Talks between Sudan’s warring sides fall apart

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(LONDON) — Negotiations between Sudan’s warring parties fell apart Wednesday as both sides accused each other of cease-fire violations.

ABC News has reached out to the Sudanese Armed Forces for comment.

There was no immediate comment Saudi Arabia or the United States, which have been mediating the talks.

In response to the military’s move, the Rapid Support Forces said in a statement that it “unconditionally backs the Saudi-U.S. inititive” and the “recent SAF violations have not deterred us from honoring our commitments.”

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North Korea satellite launch fails, with another promised as ‘soon as possible’

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(SEOUL, South Korea) — North Korea acknowledged on Wednesday its failure to launch a military spy satellite, an attempt that U.S. officials called a “brazen violation” of U.N. resolutions.

After admitting the failure in an unusually short time, North Korea’s state news agency reported that a second launch attempt will be made as soon as possible.

The satellite crashed into the West Sea as it lost its thrust due to an abnormality in the start of the two-stage mover after the first stage was separated during a normal flight, according to state media.

The satellite essentially blew up in the air, an embarrassment for Kim Jong Un’s government, a senior U.S. official told ABC News. North Korea said in 2018 that it put a satellite into space, but international analysts later said that wasn’t true.

Citizens in Seoul, South Korea received a “presidential alert” phone message early on Wednesday morning, shortly after the satellite launch, from the Seoul Metropolitan Government which noted that “all citizens should be ready to evacuate.”

Twenty-two minutes later, the Ministry of Interior and Safety in charge of sending disaster alerts across the country sent another alert noting that the initial message to Seoul was “an erroneous alert.”

Another 22 minutes later, Seoul Metropolitan Government clarified that their earlier message was due to a “North Korean missile launch” and “the alert has been lifted.”

Some citizens whose phones’ operating systems were set up in English received messages titled “wartime alert,” which sent jitters across the foreign community.

The confusing alert messages from the city and the government raised criticisms over whether the authorities were overreacting or actively administering.

“Unlike North Korea’s usual launch into the East Sea, the Seoul Metropolitan Government, which is responsible for the safety of 10 million citizens in the situation of launching south this time, decided that immediate action is necessary and issued an alert,” Oh Se-hoon, the mayor of Seoul, said.

“South Korean people are not trained nor have they been carrying out drills to prepare for such attacks. The problem is, cases like this will most likely happen again more frequently,” Park Jae Wan, professor of Security Strategy at Seoul-based Kookmin University in Seoul, told ABC News.

President Joe Biden and his national security team are assessing the launch in close coordination with allies and partners, according to National Security Council spokesperson Adam Hodge.

The launch used ballistic missile technology, “which is a brazen violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions, raises tensions, and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region and beyond,” Hodge said in a statement.

“We urge all countries to condemn this launch and call on the DPRK to come to the table for serious negotiations,” Hodge said. “The door has not closed on diplomacy but Pyongyang must immediately cease its provocative actions and instead choose engagement.”

South Korea’s military retrieved parts of North Korea’s satellite wreckage from the sea and plans to analyze the technology used in the projectile which North Korea claims to be a “satellite.”

North Korea’s National Space Development Administration is analyzing the cause of the accident.

Wednesday’s launch also prompted brief evacuation alerts in Japan.

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Young couple shot dead by their landlord over alleged tenant dispute, police say

Hamilton Police Service

(NEW YORK) — A young couple who were living together have been shot dead by their landlord following a dispute with the man who was 30 years their elder, police say.

Police in Hamilton, Canada, initially received a call at approximately 5:40 p.m. on Saturday evening and responded to a residence on Jones Road in Stoney Creek, Ontario — located 45 miles south of Toronto.

But when officers from the Hamilton Police Service arrived on site, they found two deceased victims — a 27-year-old female and a 28-year-old male who would later be identified by the Hamilton Police Service as Carissa MacDonald of Stoney Creek, but formerly of Huntsville, and Aaron Stone from Hamilton.

The suspect involved in the double homicide was the 57-year-old landlord who had allegedly committed the crime before police arrived, according to the Hamilton Police Service.

