.S. special operations forces. Gen. John Campbell, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan at the time, decided on administrative actions against 12 of the 16 service members, including the general. Campbell referred the cases of five service members to U.S. Special Operations Command, then headed by Votel, who decided on the punishments for the three officers aboard the plane and the ground force commander who called in an airstrike. The case of the remaining enlisted service member was forwarded to U.S. Army Special Operations Command that issued a letter of reprimand and directed retraining.

The attack on the Doctors Without Borders hospital, also known as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), took place on Oct. 3 during a campaign to retake the city of Kunduz from Taliban forces.

Votel said the special operations team that called the airstrike was engaged in "an extraordinarily intense combat situation" while supporting Afghan security forces fighting Taliban fighters. The team called in an airstrike on Taliban fighters.

The building in question turned out to be the MSF trauma center whose coordinates were included on the U.S.'s no-strike list. Because of the combat situation in Kunduz, the AC-130 was rushed into service and the flight crew was not given the latest no-strike information.

Votel said the crew of the gunship and the ground force commander believed they were striking a building several hundred meters away that housed insurgents.

MSF immediately reported to the military that it was attacking a protected hospital. Votel said Friday that the first call was received 10 minutes into the half-hour long attack, but that the information "did not immediately register" with the person taking the call.

After receiving the report, MSF released a statement calling again for an independent investigation from the International Humanitarian Fact Finding Commission.

“Today’s briefing amounts to an admission of an uncontrolled military operation in a densely populated urban area, during which U.S. forces failed to follow the basic laws of war,” said Meinie Nicolai, MSF president, on Friday. “It is incomprehensible that, under the circumstances described by the U.S., the attack was not called off.”

"The threshold that must be crossed for this deadly incident to amount to a grave breach of international humanitarian law is not whether it was intentional or not,” Nicolai continued. “With multinational coalitions fighting with different rules of engagement across a wide spectrum of wars today, whether in Afghanistan, Syria, or Yemen, armed groups cannot escape their responsibilities on the battlefield simply by ruling out the intent to attack a protected structure such as a hospital.”

As a result of the incident, changes were instituted by senior commanders in Afghanistan ensuring that all aircraft take flight with the latest no-strike list. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has also issued a directive that all commands and services review their rules of engagement for similar situations in the future.

The Department of Defense has made condolence payments to more than 170 individuals affected by the attack. Those injured in the attack and families of the deceased received payments of $3,000 and families of those killed received $6,000. The Defense Department will allocate $5.7 million to build a new hospital in the same area.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

United States European Command (MOSCOW) -- In another close encounter with Russian military aircraft over the Baltic Sea, the Pentagon said a Russian Su-27 fighter jet Friday conducted a barrel roll within 25 feet of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance plane flying in international airspace.

It is the third time in as many weeks the United States has accused the Russian military of engaging in "an unsafe and unprofessional" manner in the waters and airspace of the Baltic Sea. The previous incidents were the repeated buzzing at close range of the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Donald Cook and another barrel roll of a U.S. reconnaissance plane

A barrel roll is when an aircraft pulls parallel to another aircraft and then rises up and does a complete 360-degree turn over the other aircraft.

"On April 29, 2016, a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft flying a routine route in international airspace over the Baltic Sea was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 in an unsafe and unprofessional manner," Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza said.

"The Su-27 performed erratic and aggressive maneuvers," she said. "The Su-27 intercepted the U.S. aircraft flying a routine route at high rate of speed from the side then proceeded to perform an aggressive maneuver that posed a threat to the safety of the U.S. aircrew in the RC-135. More specifically, the Su-27 closed within 25 feet of the fuselage of the RC-135 and conducted a barrel roll over the aircraft.

"There have been repeated incidents over the last year where Russian military aircraft have come close enough to other air and sea traffic to raise serious safety concerns, and we are very concerned with any such behavior," Baldanza added. "This unsafe and unprofessional air intercept has the potential to cause serious harm and injury to all aircrews involved."

The U.S. reconnaissance aircraft was flying in international airspace at the time of Friday’s intercept and had not crossed into Russian territory.

"The unsafe and unprofessional actions of a single pilot have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries,” Baldanza said.

On April 11 and 12, the USS Donald Cook was overflown more than 30 times by a pair of Su-27 fighters that on one occasion flew as close as 30 feet from the ship. The Pentagon later released video and still images to demonstrate how risky the Russian aircraft maneuvers had been.

