Infinite Menus, Copyright 2006, OpenCube Inc. All Rights Reserved.
WSAR Listen Live
Fox Sports Radio every weekend on WSAR
Tony From the Right Saturdays at 11
The World According to Dr. Mike Monday through Thursday 9 to 11 AM
All About Cars Saturday at 9am on WSAR
Tuesdays: Law Talk 1, Crusin with Bill 2
Alan Combs and America Overnight Weeknights at 10
Total Life Conditioning with Dr Ross Thursdays at 1
The WSAR Newsroom Weekdays at Noon
Fridays: Ask Your Pharmacist 1, Arts & Entertainment 2
Lars Larson Weeknights at 6
Wednesdays: Voice of Business 1, C U Wednesdays 2
People on Education; A Service of People Inc Friday at 11am on WSAR
The Financial Planning Hour with Richard Bassett Mondays at 1pm
Everything Auto Sundays at Noon brought to you by Mike's Auto Body
Voice of Business with Rob Mellion Wednesdays at 1pm
Rapid Fire with Ric Oliveira Monday through Thursday 4 to 6, Friday 3 to 6
The Sixth Floor Report Fridays at 9 AM
The Ray Mitchell Show Monday through Thursday 11 to Noon
The Third Degree with Chris Carreiro Monday through Thursday 3 to 4
Innovation Southcoast In Cooperation with UMass Dartmouth Thursday at 2pm
Celtics and Charlotte Saturday at 6:30pm; tip at 7pm on WSAR
Patriots and Bills Sunday on WSAR; Pregame at 10am; Kickoff at 1pm
Subscribe To This Feed

DMITRY KOSTYUKOV/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A Russian fighter jet flew a half mile from a large coalition aircraft flying over Syria 10 days ago, the U.S. military disclosed Friday.

The encounter was close enough that the coalition aircraft was able to feel the Russian jet's wake, officials said. Coalition officials stressed that the encounter was not intentional and an example of why the United States and Russia maintain a communications channel to discuss air safety over Syria.

"From my understanding, two aircraft, one Russian and one coalition, came within a half a mile of each other," Colonel John Dorrian, the U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said in a video link with Pentagon reporters Friday. "The Russian aircraft was a fighter jet and the coalition aircraft was a larger framed aircraft."

Dorrian did not disclose the type of coalition aircraft involved in the incident that occurred the night of Oct. 17.

"The Russian jet passed in front of the coalition jet close enough that the jet wash from that flight was felt in the larger aircraft," Dorrian said. "That's closer than we'd like."

The pilots of the two aircraft contacted each other immediately, Dorrian said, and the incident was dealt with the next day through the de-confliction channel set up with Russia to discuss air safety over Syria.

The coalition has determined that the Russian flight pattern was not done "with nefarious intent," Dorrian said.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, was informed of the incident shortly after it occurred.

Dorrian said the incident was not disclosed to the public at the time it occurred because the de-confliction channel with Russia is "not designed for public disclosure." Its purpose is to prevent incidents from escalating and is "really more intended to keep the temperature down between us and the Russians in that very crowded and confused, at times, battle space," Dorrian said.

The incident was first mentioned in a press interview done Friday with the Air Force general based in Qatar who is running the coalition's air campaign against ISIS.

Lt. General Jeffrey Harrigian mentioned the incident to reporters to highlight the importance of keeping a line of communication open with Russia in order to prevent miscalculation and misunderstanding in the complex airspace over Syria.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For 26 years, a tropical paradise has been home to one of the world's scariest and most exhilarating landings in the world. On Friday, that era came to an end.

The last KLM Boeing 747 touched down in St. Maarten at 11:03 a.m. ET Friday.

Since 1990, Dutch airline KLM has served beach goers hair-raising landings as their jumbo jets soared at low altitudes over the sandy coast and onto the runways at Princess Juliana International Airport.

Going forward, the route to St. Maarten will be served by Airbus A330s, seating 243 passengers, as oppose to the 408 passengers that fit into the Boeing 747.

