Archives
  • Joe Raedle/Getty Images(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) -- Fears in storm-battered Puerto Rico have shifted to a failing dam as the U.S. territory reels from the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria.Early Saturday morning, the National Weather Service said failure of the Guajataca Dam in northwest Puerto Rico is "imminent" and could cause "life-threatening flash flooding" downstream on the Guajataca River. Dam operators said it began to show signs of failing, causing flash flooding, on Friday around 2:10 p.m. ET."Move to higher ground now," the National Weather Service urged residents in the area. "This is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation."At a press conference Friday afternoon, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said all available resources were sent to evacuate people near Lake Guajataca, where the dam at the northern end is in danger of breaking. The National Weather Service in San Juan tweeted that nearly 8,000 people who live in the area could be affected. The number previously given had been an estimated 70,000 people.Maria weakened to a Category 2 hurricane on Sunday, with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph as of 5 a.m. ET. The storm at the time was moving toward the north at 9 mph, and its eye was located about 530 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center.The storm is still projected to stay off the East Coast, but tropical storm or hurricane watches could be put in effect for the Carolina or Mid-Atlantic coasts on Sunday with tropical storm-force winds currently extending 240 miles from the eye.The death toll in storm-hit areas is rising as Maria continued to barrel through the Caribbean on Saturday, three days after its landfall in Puerto Rico left the island in the dark.At least 24 people have died in the storm, including 15 in Dominica, seven in Puerto Rico and two in Guadeloupe.
    Read more...
  • YakobchukOlena/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The authority tasked with regulating the nation's aviation industry is facing a partial shutdown as its authorization to do so expires next Saturday.To avoid such a shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration, Congress must pass either an extension of the old piece of legislation or pass an entirely new bill.But how did we get here? What does it mean? Would air travel come to a halt? ABC News breaks it all down:Your flights would still operate, but many FAA employees would be furloughedIf Congress fails to pass any kind of reauthorization by Sept. 30, thousands of nonessential FAA employees will face a temporary leave of absence and airport construction workers.While the construction workers are furloughed, government-contracted projects at airports and FAA facilities intended to increase traffic capabilities will be delayed.The government will also be unable to collect on airfare taxes, potentially surrendering hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue in a matter of weeks.Airlines will continue to fly safely and passengers are unlikely to see any tangible difference in their flying experience if Congress doesn't pass a reauthorization before October.Many FAA employees, like air traffic controllers and safety inspectors, would continue to work through the partial shutdown.Nevertheless, representatives and those in the industry alike are calling the reauthorization a "must-pass" piece of legislation. In addition to furloughing thousands of Americans, it would significantly hinder the FAA's modernization program called NextGen, a project the agency has already spent $7 billion on.The last time the FAA operated without congressional reauthorization, The Washington Post reported the agency was losing an estimated $30 million a day.A short-term extension is needed after lawmakers couldn't agree on a long-term planThe FAA currently operates under a 2016 extension of a 2012 three-year reauthorization, which expires Sept. 30.The house is scheduled to vote on a six-month extension next week after senators and representatives could not agree on a long-term total reauthorization.President Donald Trump declared privatizing the FAA's air traffic control responsibilities a formal legislative priority back in June; an agenda for years pushed by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster.Shuster and Trump claim their push to spin the country's air navigation system into a nonprofit corporation is part of their broader plan to modernize infrastructure across the board, but they've struggled to get enough of Shuster's colleagues on the hill onboard.Democrats have formed a united front in opposition to the privatization plan, but it's Republicans giving Shuster the biggest headache.Members of Congress and the Senate from more rural areas of the United States believe such a corporation would favor the country's largest airports and airlines, ignoring the needs of the general aviation community and smaller airports.“This is a tough sell in states like my state of Mississippi, where small airports are very concerned about where this will leave them," said Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., at a hearing.While Shuster wants to push a short-term path extending through the end of 2017, Democrats on the hill are demanding a slightly longer version.“We will not support less than six months,” ranking Democrat on the House Transportation Committee Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said last week.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
    Read more...