“The 57-year-old landlord barricaded himself in the residence with firearms that were registered to him. Hamilton Police Emergency Response Unit contained the area, while negotiators engaged in contact with the male in an attempt to peacefully resolve the incident,” police said. “At one point during the negotiations, the suspect fired at the Hamilton Police [armored] vehicle. The suspect later fired additional rounds, which resulted in an interaction with police.”

The threat was neutralized by the police and authorities say Special Investigations Unit was subsequently contacted and invoked their mandate over the investigation. It was unclear whether the suspect had been taken into custody alive.

Families of both victims have been notified, police said, and several witnesses have already been interviewed by the Homicide Unit and have been cooperative with the ongoing investigation as police continue to appeal for more witnesses.

Anybody with information is asked to contact Detective Robert DiIanni of the Hamilton Police Service at 905-546-3836.

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Passenger on Asiana flight speaks out

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(NEW YORK) — A passenger sitting next to the man on the Asiana Airlines flight who opened an emergency exit door in mid-air has spoken out about those terrifying moments on the plane.

Lee Yoon-Joon told the Yonhap News Agency that he initially didn’t have a good impression of his seatmate, claiming the man gave off a “bad vibe.”

After the man opened the door, Lee said he jumped into action, pulling the man back with the help of the flight attendants. Initially, they said they thought a mechanical malfunction had caused the door to open.

“Frankly speaking, I thought, ‘Am I going to die?'” Lee recalled. “A million things were on my mind at that moment.”

Lee said it became hard to breathe with the door open and the wind was like a “disaster movie.” Other passengers on the plane were crying, he said.

“I am an ordinary citizen and did what the flight attendant told me,” he added.

Dramatic video shows Lee, wearing red shorts, and his fellow passengers getting blasted by the high-speed wind through the open door in the final minutes of the flight.

“Air would be rushing by the airplane just outside,” Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who was not on the flight, told ABC News, speaking to what the passengers would have experienced once the door was opened. “At that speed, about 160 miles an hour, from all indications, that would be the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane-scale speed.”

Experts say the door was only able to open because of the plane’s altitude.

The plane, an Airbus A321-200, was about 700 feet above the ground as it prepared to land at Daegu International Airport in South Korea, Transport Ministry officials said. At cruising altitude, experts say, the pressure in the plane would have made it impossible to open the exit door.

Asiana Airlines said in a statement that it has since stopped selling emergency exit seats on certain planes as a safety precaution.

Twelve passengers on board were taken to the hospital for respiratory issues and other minor symptoms after the flight landed following the May 26 incident. They’ve since all been released.

Police said the suspect, who was arrested Sunday and faces up to 10 years in prison for violating aviation security laws, is “mentally struggling.” During preliminary questioning, the 33-year-old told police he felt like was suffocating and wanted to get off the plane quickly. The suspect had recently lost a job and was under stress when the incident occurred, according to police.

There were 194 people on board the aircraft, including a group of teenage athletes on their way to a track and field competition, according to Asiana Airlines.

Ahead of his court appearance, the suspect told reporters, “I’m really sorry to the kids.”

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Chinese jet carries out ‘aggressive’ maneuver in front of US military plane, officials say


(CHINA) — A Chinese J-16 jet fighter flew directly in front of an American surveillance plane flying in international airspace over the South China Sea last Friday, forcing the U.S. Air Force plane to fly through the fighter’s wake turbulence and causing the U.S. aircraft to shake.

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command labeled the Chinese intercept as “unprofessional” and “an unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” and released a video taken from inside the American plane’s cockpit that captured the incident.

“A People’s Republic of China J-16 fighter pilot performed an unnecessarily aggressive maneuver during the intercept of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft, May 26, 2023,” said a statement from U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

“The PRC pilot flew directly in front of the nose of the RC-135, forcing the U.S. aircraft to fly through its wake turbulence,” said the statement. “The RC-135 was conducting safe and routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace, in accordance with international law.”

The video released by INDOPACOM captured the moment that the Chinese fighter streaked across the American plane’s flight path at what a U.S. official said was a distance of 400 feet.

Taken from inside the RC-135’s cockpit, presumably by a crew member, the video also captured the moment when the reconnaissance aircraft flew through the wake turbulence causing the aircraft to shake.