The flight from Amsterdam used to make a stop to drop off passengers in Curacao in addition to St. Maarten.

After Friday, Curacao and St. Maarten will be served independently, without any intermediate stopovers.

The Curacao route will still use a Boeing 747.

Flying the route directly to St. Maarten will save passengers over four hours in traveling time, a spokeswoman for KLM told ABC News.

KLM will now fly three direct flights a week from Amsterdam to St. Maarten and seven to Curacao.

Aviation enthusiasts have dubbed the experience as one of the world's scariest landings and will likely be lamenting the end of an era.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An international coalition of countries agreed on Friday to create the world's largest marine sanctuary, setting aside nearly 600,000 square miles of ocean near Antarctica for conservation and scientific study.

The agreement includes 24 countries as well as the European Union and divides the protected area in the Ross Sea into zones that will allow different levels of activity. More than 70 percent of the protected area will be a "no-take" zone, with no fishing allowed. Other sections will permit some harvesting of fish and krill for scientific research.

"The Ross Sea Region marine protected area (MPA) will safeguard one of the last unspoiled ocean wilderness areas on the planet -- home to unparalleled marine biodiversity and thriving communities of penguins, seals, whales, seabirds, and fish," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement.

"This decision represents an almost unprecedented level of international cooperation regarding a large marine ecosystem," said Andrew Wright, executive secretary of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

The Ross Sea is a 1.9 million-square mile, horseshoe-shaped body of water that sits off the coast of Antarctica. It is considered one of the last truly wild stretches of ocean on the planet, and is home to unique species such as the colossal squid, the toothfish, a large portion of the global population of Adélie and emperor penguins and Weddell seals, as well as half of the world's killer whales.

The U.S. and New Zealand first proposed the protected area in 2011, and the countries involved have been negotiating the details ever since. The new agreement takes effect in December of 2017.

"It has been well worth the wait because there is now agreement among all members that this is the right thing to do and they will all work towards the MPA's successful implementation," Wright said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The real identities of American spies operating under cover abroad have been found in the mountain of information allegedly pilfered by a former National Security Agency contractor, a security breach that could endanger their lives, U.S. officials said Thursday.

In a new court filing, prosecutors said the enormous amount of information stolen by Harold Martin -- equivalent of an estimated 500 million pages -- "includes numerous names of intelligence officers of the United States."

"These officers operate under cover outside the U.S., and putting the secrecy of their identities at risk by removing information about those identities from appropriate, secure storage not only endangers the lives and safety of those officers and the individuals with whom they work, but also risks exposure of American intelligence operations," prosecutors wrote in the filing. "Additionally, numerous intelligence sources and methods for highly sensitive intelligence operations would be rendered nearly useless should they fall into the wrong hands."

Prosecutors were arguing against Martin's defense team, which wanted a Maryland judge to reconsider a recent ruling that Martin be held in custody until trial. A judge ruled last week that the former longtime contractor was a flight risk, should he be freed on bail.

Martin, a Navy veteran, was arrested in late August after FBI agents discovered a treasure trove of government documents and data, in stacks of paper and on removable data storage devices, strewn around his house, car and in an outdoor shed, according to court documents. It was a theft, prosecutors said, "that is breathtaking in its longevity and scale."

Martin had worked in various contracting jobs for the U.S. government since the mid-1990s. The material he allegedly stole included some documents marked Secret, Top Secret and in some cases Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI), the highest classification level.

The CIA, the most prominent of American intelligence organizations whose officers work under cover abroad, declined to comment on whether the agency has taken any additional precautions in the wake of the recent revelations.

Martin has been charged with counts related to the theft of government property and the removal of classified material, but prosecutors said in a previous court filing they expect additional charges under the Espionage Act could be forthcoming.

Martin's defense has painted him as a patriot, who deeply loves his country, but who suffers from mental issues that have led him to be a hoarder. Online postings and public academic work apparently by Martin indicate he was deeply involved in the technical world of computer security, and Martin allegedly told investigators he was taking his work home with him only to improve his own knowledge and skills.