On April 14, another Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 fighter that proceeded to conduct a barrel roll within feet of the U.S. plane.

On both occasions, Russian officials discounted the U.S. characterization that the actions by the Russian military aircraft were unsafe and unprofessional.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter told a congressional panel Wednesday that the previous encounters carry "an inherent danger" of unintended escalation between the U.S. and Russian militaries.

He commended the crew of the USS Donald Cook for their professionalism because "there's a real risk there because that ship captain has a responsibility to defend his job and an inherent right of self-defense."

"But our own people comported themselves as they always do in the way you'd expect, very professional," Carter said.

The Russian’s motivation is unknown but Carter said it’s “unprofessional behavior, and whether it is encouraged from the top, whether it was encouraged from higher up or not I can't say. But we do expect it to be discouraged from higher up from now on. That's the reason why the chairman had the conversations he did, and these pilots need to get the word, hey, knock it off. This is unprofessional. This is dangerous. This could lead somewhere.”

At the same hearing, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, characterized the risk of miscalculation between the two militaries "arguably, is greater than it was in the Cold War because the spectrum of challenges is wider today than it was traditionally narrow through just the nuclear enterprise."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Department of Defense(WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon has extended the seven-month deployment of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman and its strike group by 30 days to keep it in the fight against ISIS and for counter-terrorism missions. Since December, the aircraft carrier has been operating in the Persian Gulf, where its fighter aircraft have targeted ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter approved a request by U.S. Central command to extend the carrier strike group's ongoing deployment. The extension will also affect the cruiser USS Anzio(CG 68) and the destroyers USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) and USS Gravely (DDG 107).

"This decision is central to our ongoing effort to dismantle and roll back terrorist networks in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere," Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said Friday. "Accelerating the fight against ISIL is the president's number one priority and the Truman strike group plays an important role as we work to destroy ISIL and continue to go after the remnants of al Qaeda." ISIL is the term the Pentagon uses to describe ISIS.

The extension is seen as another of the "accelerants" recommended by Carter and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to intensify the U.S. military's capabilities to target ISIS. The announced deployments last week of 217 more American troops to Iraq and 250 more Special Operations forces to Syria fall under the same category.

"Terrorist organizations remain a significant threat to U.S. interests. The superb efforts of the men and women of the Truman strike group have and will continue to be instrumental in winning this fight," Richardson said.

"The contributions we're making in the maritime environment are key to ensuring regional stability," said Rear Adm. Bret Batchelder, commander of the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 8. "Our sailors' commitment and professionalism has been significant, and as a strike group, we're at peak operational effectiveness; so we're going to stay in the fight a while longer. I want the sailors and their families to know how proud I am of their continued efforts and dedication to this fight."

When the Truman strike group left its home port of Norfolk, Virginia, last fall, it was slated to complete the first seven-month deployment in years. The shorter deployment has been a Navy goal following years of longer deployments to meet a need for a constant U.S. aircraft carrier presence in the region at a time that the size of the carrier fleet was temporarily reduced from 11 to 10.

Last year, a shortfall in available carriers due to scheduled long-term maintenance resulted in "a carrier gap" in the Persian Gulf, where there was not a direct hand-off in carrier responsibilities. That carrier gap last November lasted several weeks until the Truman arrived in the Gulf, another gap was scheduled when its deployment came to an end.

The 30-day extension will delay a presence gap in CENTCOM this spring, but also represents a setback for the Navy's overstretched flattop force. The Middle East was without a carrier for several weeks in 2015 in the middle of the ISIS fight because the carrier Theodore Roosevelt departed without a relief. Truman filled the gap in December when it arrived in the Middle East.

"Before deviating from our seven-month deployments, we consider each Combatant Commander's request to ensure the readiness of our naval forces," Richardson said. "We will do everything we can to mitigate the impact on our families and execute planned seven-month deployment lengths going forward."

Two weeks ago, the F/A-18 aircraft aboard the carrier set a new record for carrier-based ordnance used during Operation Inherent Resolve, the mission against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7 has completed 1,407 combat sorties, delivering 1,118 precision-guided munitions equally over 580 tons of ordnance, military officials said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(ALEPPO, Syria) -- The U.S. and Russia have agreed to reaffirm the Syrian ceasefire agreement, but this time in only parts of the country.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday the parties involved were “refreshing” the broken cessation of hostilities, which were officially destroyed this week as Syrian forces bombed a civilian hospital, killing 50 -- including children -- and the last known pediatrician in the city of Aleppo. That city has seen the most intense fighting as the ceasefire has broken down, with an estimated 200 killed in recent days.