  • aradaphotography/iStock/Thinkstock(RIVER OAKS, Texas) -- Using an iPad, Valerie McDaniel started an audio diary to record her deepest thoughts. In her entries, the 48-year-old talked about her daughter, her dating adventures as a new divorcee -- and a dark secret.“I hate the idea that everybody thinks I’m a monster,” McDaniel says in the recording she made on March 15, 2017.And in her last recording made on March 25, McDaniel says, “I never wanted to hurt anyone.”McDaniel was a veterinarian living in a two-bedroom condo at a luxury high-rise in the wealthy Houston neighborhood of River Oaks. When she wasn’t treating animals at the veterinary clinic she owned, friends and colleagues said McDaniel spent weekends on Tiki Island near Galveston, where she regularly hosted friends at her beach home.She had been married to her business partner, Marion “Mack” McDaniel, but the two divorced after 17 years together and agreed to share custody of their now 9-year-old daughter. Friends said she was miserable in the marriage and her husband was never around.“She would be very hurt by her husband,” said Dr. Brittany King, a veterinarian who worked for Valerie McDaniel. “It would be… a text or a phone call and then she would be in tears, and it’s so hard to watch someone in that much pain.”She was largely unhappy until she was introduced to Leon Jacob, the now 40-year-old son of her neighbor and divorce attorney.“I was completely turned off immediately by his attitude,” McDaniel recalled in a diary entry about meeting Jacob for the first time. “I was drawn to him but disgusted at the same time.”But eventually, Jacob won her over. When they were first intimate, McDaniel recalled in a diary entry that, “it was like a movie moment… It was the most passionate, romantic moment in my life.”Valerie McDaniel and Leon Jacob are pictured together in this undated photo.Watch the full story on ABC News "20/20" TONIGHT at 10 p.m. ETJacob moved into her condo and the two began living together early this year. In an interview with “20/20,” Jacob said they cooked together, even shared bank accounts and told people they were getting married.But on March 27, McDaniel jumped off her seventh-floor balcony to her death. She left behind multiple notes detailing her final wishes and recorded her final words on her iPad, saying, “I have two great loves in my life -- I have my daughter, I have Leon.”“It was just as much of a shock to me as it was to everybody else around her,” Jacob said. “There was nothing wrong.”McDaniel's friends said they had a bad feeling about Jacob."[He was] very arrogant and full of himself," said her longtime friend Maggie Whitley, "I've just never seen anything quite like that... I've got a pretty strong intuition about people, and I did not feel good about it. And I let her know that."It turns out some of Jacob's past relationships were tumultuous, including the one he had with his ex-wife, Annie Jacob. Leon Jacob recalled that relationship as having many highs and lows.“We would fight, fight, fight, and love, love, love, fight, fight, fight, love, love, love,” Jacob said of his ex-wife. “It was one of those relationships that people are like, ‘God, they're crazy, but they're their crazy, and we love that.’”After 11 years of marriage, Annie Jacob filed for divorce in 2013 and later pressed charges against him for aggravated stalking and intimidation. Court documents obtained by ABC News say he made calls, sent texts and emails, threatening to inflict bodily harm. But Jacob said it was blown out of proportion.“Attempted cyber harassment is what I plead guilty to,” Jacob said. “She went a little overboard with her complaints about me.”Jacob served probation for attempted cyber stalking and the other charges w
    Read more...
  • HsinJuHSU/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Following months of controversy, the Education Department said on Thursday it would end Obama-era guidance on campus sexual assaults.In a "dear colleague" letter, released in 2011, the Obama administration instructed schools to use a "preponderance of evidence" standard, rather than the more stringent "clear and convincing evidence standard, to prove sexual assault.But the Trump administration argues using a lower standard of proof in sexual misconduct cases "suggests a discriminatory purpose."Quoting a recent court decision, the newly-released interim guidance said the Obama administration policy represents "a deliberate choice by the university to make cases of sexual misconduct easier to prove -- and thus more difficult to defend, both for guilty and innocent students alike."Under the new guidance, schools can choose which standard of proof they use, but it should be "consistent with the standard the school applies in other student misconduct cases," according to a document released on Thursday.Education Secretary Betsy DeVos first broadcast her intent to withdraw the "failed" Obama-era guidance in a press conference earlier this month, saying it was unfair to alleged perpetrators."One rape is too many ... And one person denied due process is too many," she said at George Mason Law School. "Every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is no predetermined.""It's no wonder so many call these proceedings kangaroo courts," she said, referencing the lack of due process for both victims and the accused in on-campus sexual assault proceedings.Academic studies put the prevalence of false allegations between 2 and 10 percent.Thursday’s announcement comes just months after DeVos sparked a controversy by meeting with so-called "men's rights" groups like the National Coalition for Men and groups that speak out on behalf of the accused, like Families Advocating for Campus Equality.Volunteers for these groups say they just want to make sure all involved get a fair process."Victims for a long time weren't taken seriously, and President Obama tried to correct that -- but some of us think that he over-corrected, to the point where those who haven't committed any crimes, like myself, are at a risk of losing their futures, losing their lives, and being destroyed, essentially," Jonathan Andrews, a 23-year-old volunteer who says he was falsely accused of rape after he himself was sexually assaulted, told ABC News in July.But survivor's advocates, with whom the secretary also met, say the groups push harmful, blame-the-victim stereotypes."She's meeting with groups and individuals today who believe that sexual assault is some sort of feminist plot to hurt men," said Mara Keisling, Executive Director of National Center for Transgender Equality.In response to today's announcement, the National Women's Law Center called the move "devastating.""It will discourage students from reporting assaults," the group said in a statement, adding the standards set forth today represent "a huge step back to a time when sexual assault was a secret that was swept under the rug."The American Association of University Women went even further, saying in a statement, "today’s announcement confirms our suspicions: the U.S. Department of Education’s intent is to roll back critical civil rights protections for students."Obama Education Secretary John King tweeted that the move is "shameful and wrong" and "undermines student safety."Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
    Read more...
  • artolympic/iStock/Thinkstock(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- An Oklahoma City man was fatally shot by police as neighbors shouted that the man could not hear officers' commands to drop a metal pipe he was holding, police said.The incident occurred Tuesday evening after an accident led officers to a house where Magdiel Sanchez, 35, was outside on the porch, Oklahoma City Police Capt. Bo Mathews said at a press conference Wednesday.
    Read more...