But prosecutors apparently see something more sinister and have noted in court filings that Martin communicated with people online in languages other than English, including Russian, and that it appeared Martin was learning Russian in the weeks before his arrest. They also point to several firearms that Martin purportedly purchased and hid from his wife, including one he allegedly stashed in his car.

"If the Defendant stole this classified material for his own edification, as he has claimed, there would be no reason to keep some of it in his car, and arm himself as though he were trafficking in dangerous contraband," prosecutors argued last week.

The filing also comes as Booz Allen Hamilton, the defense contractor for whom Martin worked, announced on Thursday it had requested an external security review of its practices, to be led by former FBI director Robert Mueller.

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who stole another huge cache of data in 2013 -- though far less than Martin is alleged to have taken -- was also a Booz Allen employee.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images(PARIS) -- The Bataclan concert hall in Paris -- where three French nationals of Algerian descent slaughtered 90 people in the name of ISIS on Nov. 13, 2015 -- has removed scaffolding and unveiled its new facade ahead of the tragedy's one-year anniversary.

After months of renovations, the venue's new red-letter logo has been revealed.

The attack at Bataclan was one of several coordinated attacks that day in Paris by Islamic extremists that killed 130 people.

A commemoration ceremony will be held at the concert hall on Nov. 13, attended by the victims' families, the mayor's office said.

The Bataclan will reopen three days later on Nov. 16 with a performance by British singer Pete Doherty.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Alexander Marquardt/ABC News(MAR MATTAI MONASTERY, Iraq) -- Nestled into the side of Mount Alfaf, the imposing Mar Mattai monastery looks down onto the barren valley of the Nineveh plain. On a clear day, the monks who live there can see the lights from Mosul 15 miles away. But these days, the sky is hazy with smoke from oil well fires set by ISIS and the fighting to re-take Iraq’s second-biggest city from the terror group.

As ISIS swept through northern Iraq in the summer of 2014, the six Syriac Orthodox monks and their bishop prepared for the 1,600-year-old monastery to be overrun. They quickly packed up their most valuable items, texts and manuscripts, and sent them deeper into Kurdish Iraqi territory for safekeeping.

They watched as ISIS took over Christian towns nearby, ransacking churches and driving thousands from their homes. As militants came within three miles, occupying the village of Bashiqa, they did what their predecessors have done for centuries and braced for the invaders.

“We think if they harm us, it’s a reward,” said Father Joseph Ibrahim, referring to martyrdom.

But Kurdish peshmerga forces stopped the ISIS advance and the monastery was spared. Those same forces now guard the stone gate at the bottom of the monastery’s steep, winding driveway. They were ordered to be stationed there by the president of Iraq’s Kurdistan region, Masoud Barzani, and threatened with execution should anything happen to the monastery, Father Joseph said.

Long a destination for Iraqi and foreign pilgrims, Christian families from the area sought sanctuary at Mar Mattai, named for Saint Matthew. Most of them have now moved on, either into Kurdistan or abroad. But one family remains: three adult siblings and their sick mother from Mosul.

“We are never going back, we cannot,” one sister said, describing neighbors and friends they knew for decades who became ISIS supporters when the fighters took over the city.

Father Joseph, clad in the monks' long black robes and embroidered hood, agrees that the religious and ethnic diversity Mosul was once known for is likely lost forever. His brother was murdered in Mosul in 2006 for being Christian.

“ISIS spent two years to wash the minds of the people there,” he said, “so they have a great hostility.”

In the push to re-take Mosul, Iraqi forces have liberated the nearby Christian village of Bartella from ISIS and are fighting to expel militants from Qaraqosh, once the biggest Christian town in Iraq. But it remains to be seen whether residents return, amid a mass exodus of Iraqi Christians that has seen their numbers drop by over one million since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

“What we see is a bigger plan to empty the Middle East of Christians,” Father Joseph argued. But his own future at the monastery, and in Iraq, is not in doubt.