Statement by SE for #Syria Michael Ratney on Re-Committing to the Cessation of Hostilities in Latakia& EasternGhouta

— U.S. Embassy Syria (@USEmbassySyria) April 29, 2016

The agreement calls for a renewed ceasefire beginning tonight at midnight, local time, initially in the areas of Latakia, Damascus and Eastern Ghouta. Senior State Department officials insisted that although this doesn’t include Aleppo, the opposition-held city is not being ignored.

“So, we are talking about a couple of discrete areas in the immediate sets of this, but we are actually working on all of the areas, a senior State Department official told reporters Friday. “So, it’s not just about Latakia and Damascus, Eastern Ghouta east of Damascus, but also about Aleppo and other areas where we see problems or potential problems that we’re trying to get back -- get and then get this cessation of hostilities back on track.”

Despite the horrific hospital bombing this week, Syrian and Russian forces insist they are targeting terrorist in Aleppo.

Officials at the State Department insist that a total ceasefire is not an official precondition for the political negotiations between the warring parties, but the talks are unlikely progress without one.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(ISLAMABAD) -- Maria Toorpakai was just 4 years old and living in the Taliban-controlled tribal regions of Waziristan, Pakistan, when she set her girl clothes ablaze in defiance of the world she'd been born into.

"In that age, I just felt that 'I just want to go out. I just don't want to stay home or among those girls.' ... That's why I burned all my dresses," the professional squash player told ABC News anchor David Muir. "I saw a huge [difference] between the life of a girl and a boy. ... I'm not a very typical girl who's just going to stay among those and just help learn how to [do] home chores and learn to sew."

Toorpakai, currently ranked as Pakistan's top female squash player, is No. 48 in the world.

In 2007, she went professional in the squash world. For years, however, she disguised herself as a boy in order to play and compete in squash so the Taliban would not learn of her.

Toorpakai, who spoke with ABC News at the New York Health and Racquet Club recently, shared her story in a book due out Tuesday titled "A Different Kind of Daughter: The Girl Who Hid From the Taliban in Plain Sight."

She said through it all, she had the support of her father, who'd also educated her mother and sister.

"At home my father treated us really well, like equally to my brothers," she said. "We have very just environment at home. But when I go outside, I did not find justice in there."

When she destroyed most of her clothing at 4, Toorpakai said that instead of scolding her, her father supported her, letting her wear her brother's clothing and giving her a new name: Genghis Khan for the greatest warrior.

In Waziristan, where women are kept home and not allowed to attend school or play outside, Toorpakai said it was very dangerous for her progressive parents. Only her family knew her secret.

Her father, who was pro-women's rights, was threatened and attacked. Their house was stoned. Her father was forced to leave and was jailed but he escaped. The family moved from one area to another because of the danger they faced. When Maria was 12, the family settled in Peshawar.

"At home, I was Maria. ... At home, I did everything a daughter does. Outside, I did everything like son does so I help my family bring groceries, always escorting my mom, you know, everywhere and my sister," she said. "At home, I'm cleaning the house. ... Making bread. ... Everything. Things like that."

When Toorpakai started getting into fights with the local boys, her father pushed her to get into sports. She started weightlifting and competing throughout Pakistan. Then she discovered squash. In order to enroll in a squash academy, she had to present her birth certificate. Only the academy director knew the truth but the students eventually learned that she was a girl.

"Lots of kids come from the same area where we were living at that time," she said. "They came to know about me, that I'm a girl. ... I was treated differently. ... They were teasing me. ... Extreme bullying started. ... I just didn't know what has changed. I'm the same person. Just only thing is that I'm a girl."

She said she grew depressed and suffered anxiety. Her father noticed how despondent she was and tried sending her to school with her sister. She found, however, that school was not a good fit. Eventually she returned to playing squash and ultimately decided she would not let anyone deter her from being a success.

"I saw a lot of resistance from the community, from the society. I heard people telling my father that, you know, this is not right thing to do. ... But my father is amazing. ... Even in Peshawar market, he would not care about people. ... He said, 'Don't look at people. Just walk and stay focused. And these are just people. They will just walk by your life. ... You would reach your destiny,'" she said.

Toorpakai kept playing squash and training and practicing. In 2007, she earned an award from Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. In 2009, she was nominated for the Best Player of the Year Award by the World Squash Federation. With the accolades, however, came the death threats to her and her family by the Taliban.

