ABC News(VATICAN CITY) -- Pope Francis participated in a virtual audience today with Americans from around the country during an event hosted exclusively with ABC News.
The event was moderated from inside the Vatican by ABC News’ "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir, as the pontiff engaged via satellite with individuals from three different groups: students at the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago’s inner city, congregants from a McAllen, Texas, church located near the U.S.-Mexico border and homeless men and women and those working with the homeless in Los Angeles.
The event will air in a one-hour special edition of ABC News’ "20/20" on Friday, Sept. 4 at 10 p.m. ET. In addition, the event will be posted in its entirety in both English and Spanish on ABCNews.com.
The event coincides with the pope’s upcoming visit to the United States, scheduled for later this month, when Francis is expected to travel to Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia from Sept. 22 to Sept. 27.
The pope’s U.S. trip includes a meeting with President Obama at the White House, an address in front of a joint-meeting of Congress, an address at the U.N. General Assembly in New York and a "multi-religious service" at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
His trip will conclude in Philadelphia at the World Meeting of Families, a global event organized by the Catholic Church that focuses on strengthening family bonds. Event organizers expect up to two million people to attend the pope’s closing mass.
Only three other reigning popes have ever visited the United States: Paul VI in 1965, John Paul II, who traveled to the country seven different times, and Pope Benedict XVI, who visited in April 2008.
Born in Argentina, Francis, 78, is the first Latin American and first Jesuit to lead the Roman Catholic Church. He succeeded Benedict in 2013, and since then the pontiff has won wide acclaim for his modern views on religion, his hands-on work with the less-fortunate and his acceptance of the LGBT community.
Jessica McConnell Burt/GW(WASHINGTON) -- A student from George Washington University has disappeared while studying abroad in South Africa this past weekend, the school confirmed.
Nicholas Upton, 19, is a junior at the school and is currently studying at a partner program in Cape Town. He has not been seen since he went swimming in the Eastern Cape Province on Sunday evening local time, GW University Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski said in a statement.
He and a group of other students studying abroad traveled to a surf lodge on the other side of the country and the National Sea Rescue Institute, the country's equivalent to a coast guard, issued a statement saying that "he is presumed to have drowned."
"Local private aviators from the area committed to dispatching private aircraft to join in the search but adverse weather conditions have prevented any of the private aircraft from flight," the NSRI said in their statement.
Upton's father Jim spoke to ABC News and said that he feels a slow emergency response hindered his son's rescue. Jim Upton said that the other students who were swimming with his son ran in to the lodge to get help but were not treated with urgency.
"Our big problem right now was that the search was very poorly handled," Jim Upton said. "When they [the students] ran in to get help from the lodge, the lodge didn't call police immediately. They called police after some time and the police were actually going to wait until daylight until they started to search but they got coerced into searching."
He said that townspeople and fellow students launched a local search, but "it took them five hours to notify the national search and rescue team that there was an issue."
Jim Upton said that even though South African authorities said that they have downgraded the search from a rescue to a recovery and authorities no longer believe Nicholas is alive, his parents are holding out hope.
"We're trying to keep our chin up and be as hopeful as possible. It's not over until it's over," Jim Upton said.
Upton, who is originally from Redding, Conn., is a part of the George Washington rowing team and is a member of the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity, according to ABC News affiliate WJLA-TV.
NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker(NEW YORK) — New Horizons has passed Pluto but the space probe's work isn't done yet.
NASA has selected a potential new target for New Horizons to fly past located nearly one billion miles beyond the dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt, an area beyond Pluto's orbit of the Sun that is the largest structure in the planetary system, with more than 100,000 miniature worlds ripe for exploration.
Before New Horizons reaches the Kuiper Belt object, known as 2014 MU69, a proposal will have to be evaluated by an independent team of experts before the flyby is officially approved.
"While discussions whether to approve this extended mission will take place in the larger context of the planetary science portfolio, we expect it to be much less expensive than the prime mission while still providing new and exciting science," John Grunsfeld, chief of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said in a statement.
The object was chosen in part for its location. It will cost less fuel to reach it than other candidates, leaving more fuel for New Horizons to conduct other science opportunities.
New Horizons conserved energy by taking naps on its 3 billion mile journey to Pluto. The spacecraft may have enough power for two more decades of exploration, according to NASA.
The piano-sized probe is equipped with a battery that converts radiation from decaying plutonium into electricity. New Horizons loses about a few watts of power each year, according to NASA, but is estimated to have as much as 20 years left in its life expectancy.
It will spend the next year and few months transmitting data from back to Earth from its July 14 encounter with Pluto, with the information being categorized by low, medium and high priority. It will likely make its last transmission in October or November of next year, officials said.
Launched in January 2006 on a 3 billion mile journey to Pluto, New Horizons "phoned home" after its Pluto flyby, indicating that it had successfully navigated just 7,700 miles from the dwarf planet. It later sent back the first high-resolution images of Pluto's surface.
Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- The Kremlin wants the world to know Russian President Vladimir Putin pumps iron and grills meat before most of the world gets out of bed.
New photos released by the Kremlin show Putin working out and barbecuing with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at a government residence in Sochi before sitting down to breakfast and tea.
Putin regularly works out, detailing his personal fitness routine to ABC News last year ahead of the Sochi Olympics.
"How does one control weight? By not overeating. How does one stay in shape? One plays sports. There are no magic pills here," Putin told ABC's "This Week" last January. "I spend a little time every day to play sports. Last night, I was skiing here until 1:30 in the morning. I hit the gym this morning. I swim almost every day, a thousand meters."
Putin had refrained from his characteristic macho antics for the last few years, but appears to be ramping them up again. Earlier this month, he took a mini-submarine to the bottom of the Black Sea to visit a shipwreck off the coast of Crimea.
iStock/Thinkstock(VANCOUVER, Canada) -- Vancouver braces for flooding after the city cleans up from the worst wind storm in nearly a decade.
Toppling trees all over the Vancouver-area, a wind storm's record high winds left 400,000 homes without power, one woman with life-threatening injuries after a tree fell on her, and another woman injured when a street light fell onto her car's windshield.
One resident in the area, Mike King, said his car was crushed by a tree.
"I heard the crack, looked up, stepped back 2 feet, and in slow motion she just fell over," King said.
More heavy rain was expected Sunday as officials reportedly asked people to clear sewer drains.
Marcio Silva/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) -- At least 200 people are injured and 11 are dead after a fire ripped through a residential complex in the eastern Saudi Arabian city of Khobar, according to the BBC.
The complex is used to house those who work for the Saudi oil company, Aramco. Many of those injured are of different nationalities.
The cause of the fire is currently unknown, says the BBC.
Jon Gorr/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) -- Four alleged human traffickers appeared in court in Hungary on Saturday accused of playing a role in the deaths of 71 migrants found packed into a delivery truck in Austria.
Razor wire failed to hold back the tide of humanity flooding into Europe.
Hundreds of thousands of people are now on the move - a river of refugees escaping from war and terror in Syria and beyond, traveling through Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and the Balkans into Hungary, then Austria, Germany and the rest of Europe.
The crisis has prompted leaders in the European Union to call for immediate talks.
BBC News reports that authorities believe the men arrested are members of a human trafficking group.
On Sunday, Austrian authorities confirmed that a truck with 26 people from Syria, Afghanistan and Bangladesh were discovered.
The driver of that truck has been taken into custody.
fotokon/iStock/Thinkstock(CAIRO) -- Three journalists were sentenced to three years in prison in Egypt on Saturday, in what their employer is calling "another deliberate attack on press freedom."
Al Jazeera journalists Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy will return to prison after the ruling and colleague Peter Greste was sentenced though he had been deported earlier this year. "It is a dark day for the Egyptian judiciary," Al Jazeera's statement continued. "Rather than defend liberties and a free and fair media, they have compromised their independence for political reasons."
The media network called for the release of its journalists, as well as urging "everyone to continue the fight for freedom of speech, for the right of people to be informed and for the right of journalists around the world to be able to do their job."
The men, according to Al Jazeera News, had been accused of not registering with Egypt's journalist syndicate, bringing equipment into the country without approval, broadcasting false information and using a hotel as a broadcasting point without permission.
ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Tropical Storm Erika dissipated Saturday morning as it pushed over Hispaniola and Cuba.
As the storm was moving towards Cuba, it dissipated due to higher terrain and unfavorable atmospheric conditions. The National Hurricane Center canceled all tropical storm watches and warnings related to the storm at about 9 a.m.
Before losing strength, Erika caused widespread devastation on the small Caribbean island of Dominica, killing at least 20 people and leaving more missing.
"The extent of the devastation is monumental. It is far worse than expected,” Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said in a statement Friday. "We have, in essence, to rebuild Dominica."
The main impacts to Florida will likely be heavy rain and breezy winds during the early portion of next week.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm's expected approach late Sunday.
Underground galleries, part of Nazi Germany 'Riese' construction project are pictured under the Ksiaz castle in the area where the 'Nazi gold train' is supposedly hidden underground, on August 28, 2015 in Walbrzych, Poland JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images(WARSAW, Poland) -- A radar image and a deathbed confession may be the final pieces of the puzzle in solving the mystery of a gold-filled Nazi train that may have gone missing in Poland during World War II.
A German military train rumored to be filled with gold and weapons went missing near Walbrzych, Poland, in 1945, and fortune-hunters have searched for it for decades.
BBC News quotes the deputy mayor of Walbrzych, a town near where the train is believed to be, saying that "the find is within our administrative borders."
In a statement earlier in the week, Poland's Deputy Cultural Minister Piotr Zuchowski urged treasure hunters not to seek out the train, due to concern over hazardous substances and possible booby traps.