“[I] may be the last one,” he laughed.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Photo by Abdulganhi Arian/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(HAAS, Syria) -- A fourth-grade girl known for her intelligence and who was her parents' only child was among more than three dozen people, including 15 children, killed by airstrikes in a school compound in Syria on Wednesday.

The parents of the girl, Bisan Khaled al-Farahat, had trouble conceiving and tried for years before she was born, residents of the village of Haas south of Idlib told ABC News.

“The whole neighborhood knows her, and we were all very affected when we learned of her death,” Ayham Abdullah Alsheekh, a local resident who knows the family, told ABC News. “She was very clever. She was maybe 10 years old, but mentally much older. Everyone liked her and she was spoiled.”

On Thursday, he visited her parents to pay his condolences.

“The father especially was very affected by the death of his daughter. It seemed like he was barely conscious or like he had lost his mind. When you spoke to him it was impossible to understand what he was saying,” Alsheekh said.

Several other sources confirmed that Bisan was among those killed. A member of the Syrian Civil Defense in Idlib corroborated details that villagers gave about her.

At least 36 civilians were killed in the airstrikes, including 15 schoolchildren and four teachers, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and local sources. Four people remain missing, the Observatory said.

Eyewitnesses said the airstrikes targeted an area near schools Wednesday morning. Once residents heard of the attack they rushed out to help and check on their children. That’s when more bombs were dropped from the air, causing the death toll to rise, according to both the Observatory and locals.

“When the first rocket hit, no one was hurt. But the students got scared and wanted to go home so they went outside. Their parents and people who wanted to help went to the area of the schools. Then more rockets fell, and people were killed. I saw bodies on fire and people who were completely burned,” Alsheekh said.

Alsheekh said that after the first blast his cousin went to check on his two children who are 2nd- and 4th-graders. The children survived. The father was killed, leaving behind his pregnant wife and three children.

Among other victims at the school were a brother and sister plus a child who was the only boy among a poor family's 10 children, said Alsheekh.

Ahmad Bakr al-Rahmoun, an ambitious and studious boy who wanted to become an engineer, also lost his life, said Qusai Alhussein, a media activist from a neighboring village who visited Haas immediately after the attack.

“He wanted to work to help support his family, but his mom wouldn’t let him because he was a bright student,” Alhussein told ABC News. “He was very well-behaved and shy.”

When Alhussein arrived at the area of the attack he said he saw a whole neighborhood damaged. Members of the civil defense were trying to rescue people buried under rubble. Near the school, he saw children’s limbs and notebooks soaked in blood.

“We were all very surprised that the attack happened on this neighborhood, which is full of civilians,” said Alhussein. “There are schools in the neighborhood and no weapons or members of the Free Syrian Army.”

Two scenes affected him most, he said. One, a woman who was seriously wounded and buried under the rubble telling the civil defense to leave her and help her children who had lighter injuries. Another was at the hospital, a boy who had completely lost his leg above the knee wasn't crying, but waiting silently to be treated by the busy doctors.

“He seemed like he was in complete shock,” Alhussein said of the boy. ABC News has seen a photo of the child gazing at the camera, his leg mangled.

On Thursday, there were new reports of attacks on Syrian schools in Douma and western Aleppo, which means that five schools have now been hit in Syria since Oct. 11, according to UNICEF. The U.N. envoy for education called Wednesday's attack a war crime and said the International Criminal Court should immediately investigate.

“I am calling on the Security Council to immediately agree that the International Criminal Court Prosecutor conduct an investigation into what I believe is a war crime -- with the intention that, if proven, the perpetrators will be hunted down and the case against them prosecuted,” U.N. Special Envoy for Education Gordon Brown told a press conference at the United Nations in New York.

Brown said the incident is the worst of 98 separate attacks on Syrian schools in the last two years.

Abd Jamalo, a media activist from Idlib who witnessed the aftermath of Wednesday's airstrikes, said he felt disappointed with the international community when he walked around and saw the victims.