"They were saying to my dad that, 'You are, you know, come from blood. You come from the same region. And your daughter plays sport and, you know, in skirts and shorts. And it's unbearable thing you're doing," she said. "Looking at my father, he was, you know, nervous. My mom was very nervous and depressed."

Toorpakai said for several years she stopped playing squash in public, retreating to her home and opting to play inside and when the sun had gone down. She started sending emails around the world, looking desperately for a place to play. In three and a half years, she received only one reply. It came from Jonathan Power, a world squash champion living in Canada.

In 2014, with Power's help, she moved to Toronto, Canada, where she currently lives and continues to play.

She said she had a message to not only young girls in Pakistan but also the men in their lives.

"The most beautiful scarves, burqa or veil that you can give to your daughter is the love, is the trust that you build with time. ... Give them freedom and they will always come back. ... And to the young girls, never, ever think you are less than any boy or man. We come from the same mother. ... You cannot be less than your brother."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(EPSOM, New Zealand) -- A grandmother in her 70s recently returned an overdue library book 67 years after it was borrowed, according to Auckland Libraries, the public library system for the Auckland region of New Zealand.

The elderly woman visited Auckland's Epsom Library "with a confession" on Wednesday. She explained that she had borrowed the book as a child in December of 1948 and accidentally took it with her when she moved out of the city, according to a Facebook post from Epsom Library.

The book, a "gorgeous" first edition of "Myths and Legends of Maoriland" by A.W. Red, was given back in "excellent, well-read condition," the library wrote.

Based on Auckland Libraries' current late fee policy, the overdue fine for the late return would have amounted to nearly $17,000 U.S. dollars.

But luckily, the woman did not have to pay a single penny.

She "took such good care of the book that we couldn't possibly charge her!" the library said.

Our library book returned 68 years late is going around the world! Here it is in @guardian!

— Auckland Libraries (@Auckland_Libs) April 29, 2016

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Thirty-three lions rescued from "deplorable conditions" in circuses in Peru and Colombia are being flown over 7,000 miles Friday back to their homeland in South African bush, according to Animal Defenders International, the group spearheading the operation.

The lions' journey marks the conclusion of Operation Spirit of Freedom, a mission started by ADI in partnership with the Peruvian and Colombian governments to enforce the ban on wild animals in circuses and crack down on illegal wildlife trafficking, ADI said in a news release earlier this week.

The operation has rescued over 100 animals, including the 33 lions were who were found "living in deplorable conditions in cages on the backs of trucks," ADI said.

Unfortunately, almost all the lions "have been mutilated to remove their claws, one has lost an eye, another is almost blind, and many have smashed and broken teeth," the group said.

"These lions have endured hell on earth and now they are heading home to paradise," ADI President Jan Creamer said in ADI's news release.

But Friday, the lions will begin a new chapter of their lives at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary, ADI said.

There, the lions will enjoy large natural enclosures situated in pristine African bush complete with drinking pools, platforms and toys, according to Savannah Heuser, the sanctuary's founder.

"This is their birth right," Heuser said in ADI's news release. "African sun, African night skies, African bush and sounds, clouds, summer thunderstorms, large enclosures in a natural setting where they can remember who they are.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


God Bless America & Our Home Louisiana !

Alexandria, LA
Cloudy 77°F
  • 78% humidity
  • Winds at 7 mph
Full Forecast
970 KSYL On Air Now
CBS Weekend Roundup
12:00pm - 1:00pm
CBS Weekend Roundup

The KSYL Morning Report

Monday Thru Friday 7:10a


With Host

Dave Graichen

Click Player To Listen


The CBS World News Roundup

Click The Logo to listen


Commercial Free


The Best Of The 60's & 70's


Now On Air At 93.1 HD3

Or Click The Logo Above

To Listen.


State Wire
North Rapides Business & Industry Alliance



All Weekend Long

It's a

Political Free Zone!

Kim Komando, The "Weekend" Roundup, Leo Laporte (The Tech Guy!), Art Bell, The Real Estate Show, Bill Handel, Chef John Folse "Stirin' It Up" , Doug Stephan's Weekend, The Pet Show & When Radio Was!.

New Shows!

Rudy Maxa’s World

Now A Full 2 Hours

Saturday 12 to 2p




Dr. Ronald Hoffman

Intelligent Medicine

Saturday 2 to 4p



LinkedUpRadio Envisionwise Web Services