American aircraft and ship transiting in the international airspace and waters in the South China Sea are routinely harassed by Chinese ships and aircraft. The American aircraft and warships transit through the region regularly to counter China’s broad territorial maritime claims.

The American statement reaffirmed that the “The United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate – safely and responsibly – wherever international law allows, and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Joint Force will continue to fly in international airspace with due regard for the safety of all vessels and aircraft under international law.”

“We expect all countries in the Indo-Pacific region to use international airspace safely and in accordance with international law,” it added.

A senior U.S. defense official speaking Tuesday about Friday’s incident to a small group of reporters expressed the belief that the Chinese harassment is coordinated and increasing in frequency.

“We don’t believe it’s done by pilots operating independently,” said the official. “We believe it’s part of a wider pattern we see in the South China Sea, the East China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, and elsewhere.”

The last such incident occurred on Dec. 21, 2022, when a PLA J-11 fighter pilot “performed an unsafe maneuver during an intercept of a U.S. Air force RC-135,” according to INDO-PACOM.

The official noted that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other U.S. officials have publicly voiced concern over what they say is an increase in unsafe incidents by Chinese military assets that could have the potential to create an unsafe incident or miscalculation.

The senior defense official said the U.S. would express its concerns about Friday’s incident “through the appropriate, established diplomatic and military channels.”

Austin is headed to Asia this week for meetings with regional defense leaders but he will not meet with his Chinese counterpart as China declined a U.S. offer for a meeting at an international security conference in Singapore.

The senior defense official said the timing of the U.S. military’s release of the video was not tied to that meeting but was instead “subject to the U.S. military declassification process and U.S. diplomatic communication process.”

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Several miners feared stuck in Ghana gold mine

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(LONDON) — Several artisanal miners are feared trapped in an underground gold mine shaft in the Ashanti region of Ghana.

Several illegal miners have reportedly entered AngloGold Ltd.’s Obuasi Mines in the Anwiam, Ashanti Region, searching for gold deposits. However, the miners found themselves unable to exit after the entrances were shut, officials said.

AngloGold Ashanti Ghana told ABC News it is aware of reports alleging that illegal miners may have been trapped in the northern areas of its mine.

“Obuasi Gold Mine’s management team has notified the relevant authorities and public security services and is working closely with them,” a statement from the company said.

Several illegal miners are reported to have been in the mine, according to local reports, with devastated family members of the miners telling local media that they have been unable to reach them for four days.

AngloGold tells ABC that seven illegal miners have thus far exited the mine and are currently in the custody of the Ghana Police Service.

“Intrusion of illegal miners into underground areas remains a significantly dangerous activity and AngloGold Ashanti Ghana is working alongside authorities to ensure that only authorized personnel and contractors can access underground work areas,” the company said in a statement.

AngloGold has denied any of the illegal miners are trapped or “confined in any way,” saying the main exit ramp — where security and police remain — is open.

“Unauthorised persons underground are able to exit on foot, via the existing ramp, through the main access of this mining area,” AngloGold’s statement said.

AngloGold Ltd. Is the world’s fourth-largest gold producer. According to AngloGold, its Obuasi underground mine operation runs to a depth of 1,500 meters at its deepest point. It has produced 250koz of gold, with a workforce of 4,403 people, including contractors.

Studies have found that rising unemployment coupled with the lucrativeness of mining has led to an upsurge in miners, many of whom operate illegally as a means to earn a living. Gold mining is a lucrative revenue source for corporations and small-scale and artisanal miners alike. The artisanal and small-scale mining sector is estimated to employ up to 1 million people in Ghana.

According to Ghana’s Minerals and Mining Act, persons partaking in small-scale mining are required to obtain a license, however regulation of small-scale mining in Africa’s top gold-producing nation has been mostly unsuccessful, with research finding that over 85% of small-scale mining still occurs illegally. Poor regulation has also led to the occurrence of human rights violations in Ghana’s artisanal and small-scale mining trade such as child labor, according to the Human Rights Watch.

“Intrusion of illegal miners into underground areas remains a significantly dangerous activity and AngloGold Ashanti Ghana is working alongside authorities to ensure that only authorized mine personnel and contractors can access underground work areas,” AngloGold told ABC News.