“When I arrived at the area -- what I saw -- the civil defense and the blood and the massacre of children -- and when I went to the hospital and saw the scenes -- you don’t know what to say in that situation,” Jamalo told ABC News. “Where is the international community, where is the U.N., where are the humanitarian organizations? This affects us a lot as a people.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Turkey's justice minister said Thursday his government is determined to extradite Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish cleric residing in Pennsylvania whom the government blames for orchestrating a failed military coup in July.

“Just imagine that there was an assassination attempt on President Obama and his family, where the White House was bombed ... tanks were marching the streets ... 241 U.S. civilians were killed and around 3,000 were wounded. Just imagine that scenario," the Honorable Bekir Bozdag said. "Just imagine that the manager and the perpetrator of all this was residing in Turkey. What would the American people think about such a situation?”

The Gulen movement is designated as a terrorist organization inside Turkey and Bozdag equated the group’s leader to Osama bin Laden. “Whatever Osama bin Laden means for the United States and the American people, Fethullah Gulen means the same for Turkey and the Turkish people.”

Bozdag appeared frustrated as he spoke with members of the press -- for almost two hours with translation -- at the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C., this morning, declaring outright that the prolonged extradition process is “negatively” affecting U.S.-Turkish relations.

Bozdag met in D.C. on Wednesday with U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch -- and a readout of the meeting provided by the Department of Justice hinted at the biggest hurdle in this process: evidence. In order to extradite Gulen, Turkey “must meet the evidentiary standards of the requested country,” the readout said, suggesting that Turkey had yet to do that.

But Bozdag said Turkey presented new evidence to Lynch on Wednesday. He spoke specifically about an alleged confession to Turkish investigators that wiretaps of senior government officials were being transmitted to Gulen in Pennsylvania.

When Bozdag was asked about the crackdown inside Turkey following the coup, he said the government “purge” or “cleansing” of the opposition is not necessarily over. He said that no journalists inside Turkey are being arrested simply for doing their jobs. Many of them are murderers, he said.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Turkey has closed more than 100 news outlets since the coup and has raided and shut the offices of two newspapers, and detained over 100 journalists and media workers.

Bozdag also denied allegations that prisoners are being tortured, saying their lawyers are welcome to make those claims publicly.

Gulen has led a mostly reclusive life in the U.S., where he's based at the Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Center, a compound located in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania. He has denied any involvement in the attempted coup and blamed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, suggesting that it could have been “staged” by the government.

Bozdag was firm that this diplomatic rift will not get in the way of the U.S. and Turkish alliance against ISIS. But it’s clear, months after the attempted coup, Turkey has not forgotten about Gulen.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

the_guitar_mann/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) --  Plans are underway to launch an offensive in "weeks" to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIS, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said.

That timing would overlap with the large Iraqi military offensive already under way to push ISIS out of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The simultaneous offensives would put ISIS on the defensive in the two main cities it controls in Iraq and Syria.

U.S. military officials have said that defeating ISIS in Mosul and Raqqa will deal significant blows to the militant group.

Seized by ISIS in January 2014, Raqqa has become ISIS's capital inside Syria and a magnet for foreign fighters. Residents have had to endure a brutal regime as the terror group routinely carries out public executions to enforce its oppressive rules.

The city has also become the center of ISIS's overseas terror plotting, with many terror attacks in western Europe tied to Raqqa. That is one reason why the top U.S. military commander in Iraq said Wednesday that it was "imperative" to move on Raqqa quickly to head off any current terror planning on Western targets.

The city of Raqqa, also known as al-Raqqah and ar-Raqqah, is in northern Syria on the banks of the Euphrates River about 50 miles south of the border with Turkey. Before the start of the civil war in Syria, the provincial capital was believed to have a population of 220,000.

The mostly Sunni Arab city also had minority populations of Alawites and Christians that fled the city after ISIS seized control in early 2014.

The city has also seen an influx of foreign fighters, ISIS supporters and their families drawn to the capital of ISIS's self-proclaimed caliphate.

The residents that remained have endured oppressive rules on dress codes and bans on foreign contacts that are enforced with brutal public executions and lashings.

The brutality of life inside the city has been documented by a secret group of activists known as Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently.

Raqqa first gained notoriety as the site of the horrific executions of American and Western hostages by the ISIS fighter known as Jihadi John.

The high-profile terror attacks in Paris, Brussels and Turkey that were carried out by ISIS sympathizers originated in Raqqa, according to intelligence officials.

Given its importance in ISIS's infrastructure, the city has often been the target of coalition airstrikes targeting key ISIS facilities and multiple ISIS leaders, including Jihadi John, who was killed by a drone strike in November 2015, according to U.S. officials.

Who Will Conduct the Offensive Against Raqqa?

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said this week that planning is underway with the anti-ISIS coalition's partners inside Syria to begin the isolation of Raqqa.

The partners Carter is referring to are the Syrian Democratic Forces, a collection of 30,000 mostly Kurdish groups in eastern and northern Syria working together to fight ISIS. The group has become the most reliable coalition partner fighting ISIS inside Syria, taking back a large swath of northern Syria, including the cities of Kobani, Manbij and Jarabulus from ISIS.

Three-hundred American special operations forces are inside Syria assisting and advising the Syrian Democratic Forces, as well as some of the Turkish military forces that are now operating in northern Syria. They are not supposed to be on the front lines but the role they play in advising the forces they are embedded with could place them in a combat environment, according to U.S. officials.

The battlefield success of the Syrian Democratic Forces has drawn concerns from Turkey, which does not want to see a strong Kurdish military force along its borders, particularly one that has been aligned with the PKK, the Kurdish terror group inside Turkey. Because of that, it appears that it will be the Syrian Arab groups within the Syrian Democratic Force that will be the main force attacking Raqqa.

Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, told Pentagon reporters Wednesday that he expects the fight to retake Raqqa to be slower than the offensive on Mosul, which by some estimates could last a few months.

Townsend explained that the fight in Raqqa would be challenging because of the complicated battlefield in Syria, where the Russian military is supporting the Bashar al-Assad regime against rebel forces in western Syria. Turkey has moved in ground forces to northern Syria and the U.S. must rely on the loosely organized Syrian Democratic Forces as its main partner in the fight against ISIS. Though coalition air power will play a large role in supporting an offensive on Raqqa, it is likely that the number of American special operations advisers in Syria will not be increased.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Scientists began using one of the largest telescopes on the planet Wednesday night to closely observe a "very strange star" some 1,480 light-years away for signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life.

Researchers with the Breakthrough Listen project, a $100 million research venture launched last year and backed by physicist Stephen Hawking, started using Earth's largest fully steerable radio telescope to try and detect signals of extraterrestrial life from a star known as KIC 8462852, and often referred to as "Tabby's star," after Tabetha Boyajian, a physics and astronomy professor at Louisiana State University who first reported the bizarre phenomenon around the star in September 2015.

"It is basically a very weird star, it is a very strange star. What this star showed is something very, very large and very, very dark appeared to be passing between us and the star. It's not a planet because we know that it is not round and it doesn't orbit at a fixed period," Andrew Siemion, director of the University of California Berkeley SETI Research Center and co-director of Breakthrough Listen, said of Tabby's star in a video the group released explaining their new project.

Tabby's star has attracted the attention of scientists over the past year because of its irregular dimming, which has caused some researchers to speculate that it hosts a "highly advanced civilization capable of building orbiting megastructures to capture the star’s energy," researchers with U.C. Berkeley's SETI Research Center said in a statement.

Researchers will use the Green Bank Telescope in Green Bank, West Virginia, the largest fully steerable radio telescope on the planet, for eight hours every night for the next two months to monitor Tabby's star.

Siemion added in a statement that "it’s the largest, most sensitive telescope that’s capable of looking at Tabby’s star given its position in the sky.”