ABC News reached out to Ghana’s Mineral Commission, who confirmed that incident was ongoing, but declined to comment further.

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Two Iranian journalists’ trials begin over coverage of woman’s death in police custody

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(LONDON) — Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Court on Tuesday opened the trial of Niloofar Hamedi, the first journalist in Iran who reported on Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody in September.

Hamedi’s report came ahead of spiraling mass protests across the country, posing one of the biggest threats against the Islamic regime in over four decades. She published a photo of Amini’s family in the hospital hallway hugging and mourning after hearing the news of their daughter’s passing. She was arrested a few days later on Sept. 22.

Hamedi faces charges including “Collaborating with the hostile government of the United States” and “conspiring to commit crimes against national security and propagandistic activity against the system,” Masoud Setayeshi, judiciary spokesperson, said on April 26.

Amini, 22, was on a trip to Tehran last September when the hijab police, called the “morality police,” arrested her for not wearing an outfit that fully matched the Sharia-based compulsory hijab laws of the country. She was taken into custody only to be announced dead at a hospital three days later, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency. Iran Human Rights reported that at least 537 people were killed in the ensuing protests and at least 22,000 people were arrested as IRNA confirmed.

Hamedi’s hearing on Tuesday was “private,” and family members were not allowed, her husband, Mohammad Hassan Ajurlou, tweeted.

“Niloofar denied all the accusations and emphasized that she performed her duties as a journalist within the framework of the law and did not take any action against Iran’s security,” he wrote, adding that Hamedi’s lawyers did not get a chance to defend her.

Another journalist, Elaheh Mohammadi, faces the same accusations as Hamedi for covering Amini’s funeral in Saqez, in northwestern Iran. Mohammadi’s trial opened on Monday. The two journalists have been in jail for over eight months.

One of Mohammadi’s lawyers, Shahab Mirlohi, listed unlawful treatment of his client during her arrest and the hearing process, including keeping her in solitary confinement for long periods of time and assigning the country’s revolutionary court for the hearing.

“In our opinion, the Revolutionary Court does not have the jurisdiction to hear this case, and the case should be heard publicly in a competent court (Criminal Court 1) with the presence of a jury,” Mirlohi said in an interview with the Iranian daily Hammihan Monday.

“No matter how many times we requested a chance to inform the court of our explanations, unfortunately, we were not granted any chance,” he added.

Talking about the atmosphere outside of the court building, one of Hamedi’s friends who was there told ABC News that the guards would not allow people to stay for more than a short time around the hearing time.

The friend, who did not want to share her name for security reasons, added that being upon being taken back to the prison, Hamedi managed to sneak a look outside and wave for her friends from behind the dark windows of the black Hyundai she was in.

The continuation of two journalists’ hearing proceedings was postponed to the next sessions, the date of which has not yet been announced.

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Major drone strike hits residential area of Moscow in apparent first

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(LONDON) — Several drones struck Moscow early on Tuesday, damaging residential buildings in the Russian capital, the mayor said.

The pre-dawn attack “caused minor damage to several buildings” in a residential area, according to Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin. Some residents were evacuated from their apartments due to “safety reasons” as first responders surveyed the damage, Sobyanin said.

“All municipal emergency services are currently at the scene of the incident,” the mayor wrote on his official Telegram channel. “They will find out the circumstances of what happened.”

It’s believed to be the first major drone strike on a residential area of Moscow.

No one was seriously injured in the attack, according to Sobyanin. Two people sought and received medical attention on site for unspecified injures but did not require hospitalization, the mayor said.

Russian emergency services told state news agency TASS that drone-like fragments were found around at least one of the buildings and that apartment windows were shattered on several floors.

Eight drones targeted Moscow, five of which were shot down while the other three were jammed, causing them to veer off course, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.

The rare attack came as Russia continues to wage war in neighboring Ukraine. The Russian defense ministry called Tuesday’s drone strike a “terrorist attack” by the “Kyiv regime” and said Moscow will react “as harshly as possible to the actions of Ukrainian militants.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday’s drone attack on Moscow was Kyiv’s retaliation against the effective Russian strikes “on a decision-making center” on Sunday.

On May 3, Russia accused Ukraine of attacking the Kremlin with drones. Russia later blamed the United States for the attack, a claim rejected by Washington.