The likelihood that the unusual dimming from the star is being caused by an advanced alien civilization harnessing the star's energy is "a one in a billion chance," Dan Werthimer, chief scientist at Berkeley SETI said in a statement. "But nevertheless, we’re going to check it out.”

“But I think that ET, if it’s ever discovered, it might be something like that," Werthimer added. "It’ll be some bizarre thing that somebody finds by accident."

It will take more than a month for scientists to analyze the data for patterns in the radio emissions and know the results from the observations, researchers said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

NASA(NEW YORK) -- New images released by NASA show a dangerous sulfur plume moving across northern Iraq in the wake of the battle to retake Mosul.

As the Iraq military announced its operation to capture Mosul, which has been under ISIS control for over two years, ISIS set fire to the Al-Mishraq sulfur plant and Qayyarah oil field south of the city in an effort to provide cover from coalition airstrikes.

NASA said its ozone monitoring instruments detected a large sulfur dioxide plume dispersing across northern and central Iraq as early as last week. Initially, that sulfur dioxide was in lower parts of the atmosphere, but the plume has now reached higher into the atmosphere due to shifting winds.

“In the first few days, the fire did not appear to be particularly energetic and our preliminary observations suggest that much of the sulfur dioxide remained in the boundary layer and the lower troposphere, which accentuates the impact on air quality and health,” said Simon Carn, an atmospheric scientist at Michigan Tech. ”More recently, sulfur dioxide has been lofted to higher altitudes where it may undergo long-range transport.”

Growing concentrations of sulfur dioxide can impair breathing and even be life threatening. Al Jazeera reported that two people have already died from breathing in the sulfur, and hundreds have been taken to a nearby hospital with respiratory problems.

Civilians south of Mosul who were interviewed by al-Mawsleya TV wore masks and scarves to cover their faces from the toxic gas.

As a precautionary measure, the U.S. military said Saturday it has taken air samples to analyze the smoke. Coalition personnel at Camp Swift and Qayyarah West Airfield, about 50 miles south of Mosul, have been directed to limit their outdoor activity, and some have voluntarily chosen to wear protective gas masks, according to a military press release.

The coalition has also provided 24,000 "protective" chemical masks to Iraqi and Kurdish troops as they continue to push toward Mosul.

“The coalition is trained. We’ve trained the [Iraqis] and peshmerga; they’ve got equipment,” Army Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq, said in the release. “We’re confident that as the enemy attempt to use a lot of means -- not just chemicals -- we’re targeting the training with the Iraqis and with the coalition to make sure we’re mitigating any risk of that threat.”

Even so, the emissions from the sulfur plant have been enormous. Atmospheric scientist Simon Carn tweeted that if the sulfur dioxide was released from a volcano instead of the plant, it would already be among the largest eruptions of 2016.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(ROME) -- Thousands of people fled their homes in a panic as a series of strong quakes struck central Italy on Wednesday night, the same area devastated by an August temblor that killed nearly 300 people.

A magnitude 5.5 quake first struck Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. local time near the town of Sellano, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said. Just over two hours later, at 9:18 p.m., a second, stronger 6.1 magnitude temblor rattled the same area, this time centered near the town of Visso.

Thousands of people remained out of doors through the night, many in their cars, as a series of seven aftershocks of magnitude 4 or greater -- all clustered around the same area -- kept the ground trembling in the hours that followed.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

TERTIUS PICKARD/AFP/Getty Images(QUEENSLAND, Australia) -- A theme park in Australia has cancelled its planned reopening this weekend after police said that having guests inside the park could interfere with their investigation into the accident that killed four people on Tuesday, 9 News Australia reported.

"Postponing the service will give the Queensland Police Service the time it needs to conduct this investigation," the park, Dreamworld Australia, said in a statement.

Two women, aged 42 and 32, and two men, aged 38 and 35, were killed Tuesday after a raft on the Thunder River Rapids ride at the amusement park on Queensland’s Gold Coast turned over on its conveyor belt, police said. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

“We are deeply shocked and saddened by today’s accident,” the park said in a statement following the incident. “Our hearts and thoughts go to the families involved and their loved ones.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The global population of wildlife has declined drastically since 1970, suffering a drop of 58 percent between 1970 and 2012, according to a new report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London.

The overall number of vertebrates -- a group that includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish -- has dropped dramatically as a result of human activity, the conservation groups say, with animals living in the freshwater systems showing the greatest decline, at 81 percent. The groups' bi-annual Living Planet report found that wildlife in the world's oceans dropped by 36 percent while on land the population numbers fell by 38 percent.

If current trends continue, the groups say, more than two-thirds of all global wildlife will be in decline by 2020.

“For the first time since the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, we face a global mass extinction of wildlife," said Mike Barrett, director of science and policy at WWF-UK.

The study blames human activities including deforestation, pollution, overfishing and the illegal wildlife trade as well as climate change for pushing species to the edge. The biggest culprit, according to the WWF, is habitat loss and degradation caused mainly by the global food system.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Mike63/iStock/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- The top U.S. military commander in Iraq said today it is "imperative" to retake Raqqah, the de facto capital for ISIS in Syria, because of the potential for overseas terror plots. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in Paris today that the operation to free ISIS could begin in weeks and overlap with the current Iraqi military offensive in Mosul.

"We think there's an imperative to get isolation in place around Raqqah because our intelligence feeds tell us that there is significant external operations attacks planning going on, emanating central in -- centralized in Raqqah,” Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend told Pentagon reporters via a video link from Baghdad.

"We know they're up to something," he continued. "And it’s an external plot. We don't know exactly where, we don't know exactly when."

He cited the recent capture of the Syrian town of Manbij where "we found links to individuals and plot streams to France, the United States, other European countries." Located a few miles south of the border with Turkey, Manbij was a key ISIS location for foreign fighters coming in and out of Syria.

"So we know that this is going on in Raqqah, as well. And so I think that's why it's necessary to get down there to Raqqah," Townsend added. "We know that it's a focal point of ISIL external operations, planning, plotting.”

ISIL is another acronym used to describe ISIS.

He described "a sense of urgency about what we have to do here because we're just not sure what they're up to, and where, and when. But we know that this plot planning is emanating from Raqqah.”

Carter indicated that an offensive on Raqqah could begin in a matter of weeks and would coincide with the Mosul offensive currently being undertaken by the Iraqi military.

"We've begun laying the groundwork with our partners to commence the isolation of Raqqah," said Carter. "As we meet here, we're hoping to generate the local forces that will do so."

In Syria, 300 American Special Operations forces have been advising the Syrian Democratic Front (SDF) in the fight against ISIS. The force of 30,000 is mainly made up of Kurdish forces, but also has a sizable Syrian Arab contingent known as the Syrian Arab Coalition.

The idea of Kurdish forces potentially being used in an offensive on Raqqah is a sensitive matter for Turkey, which is wary of a strong Kurdish military presence on its border.

Townsend said talks are underway with Turkey about its possible role in the Raqqah operation and particularly about what role Syrian Kurds will play in Raqqah.

Given those sensitivities, Townsend said the isolation of Raqqah would be primarily undertaken by the Syrian Arab forces aligned with the Syrian Democratic Forces. Townsend believes there are currently enough of those forces available to begin encircling the city in the near future.

But he anticipates that the battle for Raqqah will take longer than the current battle for Mosul given that the anti-ISIS partners in Syria do not have the resourcing available to the Iraqi military. He added that the 300 American military advisers in Syria will also have a light footprint as part of a Raqqah operation.

According to Townsend, the timing of the offensive to retake Raqqah was not precipitated by the potential of an overseas terror plot.

“We want to pressure Raqqah so that the enemy doesn't have a convenient place to go," said Townsend.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.








Organization of the Month

BKs Beacon Tavern






     Copyright WSAR

LinkedUpRadio Envisionwise Web Services