Meanwhile, in recent days, Russia has launched a series of drone and missile attacks on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. At around 2 a.m. local time on Tuesday, Kyiv residents once again awoke to the sound of air raid sirens as dozens of Russian drones targeted the city for a third straight day.

Most of the drones were intercepted and shot down, but the fallen debris sparked fires that engulfed several cars, houses and residential buildings, according to Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko. At least one person was killed and 33 others were injured.

“If the Russians can make Kyiv a nightmare, why do the people of Moscow rest?” Klitschko said in a televised address on Tuesday.

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Drone attack damages residential buildings in Moscow, mayor says

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(LONDON) — Several drones struck Moscow early on Tuesday, damaging residential buildings in the Russian capital, the mayor said.

The attack “caused minor damage to several buildings” in a residential area, according to Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin. Some residents were evacuated from their apartments due to “safety reasons” as first responders surveyed the damage, Sobyanin said.

“All municipal emergency services are currently at the scene of the incident,” the mayor wrote on his official Telegram channel. “They will find out the circumstances of what happened.”

No one was seriously injured in the attack. Two people sought and received medical attention on site but did not require hospitalization, according to Sobyanin.

Russian emergency services told state news agency TASS that drone-like fragments were found around at least one of the buildings and that apartment windows were shattered on several floors.

Moscow Oblast Gov. Andrey Vorobyov said several drones were shot down as they approached the capital, according to TASS.

It’s believed to be the first major drone attack on a residential area of Moscow. The attack came as Russia continues to wage war in neighboring Ukraine.

On May 3, Russia accused Ukraine of attacking the Kremlin with drones. Russia later blamed the United States for the attack, a claim rejected by Washington.

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Natalee Holloway suspect beaten in Peruvian prison: Lawyer

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(NEW YORK) — Joran van der Sloot, the prime suspect in the unsolved 2005 disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway, has been severely beaten in Peruvian prison, his lawyer told ABC News on Monday.

Van der Sloot is awaiting extradition to the U.S. on extortion and wire fraud charges stemming from an accusation that he tried to profit from his connection to the Holloway case.

The Dutch citizen has been serving a 28-year sentence in Peru for the 2010 murder of 21-year-old college student Stephany Flores.

Van der Sloot’s Peruvian attorney, Maximo Altez, said he doesn’t believe the beating was related to the upcoming extradition. It may, however, be connected to gang rules inside of the Challapalca Prison, where he’s being held, Altez said.

Van der Sloot is currently in the prison’s medical aisle, Altez said, adding that he’s asking the Peruvian Justice Ministry to transfer him to another prison as soon as possible.

Holloway, 18, went missing in May 2005 while on a graduation trip to Aruba with her Alabama high school classmates. She was last seen driving off with a group of young men, including van der Sloot, then 17.

Van der Sloot, who was identified as a suspect and detained but ultimately released, was indicted by an Alabama federal grand jury in 2010 for allegedly trying to extort Holloway’s family.

Federal prosecutors alleged that in March 2010 van der Sloot contacted Holloway’s mom, Beth Holloway, through her lawyer and claimed he would reveal the location of the teen’s body in exchange for $250,000, with $25,000 paid up-front. During a recorded sting operation, Beth Holloway’s attorney, John Q. Kelly, met with van der Sloot in an Aruba hotel, giving him $10,000 in cash as Beth Holloway wired $15,000 to van der Sloot’s bank account, according to prosecutors.

Then van der Sloot allegedly changed his story about the night he had been with Natalee Holloway, prosecutors said. Van der Sloot claimed he had picked her up but that she had demanded to be put down, so he threw her to the ground. He said her head hit a rock and she was killed instantly by the impact, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors said van der Sloot then took Kelly to a house and claimed that his father, who had since died, buried Natalee Holloway’s body in the building’s foundation.

Kelly later emailed Van der Sloot, saying the information he had provided was “worthless,” according to prosecutors. Within days, van der Sloot left Aruba for Peru.

Earlier this month the Peruvian government issued an executive order accepting a request by U.S. authorities for a temporary extradition. An extradition date has not been set.

ABC News’ Morgan Winsor, Emily Shapiro and Ellie Kaufman contributed to this report.

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